Early Interior Design

Throughout history our interiors have reflected social order; Government, religion, and economic status.
Greek and Roman cultures believed in order to all aspects of daily life. Interiors reveal symmetry, proportion, and balance. Architectural details include columns, pediments, capitals, and friezes. Geometric patterns, marble, and urns decorate neutral interiors.
Gothic and Tudor style began in churches and village lifestyles of Europe. Dark stained wood, colorful stained glass, tracery, clustered columns, and pointed archways detailed the interiors. Soft textiles include velvet, brocade, damask, and wool.

Baroque and Rococo (Renaissance)

These 18th century French styles were overly elaborate. Baroque styling is heavy while Rococo is much lighter. The forms tend to be curvilinear, creating interesting silhouettes. Legs were carved and often feature ormolu detail. Rococo is known for the shell design and asymmetrical balance. Windows, doors, and mouldings were adorned with gilded plaster relief. Patterns typically embellish all surfaces; wallpaper, fabrics, ceiling tiles, and flooring. The palette was cool which emphasized the metal ornamentation. Mirrors and chandeliers add sparkle. Overall the freestanding furnishings and architecture define the styles rather accessories and artwork.
Venetian design varied slightly through the use of color. Warmer carnival tones and multicolored Murano glass ornament the interiors.

Neoclassical Design

There are many forms of neoclassical design, depending on the region. Drawing from the influence of Greek and Roman design, interiors were well proportioned and uncluttered. Light color walls added emphasis to the detailed furnishings. Many furnishings featured contrasting veneers; dark and light, minimal grain and burled, creating patterns in application. Motifs include shields, urns, ribbons, and swags.
Regional Names for the design style:
United States: Federal
United Kingdom: Georgian
French: early- Louis XVI / later- Empire
Europe: Greco-Roman and Empire


As a result of the industrial revolution, interiors were transformed. The mass production of ornate pieces allowed middleclass individuals to compete with the elaborate upper-class. Rich dark painted walls along with dark stained woods made many interiors appear heavy. Wood floors were hidden with machine made patterned rugs and ornamented by detailed borders. Overindulgence could be seen in the use of accessories leaving no surface bare. Floral patterns were also popular since they were easily produced.