Home / Design + Inspire / Art Nouveau vs Art Deco – What’s the difference?

Art Nouveau vs Art Deco – What’s the difference?

Art Nouveau and Art Deco are incredible design styles, but many get them confused with one another. The two styles have influenced architecture, interiors, artistic works and even graphic lettering and both celebrate master craftsmanship in each discipline. While the lines of Art Nouveau twirl with flourishes and embellishments, the lines of Art Deco are sweeping and gradual, like a fine arc or in the alternate, straight as a ruler. To this day, both styles have a passionate following and remain extremely intriguing art forms.

Art Nouveau vs Art Deco Styles in Staircase | Paint + Pattern

Can you guess which staircase is Art Nouveau and which is Art Deco?

(The answer is revealed towards the end of the post)

Art Nouveau is recognized by spirals, waves and arabesque, but also has some oddly geometric and rectilinear tendencies. The movement was born in the 1890s. The art form is inspired by nature, but renders it imaginatively as art for art’s sake. It’s also known as Style Horta, Modernista and Le Style Moderne, among others.

Art Deco established itself in the 1920’s and 1930’s, sweeping away elaborate ornamentation and replacing it with a stunning simplicity of line. The art form itself embodies the steam and machine ages. The lines are clean, pure and thoroughly modern.


Art Nouveau vs Art Deco Styles in Architecture | Paint + PatternArt Nouveau: Eiffel Tower – Art Deco: Chrysler Building


Art Nouveau vs Art Deco Styles in Art/Graphics | Paint + PatternArt Nouveau: Alphonse Mucha – Art Deco: Tamara de Lempicka


Art Nouveau vs Art Deco Styles in Typography and Fonts | Paint + Pattern


Art Nouveau vs Art Deco Styles in Furniture | Paint + PatternArt Nouveau: Heller and Heller Custom Furniture – Art Deco: Joel Liebman Furniture

Decor Accents

Art Nouveau vs Art Deco Styles in Decor Accents | Paint + PatternArt Nouveau: The Lighting Company – Art Deco: Global Lighting


Art Nouveau vs Art Deco Styles in Interiors | Paint + PatternArt Nouveau: William Morris’s Tulip Frieze Wallpaper (Sanderson) – Art Deco: Arkona Wallpapers (Harlequin)


Art Nouveau vs Art Deco Styles in Royal Design Studio Stencils | Paint + PatternArt Nouveau: Fleur de Lily Damask Allover Stencil – Art Deco: Deco Pearls Damask Wall Stencil (Both: Royal Design Studio)

Whether you prefer the distinctive modernist decorative arts style of Art Deco or the avant garde yet a personal expression of Art Nouveau, there’s no denying the appeal of both. Decades later, each style still inspires new generations of designers, architects and décor enthusiasts.  Modern day companies, such as Royal Design Studio, also create many designs and patterns to help you incorporate either style into your home. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about each of them!

As for the answer to the staircase images, the image on the left is Art Nouveau and the image on the right is Art Deco. Did you guess it right?

Do you lean towards one style more than the other? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments section!

Royal Design Studio Wall Stencils and Paint Supplies for DIY Projects


  1. Art Nouveau y Art Deco son estilos de diseño increíble, pero muchos quedan confundidos unos con otros. Los dos estilos han influido en la arquitectura, interiores, obras artísticas e incluso letras gráficas y ambos celebrar maestría artesanal en cada disciplina. Mientras que las líneas del Art Nouveau giran con florituras y adornos, las líneas de Art Deco son de barrido y gradual, como un buen arco o en la alternativa, recto como una regla. A día de hoy, ambos estilos tienen un público apasionado y se mantienen las formas de arte muy interesantes.

  2. Me interesa el Art novo y art deco en todas sus expresiones

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