Studying the history of interior design is important and can be either a resource for imitation or for stimulating new ideas. We call it - 'inspiration'. Interior designers are no different from other artists - the difference is that our canvas is your home. Come with us as we journey across time to take a brief view of this fascinating topic…
The history of interior design draws upon several different fields of study. It is based in architectural history, but incorporates elements of the decorative arts, including furniture, metalwork, glass, ceramics, and textiles.
Let's begin with prehistoric and indigenous design. Interestingly, modern art has been strongly influenced by native art. While modern design may not have been as deeply influenced there are often similarities (such as repetition and pattern) between design by indigenous peoples and modern work as seen in weavings such as rugs, blankets, pottery and baskets.
Then there are the ancient world influences of Egypt, Greece, Rome and others. Tombs found in Egypt have yielded up a wide range of objects which have given us a glimpse into Egyptian daily life. They suggest spaces with only minimal furniture, lively color in wall decorations and woven materials as well as the treatment of columns as strong decorative elements. We see similar architectural elements in Rome and Greece, but two distinct styles, and an distinct evolution of architectural know-how. The ruins at Pompeii and Herculaneum have shown us that ancient cities were not unlike ours - and were most certainly full of 'decor'. All of the ancient civilizations mentioned made use of wall paintings, sculpture - and furnishings accessories of all sorts.
Next, we'll jump to the Middle Ages, where we find early Christian, Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic design influences both in architecture and in design elements. From there history takes us into the Renaissance and Rococo - rich with its Italian, European, French and English influences. Neoclassicism gave us Empire and Regency styles.
The North American age was first influenced by Colonial, Federal and Gothic revival design. And who doesn’t love the Victorian Era with it’s Arts and Crafts, Shaker and Adirondack themes.
At the Turn of the Century we were steeped in Art Nouveau and in the Twentieth Century we were blessed with Eclecticism, Frank Lloyd Wright, De Stijl, Art Deco, Post-Modernism and Hi-tech.
As history is still writing itself, we are excited to see how Twenty-First Century interior design will play out as it is continually being influenced by the past, present and future.