How to Create a Room Inspired by Great Gatsby and the Roaring 20’s

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Images from the movie via Kelly Wearstler

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby exemplifies the age of the roaring 20s. Baz Lurhman’s recent film adaption takes Fitzgerald’s basic premise and tacks on modern-day visual elements that symbolize ideas from the story. For example, he transforms what should be an authentic art deco set into a more decadent version of the times by using globs of crystal chandeliers, piles of sweets that spill from the tables, and over the top costumes.

While these elements may not be conducive to an actual livable space, there are certain design themes that we can apply to living spaces to capture the energy and style. Think art deco with a touch of old Hollywood – shiny, metallic, geometric, ornamental, lace, silk, drama, and contrast. The success of the following interior spaces lie in the ability to utilize pieces inspired by the the times, as well as the following two suggestions:

Metallic Color Scheme

Metallic Color Scheme
Image: Thomasville Furniture

The first design detail required to capture the essence of the film is color. The color palette of the roaring 20s is best captured by the colors it represents: money and glitz. Hence, colors in metallic shades and shiny textures are a must. Take a look at this living room. The color palette is limited to two colors: silver and white. The drama comes from textures. The sofa appears to be metallic in a rich, silver, mohair. The rug tricks the eye by appearing to be metallic in a similar shade.

Gatsby Themed Lighting
Image: Woodson & Rummerfield

The color palette in the above setting makes use of the metallic scheme, and more drama is added by the addition of a bright teal.

Great Gatsby Interior
Image: Kelly Wearstler

Great Gatsby Interior
Image: D Magazine


Hollywood films were starting to be released at about this point in time. Set designers made great use of dramatic lighting to enhance the story elements. They would often use dramatic constrasts of light and dark. Because of this, a beautiful chandelier was often employed. Here the effect is achieved by using beautiful and decadent chandeliers – they act as a great focal point to the room.

1920s Interior
Image: Kelly Wearstler

Roaring 20s Style
Image: Kelly Wearstler

Did you see the movie? What did you think? Too much? Just right? Not enough? Could you live in such a decadent space?

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Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter who just returned to America after 2 1/2 years in wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is "a creative mess is better than tidy idleness" and she lives each day accordingly. During graduate school for interior design she spent one summer working for designers Jonathan Adler and Celerie Kemble and another summer studying textile design at the Danish Design School. She created her blog, The House That Lars Built, as a way to keep her designing and crafting. She currently runs her blog and her etsy shop, where she sells her home accessories and paper flowers.