Here's Why Antiques from the 1920s Are Trending Right Now
There's much to be admired from the past. The 1920s, particularly, hold a glamorous appeal that seems in stark contrast to the button-up trends from the late 1800s and early 1900s. And while it's been 100 years since the beginning of that unforgettable decade, we suddenly find ourselves looking back on it. "The Roaring Twenties was a paradigm-shifting, boundary-busting hedonistic and opulent decade," notes Nicolas Martin, the founder of Flea Market Insiders. "Buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects from this era reflect this dazzling and decadent sense of luxury, exuberance and glamour." And now that we have reached 2020, at the turn of another century, we've become nostalgic for an era that may not resemble ours in style but certainly does in spirit.
Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy's trend expert, sees this simply as a swing of the pendulum from minimalist to maximalist. "With maximalist décor on the rise," she says, "1920s trends—like Art Deco styles—allows shoppers to make a statement with bold prints and rich textures, while adding a touch of luxe to their homes." She reports that, of note, Etsy shoppers have searched for deco wallpaper (up 28 percent in the last three months, compared to last year), sunburst mirrors (up 18 percent in the last three months, compared to last year), and 1920s or Art Deco wall-art (up 13 percent in the last three months, compared to last year). All this means that we're likely to trade in the minimalist space in our homes for mirrors and mirrored finishes, metallics, geometric prints, ornamental lighting, and Bauhaus style furniture.
Daniel Ayer agrees—he's the director of 20th century design at Skinner Inc., one of the world's leading auction houses for antiques and fine art. "The trend still has a place in luxury interior design due to its elegant, sophisticated aesthetic," he says. "Art Deco lends a touch of sophistication to more austere contemporary design with its emphasis on clean lines, minimalist furnishings and accessories, and neutral color palette. It's flashy and a way to add some glitz—show the personality of those inhabiting the space."
What's Popular in 1920s Collectibles
Items from that era also don't seem so far removed from us today. "Vintage Art Deco pieces offer decorators and DIYers a retro option with a bold, but also inviting and comfortable look," Ayer says, "with prices at auction ranging from tens to tens of thousands of dollars."
Among these coveted finds: rugs in bold geometric patterns and light fixtures (the bases are typically made of brass, nickel, bronze, aluminum, wrought iron, ceramic or chrome). "Furniture from the 1920s is also popular because of sleek, highly lacquered finishes and elegant curves, exotic woods, many of which are unavailable in new furniture," Ayer elaborates, "such as rosewood, walnut, maple, teak and zebra wood, or chrome, stainless steel, glass and marble accents, combined with leather upholstery."
"Some items manufactured in the 1920s have such a sense of modernity today, that they perfectly fit in our modern interior," adds Martin. Tableware, like an Art Deco Oil Bottle with Rack ($346.38, 1stdibs.com), represents an almost-untouchable luxury. A 1920s Crocodile Jewelry Case ($4,200, 1stdibs.com) appeals to collectors who want to remember the beauty and opulence that made The Great Gatsby such a popular hit.