6 Hollywood Regency Trends You Might Regret, According to Designers

published Aug 15, 2020
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living room filled with built-in cabinets flanking round mirror atop grey tile fireplace, tufted sofa facing two armchairs and window wall overlooking lush outdoors
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Rooms decorated in the classic Hollywood Regency style are known for glitz and glam, but when it comes to interiors, is what’s good always gold? According to some designers, the answer is yes—but in moderation. “The characteristics that make up this style include rich and obvious textures, deep and bold colors, metallic finishes, and striking lines,” says designer Erica Reiner of Eco Method Interiors. “With all of this opulence, it can be really easy to end up with an outdated or overdone style you might regret a few years later.”

From bold colors and lacquered finishes to mirrors galore, the elements of Hollywood Regency decor don’t always translate from the big screen to contemporary homes, even when you aren’t designing a room exclusively in this interior style. Should you love (or have!) any of these trends in your rooms though, don’t worry. There’s a way to work a little Hollywood Regency decorative magic into your home in a modern, fresh way if you follow these designer suggestions. 

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All lacquered everything

Lacquered walls and furniture are traditional Hollywood Regency design elements, but according to designer Victoria Sanchez of Victoria At Home, homeowners may want to think twice before going all in on this trend. “Lacquering walls and/or your ceiling takes a pro—it’s certainly not a DIY project—and while gorgeous, it can be finicky and pricey,” Sanchez explains. “If you love the idea of lacquer, try incorporating this finish on a piece of furniture or maybe the back of a bookcase, so when the trend passes, you don’t end up crying as your painter lays on the primer over your expensive wall.” 

A little dramatic of a reaction, maybe, but a lacquer paint job can cost a pretty penny, simply because this high gloss finish is hard to apply evenly and tends to show any imperfections your walls may have. That’s why concentrating on a smaller room like a powder room or even a piece of furniture is a better idea (and a more feasible DIY project, in the case of furniture). Designer Ana Claudia Schultz of Ana Claudia Design suggests another way of increasing the drama with lacquered furniture without going overboard. “You can lacquer [a piece of] furniture the same color as your walls,” she recommends. “It will add depth [to your room] with its sheen.” 

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Going for the gold

Gold finishes offer an instantly luxe look, so when it comes to Hollywood Regency style, there’s no shortage of gilded accents. According to designer Tamara Day, however, using gold is all about finding balance with the other elements in a room. “I recommend layering in accessory pieces like side tables, a coffee table, and/or light fixtures that have gold but also mixing it up with cozy textural elements like a soft, fluffy throw blanket and a beautiful oversized natural woven basket,” she says. “You get the luxe vibe in a comfortable but livable way, and it’s low commitment, so you can switch it up when you’re tired of the look.”

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Bold colors

While bold jewel tones are a hallmark of Regency style and an eye-catching addition to any space, designer Courtney McLeod of Right Meets Left Interior Design recommends using the less is more approach. “Be careful with malachite—a little goes a long way,” she says. “Skip the malachite wallpaper or curtains and choose a Malachite table or lighting in this luscious deep green hue.”

Similarly, if you want to go bold with hot pink, another color characteristic of this style, McLeod suggests incorporating it on upholstery or even on a wall but to avoid the color on millwork or cabinetry, where it can become a little overwhelming and all-encompassing.

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Luxe details

A statement crystal chandelier is one thing, but ornate moldings, bedazzled tables, and sumptuous taffeta textiles alongside it? That’s a scene that’s almost too luxe to feel livable. According to designer Gabriela Gargano of Grisoro Designs, it’s definitely possible to pile on a few too many luxurious accents. “Hollywood Regency is full of glamour but can quickly become too theatrical when it’s overdone,” she says. “We recommended selecting a few vintage pieces for authenticity, such as a mirrored cabinet, a velvet accent chair, or a lacquered sculpture, to layer in with more classic furnishings for a dynamic mix. “

Reiner agrees, adding that more permanent parts of a space like flooring, couches, and countertops, for example, are best selected in more neutral, timeless styles, while decorative pieces should speak to trends. “It sounds counterintuitive but doing so will give the space a more contemporary, functional, and pleasing take on Hollywood Regency, instead of looking like you walked onto an actual Hollywood set,” Reiner says.

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Lots of lucite

Lucite is a key element of this glam aesthetic, and while this material is known to have some benefits, like making a space appear larger, designer Megan Dufresne of MC Design doesn’t recommend filling a space with all clear things. “This was super popular when the Hollywood Regency revival was happening, and nothing will make a room look dated faster than too much of it,” she says of lucite and acrylic. Instead, Dufresne suggests utilizing this trend in smaller details scattered around your interior. Consider a clear decorative tray or a lucite bar cart.

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Hollywood regency is all about mirrored surfaces. From furniture to accent pieces to full walls, it’s hard to imagine this trend without mirrors playing a major role. While reflective surfaces add an eye-catching shine to a space, Lindy Williams, co-founder and creative director of the furniture company Saltwolf, recommends sticking to smaller mirrored surfaces and accent pieces. “Layer in decorative mirrors featuring angled and beveled edges to add touches of Hollywood Regency to a space—like a gorgeous mirror over a sideboard in a dining area,” she says. “These are nice accent pieces that can also be easily switched out.”