The Evolution of Interior Design



The evolution of interior design is fascinating, just like the progress of our culture, technology, and civilization. From the monumental ancient palaces to the reduced minimalism of modern apartments in the world’s metropolises, the interior is determined by various factors: cultural, social, religious, craft, and technological characteristics of a certain time.

History of the interior design

The oldest examples of developed interior design refer to ancient civilizations, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The interiors of these civilizations were monumental, featuring ornate decorations, precious metals such as gold or silver, and lavish furnishings. Creating these spaces demonstrated the wealth and power of the ruling class.

During the Middle Ages, the design was determined by religious standards. Churches and monasteries left a terrifying impression with the aim of provoking respect but also fear. Castles and palaces represented the power and wisdom of the rulers, with grand fireplaces, ornate furniture, and tapestries that depicted scenes from history or mythology. Everything was big, dark, and powerful. Large, bulky pieces of furniture and light should contribute to the Gothic atmosphere.

The Renaissance and Baroque periods saw a shift towards more humanistic values, with a focus on art, science, and most important – individualism. The interior design was more elegant, refined, and harmonious. It was all about emphasizing balance and symmetry. The Baroque is represented by oval rooms full of incrusted pieces of furniture, and the frequent presence of ornaments. The Renaissance was more complex, and saw antiquity as a model, and attempted to return to those values.

The Victorian era was a time of great prosperity and innovation in interior design. The interiors were full of rich colors, elaborate patterns, and ornate furniture. The Victorian style was eclectic, incorporating elements from different historical periods. Simplicity, craftsmanship, and natural materials were the main theme. Eclecticism comes from the Greek word eklektikós which means to choose the best, and it was just like that.

The interior design of the 20th century marked a radical departure from the past. Modern interiors were about minimalism and functionality.

Bauhaus was one of the most important schools of the time and marked the Modern interiors and its principles of design have had a lasting impact on the interior to this day.

During the sixties and seventies, the postmodern era artists and designers rejected the modernist principles of simplicity and minimalism. Instead, the approach was ironic, with an emphasis on playfulness. The design of the sixties included eclectic colors, and unexpected patterns, especially on wallpapers. It was a time of new ways of expression and imagination without limits.

The seventies were the golden era of interior design. It was a time of glamour, chic, wonderful, elegantly dressed people. Imagine wonderful comfortable sofas, and happy people talking during some great glamorous event, everything is modern, shiny, and looks prestigious. You are imagining the seventies.

Today, interior design is all about sustainability, contemporary technology, and values. The main (only?) focus is on creating spaces that are not only beautiful but also functional, and environmentally friendly.

Incorporating natural materials (such as wood or stone) into interiors, provide natural spaces and the opportunity to relax surrounded by patterns and ambient we humans are made for. So, returning to our roots may be the next step in the evolution of interior design.

image: yann maignan

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