The history of interior designing

“Decorating is not about making stage sets, it’s not about making pretty pictures for the magazines; it’s really about creating a quality of life, a beauty that nourishes the soul.”

Albert Hadley

Interior design originated from decorators. There have been many styles that have lived throughout the decades.

Interior design history is a fascinating subject because it depicts a true portrayal of our tastes and our abilities to match those predilections through the ages.The history of interior designing can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Tombs with lavish decorations have been discovered that support the theory that the tombs were decorated not only as tribute to the final resting place of the pharaohs, but also as a way to supply comforts in the afterlife. The Romans also left evidence that the design of the interior of a building was as important as that of the outside. Those that were wealthy even created separate living spaces for optimal comfort during the warm season and the cold season.

The Italian Renaissance spawned the beginnings of interior designing and interior decorating as they are known today. With the upsurge in popularity of art, wealthy patrons began supporting the arts, and more rooms began to be designed with form and function in mind. The coming of the Industrial Revolution provided the opportunity for even those of the "middle class" to utilize interior design in their homes and businesses.

1. Baroque style is dramatic and opulent, and can transform a simple home into something flamboyant. Used predominantly in Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles, baroque style boasts of bold colors, luxurious textiles, carved wooden furniture, gold or silver trims, exquisite art pieces and crystal chandeliers. The Baroque style is theatrical and extravagant. Decorative elements are intended to startle, electrify – and flaunt wealth. This was also true for the European courts and aristocracy that embraced the 18th century style. Furniture is massive and opulent, textiles are luxurious and expensive, colors are royally rich and glittery, accessories are exotic and sparkling, floors are dramatic. The style was most magnificently showcased at France's Louis XIV's palace at Versailles.


2. Rococo, less commonly roccoco, also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century artistic movement and style, which affected several aspects of the arts including painting, sculpture, architecture, interior design, decoration, literature, music and theatre. The Rococo developed in the early part of the 18th century in Paris, France as a reaction against the grandeur, symmetry and strict regulations of the Baroque, especially that of the Palace of Versailles.[1] In such a way, Rococo artists opted for a more jocular, florid and graceful approach to Baroque art and architecture. Rococo art and architecture in such a way was ornate and made strong usage of creamy, pastel-like colours, asymmetrical designs, curves and gold. Unlike the more politically focused Baroque, the Rococo had more playful and often witty artistic themes. With regards to interior decoration, Rococo rooms were designed as total works of art with elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall paintings. The Rococo additionally played an important role in theatre. In the book The Rococo, it is written that there was no other culture which "has produced a wittier, more elegant, and teasing dialogue full of elusive and camouflaging language and gestures, refined feelings and subtle criticism" than Rococo theatre, especially that of France.[2]

Towards the end of the 18th century, Rococo started to fall out of fashion, and it was largely supplanted by the Neoclassic style. In 1835 the Dictionary of the French Academy stated that the word Rococo "usually covers the kind of ornament, style and design associated with Louis XV's reign and the beginning of that of Louis XVI". It includes therefore, all types of art produced around the middle of the 18th century in France. The word Rococo is seen as a combination of the French rocaille, meaning stone, and coquilles, meaning shell, due to reliance on these objects as motifs of decoration.[3] The term Rococo may also be interpreted as a combination of the word "barocco" (an irregularly shaped pearl, possibly the source of the word "baroque") and the French "rocaille" (a popular form of garden or interior ornamentation using shells and pebbles), and may be used to describe the refined and fanciful style that became fashionable in parts of Europe during the eighteenth century.[4] Owing to Rococo love of shell-like curves and focus on decorative arts, some critics used the term to derogatively imply that the style was frivolous or merely modish. When the term was first used in English in about 1836, it was a colloquialism meaning "old-fashioned". As a matter of fact, the style received harsh criticism, and was seen by some to be superficial and of poor taste,[5][6] especially when compared to neoclassicism; despite this, it has been praised for its aesthetic qualities,[5] and since the mid-19th century, the term has been accepted by art historians. While there is still some debate about the historical significance of the style to art in general, Rococo is now widely recognized as a major period in the development of European art.


3. Romantic is a traditional, relaxing style that charms the senses through silk, satin, floral patterns, soft color palettes, and painted or vintage pieces of furniture. This style is all about setting the mood in your bedroom by filtering light through sheer curtains, using soft bedding, and fragrant floral arrangements.


4.  Art Nouveau Style

Art Nouveau exploded onto the design scene in Paris and London at the turn of the twentieth century.

It was the first original style, that took inspiration from its surroundings, not history.

The late Victorians found this flamboyant and away-from-the-norm design rather shocking, and it was a love or hate situation for most. Some aspects of Art Nouveau saw a revival in the 1960’s.

Art Nouveau Style

The style consists of two distinct looks: curvy, elongated lines, or the more linear look of artists such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh. There were elements of stylised natural forms, such as flowers, roots, buds and seedpods, and the pre-Raphaelite female form was often seen also. Vertical lines, with height were a feature, with the whiplash line being prominent. From the stylised natural forms of flowers also came spider webs, peacock feathers, locusts, thistles and more, appearing on wallpaper, furniture and accents. Exotic woods, iridescent glass, silver and semi precious stones were the materials of choice in this elaborate and exuberant era.

Art Nouveau Furniture

Most Art Nouveau furniture was based around the greatly influential designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. He was renowned for his extremely high-backed chairs in a glossy black lacquer. A more conservative option would be more curvy shapes, upholstered in stylised floral fabrics. Furniture however, was not a big element of Art Nouveau design, and the focus was mainly on beautiful and elaborate ornaments. Art glass was a must. The typical Nouveau glass was iridescent with patterns of liquid oil. Glasswork also came in more opaque matter, with detailed etched designs. Of particular mention is the Galle “cameo glass”, which has a raised design cut out of the glass with acid. Tiffany lamp -shaped like an umbrella with bold colored favrile glass between bronze and metal latticework was a symbol of the art nouveau period, very expensive, and has now had thousands of lesser quality imitaions made. Silver and pewter were also popular materials for ornaments, and it is not difficult to find Mackintosh-style clocks, frames and jewellery boxes today.

Art Nouveau Color

Period colors were elegant and subtle, and became known as the “greenery yallery”. Mustard, sage, olive, brown and gold, teamed with lilac, violet and purples, peacock blue, salmon and robin’s egg blue for the ultimate in elegance. Wallpapers included much of the highly stylised nature symbols, particularly flowers, feathers, birds and dragonlies. Fabric also featured much of the same designs.

Art Nouveau Influences

Art Nouveau shared a lot of the same beliefs as Arts and Crafts. They both believed in quality goods and fine craftsmanship, but Nouveau embraced the convenience of mass production. Rococo style also featured, and botanical research and design was strong throughout.


5.  Japanese interior design arrived in the west during the mid 19th century, Victorian era when trade opened up. However, it was actually discovered by the west in the 16th century.

The style itself is the key influence on minimalism and sets out the principles for zen interiors.

Japanese homes are based on 'Ma', which directly translates as 'negative space'.

It means that you are aiming for the balance between the space you have and your furniture and objects. Keep your space clear and uncluttered to help create a very special and calm home.

6. Empire style.Throughout the early 19th Century the French Empire Style evolved from the court of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

It used heavy classical designs and geometric form whilst retaining an air of fineness along with soft draped fabrics and highly polished veneers.

Strong colors were prevalent in interiors introduced when the French gentry returned from their military sessions in Egypt.

The Egyptian tombs that they had seen and their use of vibrant colors inspired them. Azure blues, rich greens, red ochre and acid yellows became popular for interior decoration.

Softer colors were still used, lilac being one of the most popular.

The military influence of Napoleon lead to formality in the arrangement of furniture, this was softened with the abundant use of drapery.

Carving was not popular but the use of ormolu mounts of classical motifs; laurel wreaths, urns, and sphinxes were for detailing throughout the room as well as hardware.

Egyptian motifs were also prevalent, lions, hieroglyphics, palms, winged griffins, cobras and sphinxes.

The most favoured timber used for furniture was mahogany, fruitwoods, yew, elm and maple were still seen and the use of imported veneers from Africa and West and East Indies.

Most furniture had curves for example scroll backed daybeds and chairs.

The preferred decoration materials were marble and tortoiseshell and were used for ornaments.


7. Eclectic design as we understand it today has been around as long as people have had options in the decorative arts. The term eclecticism stems from the Greek word eklektikos which is defined as “choosing the best”. This suggests a great deal of freedom untethered by convention, however, in the mid nineteenth century, just the opposite was true.

After neo-classicism came wave after wave of revival architecture. Architects and designers of this era interpreted eclecticism to mean an accurate historical representation of any chosen period regardless of context, which is why this period is also loosely defined as historicism. A designer was expected to follow the design cues set forth by the architect and remain true to the era that it represented. It seems the only thing that was not allowed was originality.

The conglomerate result was considered eclectic because of the patchwork effect it imposed on the neighborhood. A gothic church could stand next to a Palladian style bank which in turn was nestled into towns filled with colonial, italianate, georgian and mediterranean style homes.

By the late 1800's eclectic architecture began to integrate the various styles and resemble our modern understanding of the word.


8. Venetion Interior design . During the Renaissance period of the Middle Ages, the Italian cities of Florence and Venice were at the center of this enlightening movement. Venice in particular became known for classical influences gleaned from studying ancient Greek and Roman culture. The Renaissance movement later spread to other European countries. During the 1600's, Venice grew to be one of the significant musical centers on the continent.

In addition to scientific and intellectual advances, the art world also leaped forward. Renaissance era artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo elevated artistic pursuits to a new level and helped to develop the idea of perspective in paintings. Artists of the period also studied human anatomy, light, and shadow in an effort to portray natural beauty and lifelike imagery.

The Carnival of Venice also added to the opulent, festive reputation of the city. This lavish festival goes back to the 1200's and features whimsical, decorative masks and fanciful costumes. The enchantment of this event includes music, games, magic, street performers, and theatrical shows.

Venetian Glass and Art

In addition to the magnificent classical architecture of Venice's stone and marble buildings, Venice is also known for its glass, mirrors, and ornate artwork. The art of glassmaking first became a major part of the Venetian art scene during the 1200's to 1400's. The nearby island of Murano grew to be the hub of production for this sophisticated and colorful art glass. The Murano glassmakers continue to carry on the time-honored techniques as they craft chandeliers, jewelry, mirrors, and art glass. Some of the crafts they have perfected include multicolored glass, glass gemstones, crystalline glass, and milk glass.

Beautiful Venetian mirrors are still used in a variety of interiors from eclectic to traditional. Venetian mirrors feature elaborate frames made of cut, etched, or beveled mirror pieces. The carved effect is stunning and helps to catch the light in pleasing ways. The frames of these highly polished mirrors are occasionally accented in black or vibrant jewel-toned colors like red or yellow.

Celestial themes come up as another popular theme in Venetian interior design. Wall plaques often incorporate glittering images of the sun, moon, or stars. The use of gold or silver metallics is crucial to a Venetian style room. This can include gilded chandeliers, gold leafed crown molding, or even hand-painted metallic accents on furniture. Fortuny lamps make a nice addition to a Venice-inspired design due to their graceful shapes and fine silk or glass components.

The diverse, intellectual history of Venice can also be recreated by displaying an eclectic mixture of art and accessories such as those collected on worldwide travels. Try filling bookcases or shelves with vintage books and interesting objects which you can find at flea markets, thrift stores, and estate sales. Venetian interior design can also be energized by paintings or murals which depict dazzling scenes of this unique city island. There are wonderful art prints and oil paintings featuring the dramatic canals, gondolas, and bridges of Venice. Place one of these art pieces in an ornate gilded frame for maximum impact.

You can also integrate the look of old world Italy by using a Venetian plaster wall finish. This stylish faux finish creates a marble-like appearance on walls by showing off the light and dark tones of the same color. The polished, reflective surface of Venetian plaster is perfect in an entryway, dining room, or formal living area.


9. Though the word ‘bungalow’ is derived from Hindustani word ‘bangla’, the origins of the bungalow in New Zealand are uncertain.

Jeremy Salmond, in Old New Zealand Houses 1800 – 1940, says that New Zealand’s bungalow-style housing was directly inspired by bungalows from the west coast of the United States, and that US bungalows in turn were influenced by Japanese architecture. Certainly, from 1918, kitset ‘Californian’ bungalows were imported into New Zealand from the west coast of North America and Canada.

Other writers, however, have argued that the New Zealand bungalow style followed similar developments in Britain and Australia.

As well as kitsets, bungalows were popularised by draughtspeople, who produced books of standardised plans. Architects also adopted the style and made it distinctly New Zealand.

By the early 1920s, the bungalow was the predominant style of house being built in New Zealand. While the art deco style became popular in the 1930s, in some areas bungalows were built up until World War 2..


10. Style avan-garde.This style is considered to be absolutely opposite to the classical one. It is for person with an original taste and innovative thinking, who prefers freedom and independence in everything.

The most important thing in interior of this style is color. You can mix and combine all sorts of colors, but don’t forget, you need glare and brightness, not vulgarity. Colors should form an organic ensemble. It’s better not to use wallpaper here. Take brushes and colors and paint. For example, you could have a black wall opposite of white or a black chair near a white wall and a lamp with a light shade near the black wall. You could paint all four walls of the room in different colors: yellow, orange, red and cherry. Remember: the avant-garde is created on contrasts. Find dark furniture to match these bright walls and you will enjoy a new image of your flat..

It’s unlikely that furniture sets such as "sofa plus two chairs" will look good in such room. Each piece must be original. Avant-garde - is a daring experiment in which, despite of seemingly total chaos, all things are on their places.


11. Art deco interior design.It was around 1908 when Art Deco interior design began in Europe. Art Nouveau was at that time still popular however, Paris was changing and by the end of World War I in 1914, Art Deco was the popular choice and was the leading style until the end of the second World War in 1945.

You might of heard of art deco interior design, or perhaps not so this page will give you some key information to understanding what the art deco style is and how you can make it work in your home.

By the 1930's, mass production of furniture and decor meant that art deco interior design was accessible to everyone.

Art deco was influenced by the art nouveau's use of motifs depicting nature; sunrises, flowers and shells however, the once loved organically, flowing lines were replaced with geometric and angular shapes. However, curved lines were occasionally used like those in the art deco staircase above.

A fantastic example of art deco is the Chrysler Building in New York which is shown in the images below. Have a look at how shape was used to make up the stylized pattern.

Travel during the deco period became increasing popular, therefore global influences affected the art deco decor and color palette. Egyptian pyramids and sphinxes are commonly seen in art deco interior design and since African safaris were 'the thing' to do, animal skins and prints, ivory and mother of pearl were sought after.


12. Loft style in the interior design

Loft is the original, spacious, modern interior for the youth. Loft has appeared in the early twentieth century in one of the areas of New York, where the old industrial areas have been adapted for workshops musicians, artists, painters and writers.

The distinctive features of this apartment are big windows, high celling, structural engineering, metal beams. Predominance of metal, glass and plastic create a unique atmosphere. Bathroom, bedroom are the only rooms which are isolated in such apartment. Walls are the most simple, no frills. A special antique chic is brick or smooth concrete. The internal walls are sometimes made of glass, especially for the separation of the territory of the kitchen or bathroom. Sometimes glass blocks replace window.

The interior of the loft floor boards, covered with a light clear varnish can be mitigated by a bold colored rug. All the modern appliances are typically used in the loft interiors - from immaculate steel plates to the plasma screens.

The proximity of ultra-light wood with ethnic or ancient objects creates a "personality" of the loft interior. Otherwise, the interior looks really heartless. For ease of change is often used furniture on wheels. - Huge chairs characterize the abundance of open space and seating.


13. POP art style! Using dramatic images in the pop art style – a wonderful way to add to the interior brightness of color, spatial dynamics, as well as the necessary conditions of any share of creativity and a pinch of irony.

One of the most religious people in the history of pop art movement and contemporary art of the 20th century, as we know, is Andy Warhol (Andy Warhol). It was his bohemian studio became a favorite source for the development of many of our interior loft areas. An integral part of modern lofts are often reproductions of famous eccentric artist, designer and writer.Although it is known that in his own house, these bright and flashy products of American society was not even close.

Classics and always recognizable images in the pop art style may be an organic component, not only loft space. These “funny pictures” with publicized images of consumer goods psychedelic 60?s, can revive a modern minimalist interior, adding self-irony in his laconic lines and monotone colors.

The bright elements of pop-art decor for the interior fit and a retro, vintage, glamor, and, of course, for himself, grew up in a separate area, interior style pop art. At the same time, sophisticated environment such vivid images make a home, and democratic and eclectic – a stylish and expressive.

For opponents of the “cheap reproductions of great paintings,” posters and collages in the style of pop art is the most successful way to decorate the walls of numerous copies of the works of contemporary art that no one could accuse of wanting to “seem not to be”.

In addition, the author of pop art collage can be each of us. In this case, you just need to gather in a whole variety of symbolic characters, whose themes will be selected for a sweet child’s room, and for the ultra-modern and the “critical” living room, bedroom or hallway. And, using paint and stencils, you can draw something directly on the concept of a smooth wall.


14. Country style interior design is cozy and warm bearing the resemblance of cottage style since it’s simple and cozy. There are many various culturally different country style designs that have the features of the time and style that was pertinent to various countries. Thus you may find such country style types as French country, English country, American country, Italian country or Tuscan, and Modern country.

Each type of country style has taken characteristic features of the culture it was used in. English country is relaxed and comfortable. It incorporates many floral patterns as well as stripes, plaids, and ginghams. Wood is all over the English country from dark tones to unfinished look.

French country style is characterized by deep and bright colors – aubergine, lavender, yellow, azure blue. Colors are built into floral and animal patterns. The furniture is robust and basic.

Italian country style, also known as Tuscan is warm and rustic. It incorporates such colors as ochre, terracotta, golden yellow, and green. The flooring and fireplaces are made of natural stone. Unfinished wooden pieces and textured walls accentuate the rustic feel.

American country style has its main feature in simplicity. The furniture can be stained, painted or unfinished.

Modern country style has an updated look. Incorporating modern art, furniture or lighting into the traditional design makes it more up to date but still cozy and lived-in.


15. High-tech style.If we have to point out the most up-to-date internal design style, it would be the high-tech style. Characteristic for this style is that all elements are made to be functional. It has a connection with the industrial style, thus bringing its characteristic specifications, among which is the lack decoration. It’s compensated by the sunlight’s mimics onto glass, chrome and metal surfaces. Another specification of this internal design style is open constructions, complicated structured spaces, using metal, glass and concrete. An appropriate designer decision for large spaces is division into functional zones with the help of light-barricades, glass doors or sliding doors.

The choice of furniture should be correlated to the spaces. Soft furniture with simple geometric shapes and single colour materials is appropriate. A colour spot, which would serve as an accenting element, can be created with the help of a bright-coloured sofa, for instance red, which can lighten up the general background. The bright spot should be just a single one. A sofa with modules can be used, which would change its shape, and possibly a shape combination can be inserted, if the separate modules are in different colours. Suitable interior elements are a table with a glass desktop, chairs with metal legs and back, coffee tables on wheels and book shelves with glass basis.


Many people interesed –What is ethnic style  interior design?

In short, ethnic is simply another term to describe various types of global inspired interior design. Whether or not one term is more appropriate than the other is entirely up to the user, though most people tend to prefer 'global' versus ethnic. With this in mind, the term can actually refer to potentially hundreds, if not thousands of different interior design styles from Asian to Indian to Moroccan to Latin American.