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Lights, camera, action! Hollywood Regency is always ready for the big screen. Taking style risks is never a problem for Hollywood Regency designers, as they create glamorous living spaces for celebrities and A-listers.

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Photo by Cal Bingham

A Little History…

First making its appearance in the 1930s, Hollywood Regency is marked by glam and wealth. It was inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Era, as actors and actresses seized the opportunity to make their living spaces reflections of their fashionable lifestyles and appearances. Although its emphasis on opulence makes it similar to Art Deco, Hollywood Regency is a much more eclectic and ornamented style, cultivated by interior designers who strove to create theatrical, over-the-top environments. Hollywood Regency was defined and refined by interior designers like Dorothy Draper and William Haines, who brought different but similarly liberal perspectives to the style.

Defining Traits

There’s never a dull moment with Hollywood Regency. Bold colors, patterns, and textures take over every piece of furniture, while simultaneously maintaining a sense of balance. Some color favorites include rich jewel tones and metallic accents. Hollywood Regency is also characterized by an element of fantasy, through things like palm fronds, bamboo, and animal prints. With all the glitz and glamour, cheeky elements like pop art and checkered floors keep the style grounded.

Photo courtesy of Parker Kennedy

Interior Designers to Know

Hollywood Regency took the world by storm as everyone strove to achieve the look of opulence and live the life of movie stars. Many designers rose to the occasion and added their own personal twists on the style while they were at it.

Dorothy Draper

It’s impossible to talk about Hollywood Regency without including Dorothy Draper. The first to professionalize interior design, she revolutionized the way we look at style today. She is known for dramatic and contrasting color schemes and mixing bold patterns and fabrics. Perhaps her most famous design was The Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia, where she brought her flair to the historic property, decking it in a sea of cabana stripes, palm fronds, and chintz.

Billy Haines

Affectionately known as the father of Hollywood Regency, William (Billy) Haines had a vibrant, dapper personality that matched his interior design visions. He was not afraid to break the status quo and challenge social norms, translating into beautiful living spaces designed for the big stars of Hollywood. Among his many achievements, Billy Haines is responsible for Joan Crawford’s famous all-white living room, an elegant frame to match her elegant presence.

Madeleine Castaing

In France, Madeleine Castaing established her own signature style, blending neoclassicism with romanticism and adding a whimsical twist to her designs. Her famous floral prints brought the beauty of the outdoors inside, and she often used antique or vintage pieces to create a more worn and weathered look. Her delightfully eccentric style continues to serve as the inspiration for many, including fashion icon Tory Burch.  

David Hicks

British designer David Hicks was the master of blending patterns and mixing antiques and modern furnishings. Among his clientele were notable businessmen and English royalty, establishing his reputation as a designer for the elite. The spaces he designed reflected the prestige of their owners, often integrating hyper-dynamic color combos which conveyed bold and powerful aesthetics.

Photo by John Cain Sargent

Hollywood Regency Motifs

To achieve the eclectic Hollywood Regency look, designers often used a selection of patterns and furniture styles.

Palm Print

The iconic palm leaf print (sometimes credited to Dorothy Draper) was used to transform rooms into tropical paradises. Often designers would sprawl it across the walls of a room or use it to upholster sofas, chairs, or accent pillows.

The Espana Chest

The Espana Chest, designed by Dorothy Draper (yes, we told you she was big here!) were eye-catching additions originally produced by Henredon. Featuring glossy finishes and playful gold accents around each drawer, these dressers are frequently found in pairs, as they were often used as nightstands at the height of the Hollywood Regency craze.

Ram Motif

Often associated with prominence and power, rams were everywhere in the 1940s and 50s. In Hollywood Regency design they factored into rooms in a variety of ways, including as stately busts and dining room or coffee table bases.

Bamboo Chippendale Furniture

Bamboo Chippendale Furniture was used to add visual interest to Hollywood Regency interiors. They offered a feeling of a well-traveled authority, as the unique textures evoked feelings of Asia.

Chinoiserie

The delicate designs of Chinoiserie created an exotic, imperial atmosphere, bringing a contrast to some of the heavier patterns that would traditionally dominate Hollywood Regency rooms. Commonly used Chinoiserie elements included scenic screens and pagoda-style mirrors, chandeliers, and other objects.

Sputnik Chandeliers

Bright Sputnik chandeliers pulled a room into another dimension. While these lights are more commonly associated with Mid-Century Modern interiors, these so-called “permanent fireworks” were also used to make a glamorous statement in Hollywood Regency interiors on occasion.

Italian Pottery

Hollywood Regency designers loved to use Italian Pottery in animal shapes to spice up a room, especially leopards! Known for their graceful prowess, they reflected power and confidence.

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March 20, 2015

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