Last updated on
Channeling the secretive, highly atmospheric essence of the Prohibition era is easier than you think, especially with these speakeasy decoration ideas, because they’ll transport guests straight to the 1920s as soon as they cross the threshold.
I proudly present 20 Speakeasy Decoration Ideas with unique designs crafted by me, hoping my creative journey inspires and brings as much joy to you as it did me during creation.
Transporting your home back to the roaring 20s with speakeasy style is an exciting design challenge. From rich, dark wood furnishings to vintage barware, and from jazz-inspired artwork to dim, moody lighting, the speakeasy aesthetic is all about sophistication, secrecy, and a touch of glamour.
This article will guide you through the key elements of speakeasy decoration, offering ideas to transform your space into an authentic prohibition-era hideaway. Whether you’re redecorating an entire room or just adding a few vintage touches, you’ll find plenty of inspiration and practical advice here.
So, let’s step back in time and start creating your very own speakeasy.
Vintage Liquor Bottle Display
Building a display of vintage liquor bottles can infuse authenticity and elevate the aura of gilded debauchery synonymous with a speakeasy. Select bottles that pre-date the 1940s and, if possible, contain their original labels. Place these on ornate shelves or behind your makeshift bar to establish a focal point.
Remember, it’s not about quantity, but quality and uniqueness. Instead of clustering many bottles together, curate a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Explore thrift stores, antique shops, or online marketplaces to find potential pieces.
Finally, ensure the area is well-lit to showcase your collection flawlessly. Use accent lights or under-cabinet fixtures to highlight your antique trove. Contrast modern lighting with the rustic appeal of the bottles to create a visually striking appeal.
Prohibition-era Poster Art
There’s something inherently intriguing about the rebellious spirit captured in the vivid and vibrant designs of Prohibition-era advertisements. These pieces were often propaganda, warning against the evils of alcohol, but were equally an expression of the era’s underground glamour.
To bring this aesthetic into your speakeasy, consider high-quality reprints, remembering that subject matter and color scheme should align with the overall vibe of your space.
One popular theme was the Bathing Beauties, cheeky allusions to Champagne bottles hidden under skirts. Opt for these if you’re favoring a playful, light-hearted atmosphere.
For a more sobering take, emulate the drama of temperance movement posters with their elaborate Gothic lettering and dramatic scenes. Mix and match styles to create a space that feels unique and historically grounded, arousing a sense of intrigue and nostalgia.
Hidden Bookcase Door
Imagine an old bookcase leading to a hidden world of revelry and excitement – much like the speakeasies of the Prohibition era. Here’s how you can integrate this into your decor theme:
1. Choose a sturdy bookcase: Ensure it’s large enough to cover your door opening but maintains proportion with the rest of the room for aesthetic appeal.
2. Install pivot hinges: These will allow the bookcase to swing open and shut securely, just like a regular door.
3. Add weight: Secure books or decorative items to maintain balance and avert suspicion. Opt for classic hardcover books synonymous with the speakeasy era to add an element of authenticity.
4. Safety measures: Don’t forget locks or latches to prevent accidental openings when you don’t want them.
This unique addition will certainly elicit surprise and admiration from your guests, while effectively recreating that clandestine, speakeasy vibe.
Antique Bar Stools
Equipping your speakeasy with the right seating is essential in achieving a genuine 1920s vibe. Antique bar stools, with their often weathered finish and distinguished craftsmanship, perform this task stylishly. Opt for styles from the period showcasing design features such as carved wood, brass or iron foot rails, and upholstered seats in dark leathers or patterned fabrics.
Adding these classic pieces infuses an instant ambiance of historical charm, giving the scenery a lived-in and authentic feel. Select pieces with varying heights to accentuate the informal, eclectic nature of the era. Remember, mismatched is often a welcomed characteristic in speakeasy decor. Comfort shouldn’t be compromised, however, as high-back stools can provide both an elegant aesthetic and ample back support.
Lastly, consider stools with swivel features, reminiscent of the old soda shops, to add a fun and interactive seating option for your guests. Remember, the details in your bar stool choices are what will transport your visitors back to a bygone era of stylish intrigue and clandestine celebration.
Classic Gramophone Music Player
Embodying the essence of the era, this piece cannot be ignored. Not only does it add a whiff of history, but also serves as an entertainment center. True to the Prohibition period, music from a gramophone will transport one back in time.
When selecting a gramophone, opting for an authentic piece over reproduction can increase the room’s authenticity. The horn, traditionally made from brass, adds a metallic accent that can tie the whole room together. It should be in decent condition to maintain its functionality.
Its placement in the room is equally essential. It could be an end table’s centerpiece or a focal point in a less trafficked corner. Creating a cozy vinyl listening nook around it with a comfortable vintage chair and a reading lamp could add charm and functionality. However, ensure the gramophone is kept away from high traffic areas to avoid damage.
When utilized correctly, a gramophone also provides the opportunity to curate a thematic playlist. Jazz music is an obvious choice; the sounds from Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington can add impeccable charm. Don’t shy away from other classic hits from the era. Sharing fun trivia about the songs can be an enlightening conversation starter.
Low, Ambient Lighting
Enhancing the mystery and warmth of a speakeasy-themed space, the right choice of illumination is crucial. Steer clear of harsh, bright lighting. Instead, opt for softer, subtler fixtures such as prohibition-era lightbulbs, typically characterized by their warm, smoky glow.
Floor and table lamps with fringed or stained-glass shades offer an authentic blend of style and function. Edison bulbs exude a vintage appeal on pendants, wall sconces, or even standalone pieces. Consider using dimmable light fixtures to provide fleixibility in setting the mood.
Candles can also come into play, providing a flickering ambiance that ushers guests back to the roaring 1920s. However, care must be taken while using them to avoid safety hazards.
Strategically use shadows and soft, diffused light to obscure certain corners, giving the illusion of a larger room and adding to the overall mystique of the speakeasy experience.
They add richness and depth to your room decor, acting as a perfect backdrop to the speakeasy ambiance.
Darker hues like burgundy or navy blue tend to absorb light – creating a cozier, more secretive atmosphere.
Tie them off to the side with vintage tassels for a regal touch.
For a jazzier approach, opt for drapes with Art Deco patterns.
Remember, due to their heavy weight, velvet drapes also offer additional soundproofing – perfect for muffled conversations and hush-hush Prohibition-era jazz tunes.
While primarily decorative, these drapes also maintain the practical benefit of added privacy, completely encapsulating the concealed experience that makes a speakeasy bar truly special.
Tin Ceiling Tiles
To attain an unmistakable touch of the past, consider incorporating these tiles. They possess a rustic charm that simply augments vintage visage. Their decorative potential is enormous, ranging from simple geometrical patterns to intricate floral designs. They transform a normal ceiling into an element of surprise and detailing.
These tiles are not merely for visual appeal; they also provide acoustic benefits. The reflected angular sound may create an illusion of a bustling bar that’s designed to withstand noise from hearty celebrations. For adding a hint of color, consider copper or brass finishes. Remember to arm your toolkit with a straight edge and a sharp utility knife for precise cuts. Install them directly to a flat surface using adhesive or lay into a new or existing drop ceiling grid for a smoother transition. A tin ceiling provides authenticity to your decor while subtly holding the gaze of anyone who steps into the speakeasy.
Retro Cocktail Glassware
Elevate an at-home speakeasy experience with the charm of olden cocktail culture. Opt for vintage glassware, a vital element that adds an authentic touch.
Etched coup glasses are timeless and suitable for everything from a martini to a sidecar, while the unique design of a Nick and Nora glass harks back to 1930s sophistication.
Do not overlook the novelty of highball glasses for long drinks, these tall spectacles underscore the elegance of the past.
Finally, a collection of shot glasses, reminiscent of a clandestine Prohibition-era toast, can round off your collection.
Each distinct style not only enhances the visual appeal but also accentuates the flavor profile of various spirits, offering a dash of history and a full measure of style.
Art Deco Wall Accents
Art Deco wall accents breathe life into your speakeasy design. Being a decorative style that emerged in the 1920s, it beautifully encapsulates the spirit of the Prohibition era.
To infuse that grandeur into your space, here are some points to consider:
- Bold Geometric Patterns: They are characteristic of the Art Deco style. Opt for wallpapers or wall decals that feature striking lines, triangles, or zigzags.
- Metallic Colors: Gold, silver, and chrome details are splendid choices that bring in a luxurious feel. Consider a wallpaper with a metallic sheen or metallic wall art.
- Mirrored Accents: Mirrored or glass wall decor, like sunburst mirrors, enhance the glam factor. They also bounce off light, making the room brighter.
- Figurative Art: Large prints or paintings of flappers, urban landscapes, or jazz musicians encapsulate the period’s vibrancy.
Remember, moderation is key. You want the wall accents to complement the decor, not overpower it. To maintain harmony, select one or two accent pieces per wall.
A Collection of Fedora Hats
Adding a tasteful arrangement of fedora hats can offer an authentic touch to your speakeasy decor. Suitable for mounting on the wall or displaying on a shelf, these hats evoke the style of 1920s gentlemen. Vintage store trawls and online hunting can open up a world of varied styles – from wide-brimmed to trilby, wool to straw. Don’t forget to consider hats with classic ribbon bands, feather accents, or worn textures to enhance the antique feel.
One creative idea is to position the hats as if they’ve been casually hung by patrons, giving a lively and lived-in atmosphere. Do ensure each hat is clean and in relatively good condition to maintain a polished aesthetic.
Jazz Age Inspired Wall Murals
Capturing the essence of the Jazz Age on your walls can transform your space into a true speakeasy sanctuary. Start by selecting iconic themes – think energetic dance scenes, big band orchestras, or popular musicians of the day like Louis Armstrong.
Stick to a bold color palette – black, gold, and silver. Consider unique style elements such as geometric patterns and sharp, clean lines, a notable Art Deco signature.
You can commission a local artist or look online for pre-made murals. Faded or sepia tones can compliment the vintage vibe nicely.
Remember, scale is important – the mural should not overpower the room but should serve as an engaging focal point. Don’t shy away from creativity but keep authenticity in mind. A true reflection of the era will surely enhance the speakeasy style of your home decor.
Poker Table Corner
Dedicating a section of your speakeasy to a poker table not only adds to the authentic feel but it’s a great entertainment area, as card games were a popular past time during this era. Opt for a vintage, dark wood poker table to keep with the 1920s ambience. Pair it with period-appropriate chairs and introduce some old playing cards and casino chips for an aesthetic appeal.
Interesting, while the federal law banned alcohol during Prohibition, gambling wasn’t illegal nationwide. Thus, a poker corner aligns nicely with the historical context. Additionally, a discrete curtain could be added to enclose the area, adding to the secretive nature of speakeasies.
Polished brass table lamps would add the final touch, casting a warm glow on the players and reinforcing the secretive, seductively underground mood of the early 20th century.
Brick Wall Interior
Exposing the beauty of brickwork can add character while emphasizing the rustic charm inherent to speakeasies. There’s a rugged allurement about it that recalls Prohibition times, and it serves as an excellent backdrop for your decor.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Maintain Originality: If you’re fortunate to have an actual brick wall, let it shine. Preserve its authenticity with proper sealing for longevity without compromising the raw aesthetics.
2. Faux Brick Wall: For those without a pre-existing brick wall, consider faux brick panels or wallpapers. They offer a realistic appearance at a fraction of the cost and labor.
3. Creative Painting: To add your unique flavor, try painting your brick. Off-white provides a classically antiquated look, while bold colors can bring a modern twist.
4. Use Accent Lighting: Enhance brick texture with the right light fixtures. Aim for soft, warm illumination that casts an inviting glow, highlighting the wall’s unique contours.
5. Decor Elements: Hanging vintage signs, period art, or old-fashioned sconces can give that final polish to yield the rich ambiance reminiscent of the Roaring 20s era.
Vintage Cigar Boxes
Vintage cigar boxes are the epitome of retro charm. Their grandeur and exquisite craftsmanship add an aura of authenticity to any speakeasy-style home.
They offer a dual purpose: functional storage and sophisticated decor. Fashioned from rich, lacquered wood and adorned with ornate designs, these boxes can house an array of objects, from stationery to precious trinkets.
Showcasing them on coffee tables or open shelves adds an intriguing focal point to a room. Some enthusiasts even prefer hanging them on walls as unique decorative pieces.
Look for boxes with bold typography or eye-catching graphics to give your space an extra layer of allure. When shopping, consider flea markets, vintage shops, or online auction sites to find these gems.
Remember, each box carries a story of its yesteryears worth sharing.
Period-appropriate Jazz Prints
In bringing an authentic 1920s vibe to your speakeasy, visually captivating art pieces serve as more than mere decor. Start with classic jazz prints, which perfectly encapsulate the spirit of the era. Look for artwork that features iconic musicians or abstract representations of jazz music with vibrant colors and geometric shapes.
Prints from artists like Henri Matisse or vintage sheet music covers can add an artistic note. Incorporate a focal wall adorned with these prints or scatter them throughout your space for a more subtle effect. Be sure to pepper in some black-and-white photos as well, featuring jazz legends like Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington, to evoke nostalgia and admiration for the virtuosos of that time.
When chosen judiciously, these elements bring a sense of history and liveliness to your speakeasy theme.
Flapper Dress Decorations
Embodying the spirit of the Roaring Twenties, flapper dresses serve an engaging visual treat in an authentic speakeasy setting. Decorating with these glitzy, sequined outfits can instantly transport visitors back to the age of classic jazz and free-spirited flappers.
One idea is to subtly incorporate them into the décor. Stylish, fringed, and beaded dresses can be hung on mannequins or displayed inside ornate frames. Alternatively, consider draping these dresses over a classic chaise lounge in a corner of the space, creating a dynamic visual statement that demands attention.
Remember, it’s not just about the dresses. Accessories like strands of pearls, feathered headbands, and vintage handbags can add the finishing touches. Cluster these on counters, or display them in glass cases alongside other era-appropriate memorabilia.
Beyond glamor, flapper dresses represent a spirit of rebellion and liberation, amplifying the narrative of Prohibition-era defiance embedded in speakeasy culture. High-quality replicas can serve the purpose just as well, provided they are chosen with care and displayed tastefully.
Old-fashioned Cash Register
An authentic touch to the speakeasy aesthetic, the traditional cash register serves not only as a period-accurate decor piece but also sparks conversation due to its distinct historical roots.
1. Design: These machines flaunt ornate, detailed designs, typically in robust metals like brass or nickel.
2. Functionality: While these make for great decoration, some are also functional, adding authenticity to your speakeasy-themed home bar.
3. Pairing: Situate alongside liquor shelves or on the serving counter to complete the mimicry of a prohibition era bar.
4. Variety: Available in a range of designs from Victorian to mid-century models, it’s easy to find one that fits your preferred speakeasy style.
5. Symbolism: Represents the clandestine nature of commerce during the prohibition era, where such registers were literally the silent partners in crime.
Remember, authenticity is a cornerstone of speakeasy charm and an old-fashioned cash register serves as an encompassing emblem of that era.
One of the most captivating items you can introduce to any speakeasy-inspired space is undoubtedly a retro jukebox. This iconic piece exudes vintage charm and it not only serves as an impressive centerpiece but also quenches your thirst for nostalgia-tinged tunes.
There are several options available in the market today, from authentically restored vintage models to reproductions equipped with modern amenities like Bluetooth connectivity. With its lively spectrum of colors dancing in the glass panels, it brings a glinting piece of the Roaring Twenties right into your present space.
Furthermore, a jukebox provides an interactive element that guests will adore, letting them play DJ for the evening and choose their favorite jazz or blues numbers, making it a solid investment for your speakeasy decor.
Cognac Leather Furniture
There’s something undeniably captivating about Cognac leather furniture – its rich hue, the sophisticated aura it exudes, and the sheer luxury it adds to any setting.
Its rich, warm color can complement the woody and rustic ambiance of a speakeasy-themed setting, providing an authentic vintage feel.
Particularly, pieces with distressed or aged leather bring a sense of historic charm.
From sturdy club chairs, enigmatic Chesterfield sofas to studded ottomans, its versatility allows it to adapt to any setting.
Keep in mind, leather furniture is a commitment. It requires regular maintenance like dusting and conditioning to maintain its shine and prevent crackings.
Accent pillows in complementary or contrasting colors can bring further visual interest and soften the heaviness of the leather.
Strategically positioning these pieces near low, ambient lighting will emphasize their vintage undertones, making them not just furniture, but an integral part of the speak-easy atmosphere.
Liked reading this? Here’s more: