How to Decorate a Cabaret


A cabaret is no place for clean lines and a minimalist palette. Decorate a cabaret in classic Parisian style, with lavish pieces, plush fabrics, and busy prints. Create a bohemian ambiance reminiscent of the Moulin Rouge by scouring thrift stores for vintage mirrors, artwork, glassware, frames, posters, and dishes. In cabaret style, mismatch is fine, and even desired, so do not worry about finding complete sets of coordinated dishes and flatware. When designing your floor space and stage area, make sure you leave enough room between tables and chairs for patrons and staff to circulate.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Stencils
  • Furniture
  • Lighting
  • Accessories
  • Select a flamboyant color scheme. You might go with the classic Moulin Rouge colors of red and black, or lighten the palette with pink and gold. For old Hollywood glam, consider teal and silver.

  • Embellish your walls. Use wallpaper, decals or stencils to add an elaborate trim of fleur de lis or paisley. Paint doorways, window frames, and other architectural features in a contrasting color.

  • Use furnishings that allow for flexible seating. While banquettes and long tables have a luxurious look, they do not allow you to break up the space. Small circular and square tables and smaller chairs mean that you can pack the floor space when necessary. Dress up your entry or a VIP section with chaise lounges, low Moroccan tea tables, or poufs. A long wooden bar is a must for a classic bistro vibe.

  • Use mood lighting. Bright lights kill the mood, so choose accent lighting instead. Frame the stage area with party lights. A few small chandeliers overhead and candles in glasses or wine bottles on the tables add a bohemian look. If you have a large performance area, you will want spotlights for the stage.

  • Accessorize the space. Stack mismatched frames vertically on the wall to evoke a Paris salon. Use velvet, velour, and chenille on cushions and window treatments for a luxe look. A red or purple plush carpet adds flash and helps absorb ambient noise.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make your bar area shine with funky trays, decanters, flasks, and glassware.

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