Antique Art Deco Chairs Buying Guide

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Antique Art Deco Chairs Buying Guide

A visually remarkable piece of design history, the Art Deco era reinvented furniture, giving now historic chairs a style and simplicity that has stood the test of time. With its unique look and lavish feel, it is no wonder that many people are looking for antique Art Deco pieces to place in their own home. At a glance, the steps toward purchasing an antique Art Deco chair may seem straightforward. There are, however, a number of points that are specific to this era, and following a few simple guidelines can help a buyer become better informed before making their final decision. It is important to take into account three major points: 1) What defines an Art Deco chair as an antique, 2) What types of antique Art Deco chairs are available on the market, 3) Which factors to consider regarding the maintenance of an antique. With these thoughts in mind, a prospective buyer can be confident that they are making the decision best suited to their needs.

History of Antique Art Deco Chairs

Art Deco design became prominent after the departure of Art Nouveau, just after the turn of the twentieth century. Its impact is noticeable all around the world to this day, from the Chrysler Building to many old Art Deco cinemas. The birth of the movement is said to have occurred at the Paris Exposition of Decorative Arts, in 1925. Controversial at first, due to its revolutionary style, Art Deco rapidly expanded through Europe and then the world, reaching to every corner of design, including furniture. The era of Art Deco came to a halt with the end of the Second World War.

During their two decades of concentrated manufacture, Art Deco chairs were influenced by the intricate, the sleek, and the exotic, providing the owners with a startlingly different style to the furniture owned by their parents. Though the manufacture of post-war Art Deco chairs died away, many original pieces retain their value and are resold online or in stores. Some contemporary manufactures have revived Art Deco designs in their own catalogues.

Discover Antique Art Deco Chairs

Considering that Art Deco is a name that applied itself to most fields of visual art, from architecture through to painting, it is helpful to understand what it is about the era that applied to chairs specifically. There are many elements that combine to define the style of Art Deco, and those that were employed in furniture were clear and easily identified. Chairs of the era adhered to a more symmetrical construction than their predecessors. They were simple pieces, not as complexly ornate as the chairs of the nineteenth century. Art Deco chairs followed strong, geometric designs, and the clean and elegant lines gave a simplicity and practicality to each one. Added to these elements was the style’s tendency towards the exotic, many chairs having ornamental additions or finishes inspired by other cultures – such as lacquering stemming from Japan.

An important point to understand about the value of Art Deco chairs is that, as a group, they sit on the fringe of ‘antique.’ The term antique, defined by many professionals, is said to apply to an item over one hundred years old, but it is also considered by some collectors to be any item made prior to 1930. This is due to the introduction of a US tariff in 1930 on imported goods that did not include items of quality built before high-volume production. As a result of this, many would consider only a fraction of Art Deco chairs to be truly antique.

Types of Antique Art Deco Chairs

It is good for a buyer to consider the range of Art Deco chairs before settling on a design.






A chair with two elbow supports.


Can be large and heavy.

Occasional Chair

Smaller than an armchair, sometimes without armrests.

Light and easy to move.

Often less comfortable than an armchair.


Small seat with minimal or no backrest and no armrest.

Very light and compact.

Lack of support can make it uncomfortable while sitting for long periods.


Wide and heavily padded chair built for more than one person.


Often heavy and expensive.

Chaise Longue

Upholstered chair long enough to support the legs.

A unique piece for a room or collection

Can be viewed as less practical.


Cross between a sofa and a bed.

Comfortable and unique.

Takes up a lot of space and is heavy to move.

Rocking Chair

Generally an armchair or occasional chair with a base that allow it to rock back and forth.

Comfortable and often relaxing.

Generally bigger and needs space for movement.

Factors to Consider When Buying Antique Art Deco Chairs

Antique Art Deco chairs are varied in style and form; below are listed some considerations that should be taken into account when browsing.

  • Veneer – Many Art Deco chairs will have a fine layer of wood, known as veneer, applied to the outside. This can be susceptible to damage.
  • Suites – Many of the Art Deco chairs mentioned above are also sold together in matching suites of up to five pieces.
  • Age – A buyer must consider the age of the Art Deco chair before assuming that it will be regarded as an antique.
  • Joins – The condition of the glue and joins on an antique chair can drastically alter its ability to be used.
  • Moving – Transporting antiques is a delicate procedure, check the geographical location of your seller and plan how a purchase could be safely relocated.
  • Ask questions – Many concerns can be addressed by asking some simple questions of the seller. Although photos can be enticing, confirming the age and condition through the seller is often be more accurate and reliable.

How to Care for Antique Art Deco Chairs

Art deco chairs are unique in the fact that their design is clean and clear. This means that damage to an antique Art Deco chair is likely to be more impactful and obvious than damage to many other antiques. In order for a buyer to ensure that the magic of the 1920s remains inherent in their piece, there are a few guidelines for care and maintenance.

Any glass, chrome or veneer will require individual maintenance. Glass damage, such as cracks or scratches, can generally be restored through the cutting of a new piece to fit, though this may compromise the antique value. Metal elements such as chrome or aluminum need to be cleaned. This can be done can be with the help of diluted dish soap, and polishing. Similarly, leather must be cleaned and maintained as it wears with age, though it is important to not allow the leather to get too wet during this process.

With these considerations, the last, and often most fragile element of antique Art Deco chair design, is the veneer. If veneer is peeling or damaged, the owner can attempt to re-glue it to the chair through the use of an iron. Careful attention must be paid while doing this so as not to burn the veneer, and it is recommended that a piece of brown paper be used over the surface. If in doubt, consult a professional.

Popular Antique Art Deco Chair Manufacturers

The Art Deco era was an exciting time of design and innovation. The movement encompassed all aspects of art and design, from painting and architecture to media and advertising. Here is a brief list of some of the most popular manufacturers of Art Deco chairs.

  • Wolfgang Hoffmann
  • Donald Deskey
  • Frantz Industries
  • Weber Showcase & Fixture Company

Accessories and Add-ons for Antique Art Deco Chairs

If buying an antique art deco chair, the buyer may wish to also purchase additional items to keep the chair well maintained, or to enhance its current state. Some of these items include:

  • Refinisher
  • Stain Marker
  • Furniture Polish
  • Antique Furntiure Wax
  • Upholstery Cleaner

Finding Antique Art Deco Chairson eBay

Once you determine the type of antique Art Deco chair you want to purchase, visit the Antiques portal on eBay, and click Art Deco and start searching item listings. The Categories list on the left-hand side of the eBay page helps to narrow the search.

Searching for Antique Art Deco Chairs on eBay

Search eBay listing titles for specific words when shopping for antique Art Deco chairs. For example, to find an antique Art Deco armchair, type ‘antique Art Deco armchair’ into the search box, and then click the Advanced button to customise the results. Also visit eBay’s Search Tips page for more advice on searching for antique Art Deco chairs with keywords. If you can’t find the exact antique Art Deco chair you want, try shopping eBay Stores.


The beauty and elegance of Art Deco furniture makes it a stunning historical piece for any room or collection. In order for a buyer to better understand their choices, and what chair would best suit their needs, the above guidelines can offer valuable information. Consider such elements as what defines an antique, the variety of Art Deco chairs available on the market, and the steps to take regarding the maintenance of a piece. Once you have collected this information, you can buy an antique Art Deco chair safely and securely on eBay.

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