Design Style 101: Hollywood Regency

above: living room of designer Antonia Hutt featuring William Haines’s Brentwood Chair

Hollywood Regency is known for its glamour, drama and new twist on old classics. The style became popular in the 1930s during the golden age of Hollywood. William Haines designed homes for movie stars that made them larger than life with sleek low-lying furnishings and sumptuously dressed walls and windows, while Dorothy Draper’s larger-than-life personality filled great halls and hotels with bright colors and big, bold patterns. Hollywood Regency gradually entered homes across America with the popularity of key elements, like tufted sofas and modern Greek and Egyptian influenced fretwork, patterns and furniture silhouettes. The style has been going strong since the 1930s and has evolved a bit with each decade that it endures.

above: entrance to William Haines Interiors


Known as the father of Hollywood Regency, William Haines was first an actor who was eventually ousted from Hollywood because of his refusal to deny his homosexuality and enter into a sham marriage for the sake of the studios. His friendships with Hollywood starlets launched him to popularity as a decorator for the elite, eventually designing furniture that is still available to the trade today, like the beloved Brentwood chair that was inspired by the tapered, splayed legs of Grecian chairs.

Brentwood-chairs-william-hainesabove: Pull Up chairs, a variation on the Brentwood chair, designed by William Haines

William-haines-time-capsuleabove: William Haines time capsule home as seen at LA Home & Style

Key elements in Haines’s Hollywood Regency include neoclassical elements, rebirthed from mid-19th century European designs, as well as rich textiles, sumptuously tufted seating, and dramatic elements like oversized sculptures, bold colorways, or over-the-top feminine touches. His later work became more streamlined and a glamorous variation on mid century modern styles, as seen in the Brody house pictured below.

William-Haines-Brody-House-1950above: Brody house living room designed by William Haines

Annenberg-sunnylands-homeabove: original master bedroom at Sunnylands designed by William Haines

William-haines-interior-modern-productsAdd some Haines Hollywood glamour to your space with these modern pieces:

1. Trellis Pillow
2. Ivory Keystone Pillow
3. Slipper Chair
4. Golden Age Lamp
5. Nesting Tables
6. Dog Statue
7. Brentwood Curved Sofa
8. Gold and Acrylic Bar Cart

Greenbrier-stairsabove: The Greenbrier Hotel designed by Dorothy Draper, photo by Gemma & Andrew Ingalls


Dorothy Draper, the mother of Hollywood Regency style, was a decade-defining decorator of the 1940s who freshened dark and tired period styles with fresh coats of white paint, black lacquer, and loads of oversized botanical prints and stripes. Her bold and often feminine color schemes modernized baroque and regency styles, softening and simplifying them to create a unique, Americanized version of traditional period style.

Draper’s Regency style was a bit more traditional, though perhaps bolder, than the sleek, glamorous styles of William Haines that became more mod as the decades passed.

Dorothy-draper-interiorsIn Dorothy’s day, if you weren’t a modernist, a decorator’s goal was usually to perfectly copy period styles of bygone eras. Dorothy took a bold twist on traditional decorative elements, playing with contrast and scale. Ram’s head pediments were simplified in their form, enlarged, and given a fresh coat of bright white paint. Paneled doors were simplified with simple contrasting squares in black and white color schemes. Stripes, floral chintz and banana leaf prints were exaggerated to add a bold vibe to carpets and wallpaper.

The bold, quasi-traditional style of Dorothy Draper transformed the interior landscape of America, her influence injecting homes and public spaces with a fresh jolt of color. She also helped create the profession of interior designer and had a tremendously successful career in a day when ladies just didn’t work outside the home. Draper’s work was popular in high society and graced the halls and gathering rooms of the era’s popular hotels, clubs, and Manhattan row houses. She also wrote for Good Housekeeping, influencing other decorators and housewives all across the U.S.

Greenbrier-hallways-2above: Greenbrier Hotel by Gemma & Andrew Ingalls / Victoria Magazine / below: Michel Arnaud for The Baltimore Sun

Greenbrier-orange-roomGreenbrier-hallways-1above: the Greenbrier Hotel by Cooper Carras for Matchbook Mag

Dorothy Draper’s work can still be seen gloriously displayed at West Virginia’s Greenbrier Hotel, as shown in the color images above. If you’d like to add some of her style to your home, check out this Dorothy Draper inspired collection of interior elements below:

Hollywood-regency-dorothy-draper1. Banana Leaf Pillow
2. Baroque Mirror
3. Floral Curtains
4. Brass Table Lamp
5. Slipcover for Ikea Ektorp Sofa
6. Campaign Nightstand
7. Geometric Pillow Cover
8. Tall Lidded Urn
9. Short Lidded Urn
10. Tufted Slipper Chair
11. Copley Chair in Dorothy Draper’s Brazilliance
12. Mirrored Brass Tray


Hollywood Regency has become a far reaching style through the decades, donning many faces along the way. In the ’70s it blended well with mid century modern styles particularly in California, à la Palm Beach style. Check out Trina Turk’s dining room below to see an example of this, as well as the later work of William Haines.

Trina-Turk-1970s-Home-Haines-Chairsabove: home of Trina Turk featuring William Haines chairs above: Ford home designed by Darren Brown in the ’70s

Ford-bedroomHomes from the 1970s are known for their heavy doses of pattern—to put it nicely! Pattern on the walls, patterns on the windows and patterns on the furniture. David Hicks was a British designer who masterfully blended the funky pattern-laden ’70s style with preppy tailored Hollywood Regency designs.

David-hicks-patternsHicksonian, a fabric design by son Ashley Hicks / Hicks’ Grand Wallpaper / La Fiorentina, a fabric design by Ashley Hicks

David-hicks-roomsabove: designs by David Hicks

Check out that carpet in the room above! Pretty bold. Hicks’ style is so iconic and really blends well with the aesthetics of stylish cult movies from the ’70s, like Harold and Maude and The Shining, movies most certainly influencing modern film makers like Wes Anderson (think The Darjeeling Limited) and David Lynch (Twin Peaks—think The Red Room).

David-hicks-bedroomabove: bedroom design by David Hicks in the ’70s


Designers are still infatuated with the drama and glamour of Hollywood Regency style. For modern interpretations, check out the spaces below. Popular modern designers who’ve put their own spin on classic Hollywood Regency designs include Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler, Miles Redd, Nate Berkus, and many more.

Jonathan-adler-and-Miles-Reddabove: Jonathan Adler / Miles Redd

Elle-decorabove: Elle Decor above: home of Marjorie Skouras via Apartment Therapy / Lonny

Joe-Nahem-Greenwich-Home-for-Architectural-DigestJoe Nahem design via Architectural Digest

Modern-dorothy-draper-4above: Tobi Fairley / House of Honey / below: Domino

Modern-dorothy-draper-domino-magazineA-beautiful-mess-dorothy-draperabove: Shannon Smith for A Beautiful Mess / below: House Beautiful / House Beautiful

Modern-dorothy-draper-house-beautifulSo much glamour and tons of inspiration! Does this inspire you to add a little glamour to your home? –Mandi

Credits // Author: Mandi Johnson. Images: Noted individually.

  • We live in condos designed by John Elgin Wolf and are trying to regain some of the Regency interior. This was very helpful, Thanks!

  • After a long, exhaustive search for the sofa of my dreams, I found one that is Hollywood Glam. Color is greyeige, curvy camel sway back, button tufted back rest, rolled arms, two seat cushions. The throw pillows included are too traditional in style. So I purchased two additional pillows that are covered in very long greyeige eyelash trim. Think a flapper style dress. My decor is slightly bohemian, well maybe more than slightly. So glad I found this post as it has been a style/decor confidence booster for me.

  • Well done post! Great research and I learned a great deal about a “style” that I’m not fond of but can appreciate it’s evolution. Thank you!

  • I really enjoyed this post and I also feel a tad smarter somehow! 😉 Thanks for putting this together! I’d love to see more posts like this!

  • I love this post, and would love to see more like it! I imagine it took quite a bit of research, and it’s so well put together. It’s really neat to see the history of a style expressed this way.

  • Mandi, thank you – this post is incredible. Would love to keep seeing more of these! Yes!!! ??

  • LOVED this post! I really enjoy reading about interior design styles and would love to see more like this in the future!

  • That green wallpaper and those winding stairs are so sexy! The wallpaper is too much but it’s kind of damask-ish and that makes it work.

    Some of that stuff makes me here they Psycho movie shower scene, but I like it still… It’s very vintage 50’s meets hippie 70’s. I’m more intrigued by the pieces of furniture.

    At the end of the day, my husband would never go for it, so please have fun for me!

  • We LOVE Hollywood Regency. What a great post! Thanks for linking to us for Groundworks’ Hicksonian fabric. 🙂 Just a heads up for anyone who doesn’t have the ability to buy directly from Cole & Son — we do sell Hicks’ Grand wallpaper, too. You can find it here:
    And we have La Fiorentina fabric:
    Thanks again!

  • Take me to class!!! Felt like I was sitting in a class at scad again (I loved my history of art/design classes). Please do more like these–this was great.

  • Wow! All decors are beautiful but the dark green one is just breathtaking. I think I will go with that in my beauty salon too.

  • Hi Elsie! Saw this on Nashville CL and it reminded me of this post! kinda has that vibe 🙂

  • Thanks, Jessica! I love this kind of stuff. It’s difficult sometimes to describe things. I kept thinking as I put this post together, “Okay, this is Hollywood Regency because… well, because I just know it when I see it!” Ha! Kind of like how in design school you just want to say you like something or dislike it, because you have that gut instinct, but your teachers press you to discover and eloquently describe why you hate something. 🙂 It can be annoying (especially in the classroom envronment), but I think it’s definitely worth the extra effort to become a better communicator and student of style. -Mandi

  • Thank you! I first learned about all of this in my History of Interior Design class in college, and love, love, loved it all! I took two interiors history classes, and wished I could have spent more time on it. If I ever go back for my masters, I think I’ll do something along those lines for restoration work. Dream job! It was fun to revisit and hunt down good examples of this style. 🙂 -Mandi

  • I LOVE the Dorothy Draper style! Although I’m moving toward the modern and more minimal looks as well, I’m a huge fan of color and contrast and pattern. I kind of think Jenny Komenda (Little Green Notebook) is a modern day version of her, although she may not use a lot of midcentury furniture. Jenny Komenda and Emily Henderson are the only designers I really ‘follow.’

  • I just don’t know which I like most. In each picture there is always one piece that catches my attention.

  • To answer your ending question… Yes! Loved this post! I hope to see more like this. Thank you!

  • This is a great post! I find this kind of articles very entertaining and eye-opening as they show you how every design (or fashion) trend begins, and how it inspires other designers years later.
    I hope there will be more posts like this one in the future.

  • I love this!! The history of design is so fascinating and inspiring. And it’s great to have a common language of “this is an example of hollywood regency, because of a, b, and c.” It’s so much more fun than “Idk, it has that cool blogger vibe!” I know this was probably a lot of work for Mandi, but I’d LOVE to see more!! Thanks!

  • That’s quite an interesting way to style a home, I wouldn’t include all the pieces in one apartment though. But taken as key pieces I think a lamp or a sofa would compliment every room and give it authenticity and depth.

  • What a great post! I hope you do more themes and this becomes a series! May I suggest southernwestern flair or Victorian?

  • This is such an awesome history lesson. I’ve always loved these styles, but never really knew exactly what I was loving. Drooling over all these photos and would gladly live in any of these spaces!

  • This is my spirit style. Is that a thing? Love love love love!


  • I kept scrolling down thinking ‘I love this, nope now I love this…’ what a seriously gorgeous post. Tons of inspiration.

    Meg | Meghan Silva’s Blog
    @MeghanSSilva on Instagram

  • Wow,post is amazing.And pics are fab.I like it.xo

  • I’m OBSESSED with Hollywood Regency! It’s my favorite decor look!!

  • I love all of these pieces! It’s always fun to see pieces that you wouldn’t necessarily pick for yourself seen assembled together in a great looking space!


  • I’m so in love with this decadent style! All the fabric, all the opulence and those patterns are stunning! Really cool to actually read about the background of this style too 🙂
    Hannah x

  • Those images are so cool and inspirational! I now feel like re-decorating my room 🙂

    XOXO from Holland,

  • Loving this roundup! I love even with the elevated glamorous design style, there are still tons of fun and whimsical colors and patterns. It’s great how you showed this evolution into the ’60s and ’70s, too. I could definitely hop on board with some of these elements! Now to make my ceilings 10 feet taller… 🙂


  • What a great comprehensive post! I’ve been browsing tuffed chairs for my living room a la Dorthy Draper, and I think this post solidified my decision on purchasing one! I think I’ll skip the dog statues though. 😉

  • I love this post! I’m a huge fan of Hollywood Regency design, and I’ve been slowly turning my 1940’s house into a Hollywood Regency masterpiece…or at least trying! Thanks for all the inspiration and history! This post must have taken a ton of research to put together!

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