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The evolution of interior design

Interior design involves changing the aesthetics of a building or space - it is both an art and a science. Trends change frequently, often to reflect the 'mood' of society and the time period. But how has interior design evolved?

BCE

(BEFORE COMMON ERA)

6000 to 2000 BCE

Stone Age

The first signs of interior design were seen during the Stone Age, with various fauna and flora having been discovered in prehistoric dwellings

stone_age-medium

BCE

(BEFORE COMMON ERA)

2000-1700 BCE

Neolithic Europe

Handmade pottery was used to decorate during this period

BCE

(BEFORE COMMON ERA)

2700 BCE

Ancient Egypt

People began living in new structures decorated with murals about their history. They also had sculptures and other decorative objects

BCE

(BEFORE COMMON ERA)

1200 to 31 BCE

Greek Empire

This era marks the beginnings of homeowners adding personal, unique touches to their homes. Columns and pillars were a staple of Greek architecture, and during this period, guidelines for construction were put in place. Wealthy Greeks decorated with ornate furniture adorned with ivory and silver

BCE

(BEFORE COMMON ERA)

753 BCE to 480 AD

Roman Empire

Interior design was influenced by mathematically expressed laws of proportion during this era. Bronze and painted marble sculptures were common, alongside mosaic floors, pillars and elegant furniture in rich colours

AD

(ANNO DOMINI)

900 - 1500 AD

Dark Ages

An era defined by practicality - there was a disinterest with interior design during the Dark Ages. Any interior design was heavily inspired by cathedral architecture and religious themes, with average homes often having simple wood panel walls and minimal furnishings

AD

(ANNO DOMINI)

1400 - 1600 AD

The Renaissance Period

The Renaissance period was a hugely important era for interior design. During this time, significant features included elaborate wall hangings, intricate furnishings and opulent wood carvings. This movement started in Italy, and quickly travelled throughout Europe

AD

(ANNO DOMINI)

1140-1400 AD

Gothic

Gothic design utilised bold colours and decorations. The Gothic movement hugely influenced the architecture of buildings during this time, with an emphasis on using windows to let more light in

AD

(ANNO DOMINI)

1590-1725

Baroque

Another trend from Italy, Baroque was characterised by opulent features, rich colours, gilded accessories and intricate furniture

AD

(ANNO DOMINI)

1700

Rococo

Coming to prominence towards the end of the Baroque period, Rococo uses luxurious materials, soft pastel colours, curvy lines and C & S shaped scrolls for an elegant effect

19th Century

1760 -1820

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution inspired many changes in the interior design world - primarily due to industrial processes making decorative homeware widely available. Advances in glass and steel meant the use of natural light was more popular, and the middle classes were able to take an interest in the design and features of their homes

19th Century

1780 -1880

Neoclassical Style

Inspired by Ancient Greek & Roman cultures, Neoclassical style relied heavily on gold & bronze metals alongside silk, velvet and satin upholstery. Architectural features included panelling and imitation columns

19th Century

1872-1889

Aesthetic Movement

The Aesthetic movement was started by a group of radical designers and artists who wanted to defy their eras 'horrendous' design standards. This movement was earmarked by the famous slogan, 'art for art's sake'

19th Century

1860-1910

Arts & Crafts

The arts & crafts movement saw an interesting pivot away from the Industrial movement of the early 1800s. During this time, people turned their backs on mass-produced items and flocked to traditionally crafted furnishings and accessories

20th Century

1880-1940

Modernism

Modernism set the tone for interior design in the 20th century. This style focused on cutting out the 'noise' of design, and instead focusing on simplicity and clarity of form

20th Century

1890-1920

Art Nouveau

Characterised by feminine, sweeping, but often unusual shapes - art nouveau was established in France and influenced architecture & art before finding its way into interior design. Its main feature is the rejection of clear lines in favour of smooth, flowery contours

20th Century

1920-1934

Bauhaus

Bauhaus greatly influenced the art world, and was named after German architect Walter Bauhaus who also created the Bauhaus art school under his name. Main features of Bauhaus design include the principle of 'form following function', the use of geometric shapes, industrial materials and simplicity

20th Century

1920-1970

Country

Country incorporated practicality with vintage-inspired furnishings, taking inspiration from traditional farmhouses

20th Century

1920-1960

Art Deco

The Art Deco movement was a cocktail of different interior design styles, including Modernism, Bauhaus, Futurism, Cubism and Art Nouveau. Features included bold colour, zig-zags, simplistic angular shapes and more glamourous additions like metallic surfaces and ornate embellishments

20th Century

1925-1930

Surrealism

Heavily inspired by artists like Max Ernst, André Breton & Salvador Dali, this movements intentions were to push people in the opposite direction of 'normal' (in terms of art, interior design & music). In interior design, this was characterised by gaudy and 'surreal' designs

20th Century

1930S

Mid-century Modern

Mid-century modern design was a combination of different design styles. It rejvected the perceived stuffiness of interior design that was prevalent in previous decades. It was fresh, simple, retro and comfort-centred

20th Century

1930S

Scandinavian Modern

As popular today as it was in the 30s, Scandinavian design followed a philosophy of simplicity and was largely inspired by nature and the surrounding climate. Ultimately, Scandi design aims to improve daily life through following the Bauhaus mentality of function over form

20th Century

1950S

Transitional

Transitional design mixed modern and traditional decorations and furnishings. Wider access to televisions accelerated this trend, as people became inspired by the homes they saw on the sets of their favourite television shows. The result of this was people blending several design styles to strike a cohesive balance

20th Century

1970S

Postmodernism

Postmodernism was a rejection of the popular early 20th-century Modernism movement. Features of this trend included abstract art and prints, powerful colours and playful shapes that contrasted with the simple, clear cut nature of Modernism

20th Century

1980S - Now

Contemporary

Contemporary style focuses on timeless, 'of the moment' design. Often using neutral colour palettes for a warm, calming space, contemporary design draws on texture and simplicity to achieve a look that is still present in homes today

Modern Day

In the modern-day, trends come and go at the blink of an eye. People often draw from previous movements, and it's common to see vintage trends periodically come back into fashion. However, we have seen some trends rise to popularity and form a basis for homeowners interior design choices

Sustainable

With more awareness around our impact on the planet, sustainable design seems to be here to stay. This trend has a focus on eco-friendly lifestyles, waste reduction and re-purposing old furniture and materials

Nature

Following on from sustainability, there is a huge need to re-connect with nature in the 21st century. Botanicals, wood and nature-led colours are all the rage

Cottagecore

A relatively new trend that pulls from the Country movement of the early 20th century, Cottagecore focuses on nostalgic comfort in the form of statement gold accessories, florals and wooden furniture

Vintage

Vintage interior design draws inspiration from the past to create a familiar but stylish atmosphere

2000-1700 BCE | Neolithic Europe

6000 to 2000 BCE

Stone Age

2000-1700 BCE | Neolithic Europe

2000-1700 BCE

Neolithic Europe

2700 BCE | Ancient Egypt

2700 BCE

Ancient Egypt

6000 to 2000 BCE | Greek Empire

1200 to 31 BCE

Greek Empire

753 BCE to 480 AD | Roman Empire

753 BCE to 480 AD

Roman Empire

900 - 1500 AD | Dark Ages

900 - 1500 AD

Dark Ages

1400 - 1600 AD | The Renaissance Period

1400 - 1600 AD

The Renaissance Period

1140-1400 AD | Gothic

1140-1400 AD

Gothic

1590-1725 | Baroque

1590-1725

Baroque

1700 | Rococo

1700

Rococo

1760 -1820 | Industrial Revolution

1760-1820

Industrial Revolution

1780-1880 | Neoclassical Style

1780-1880

Neoclassical Style

1872-1889 | Aesthetic Movement

1872-1889

Aesthetic Movement

1860-1910 | Arts & Crafts

1860-1910

Arts & Crafts

1880-1940 | Modernism

1880-1940

Modernism

1890-1920 | Art Nouveau

1890-1920

Art Nouveau

1920-1934 | Bauhaus

1920-1934

Bauhaus

1920-1970 | Country

1920-1970

Country

1920-1960 | Art Deco

1920-1960

Art Deco

1925-1930 | Surrealism

1925-1930

Surrealism

1930S | Mid-century Modern

1930S

Mid-century Modern

1930S | Scandinavian Modern

1930S

Scandinavian Modern

1950S | Transitional

1950S

Transitional

1970S | Postmodernism

1970S

Postmodernism

1980S-Now | Contemporary

1980S-Now

Contemporary

Modern Day

Modern Day

Sustainable

Sustainable

Nature

Nature

Cottagecore

Cottagecore

Vintage

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