what’s your style?
It is necessary that we all know the differences between the many styles of design eras, furniture and houses, but do we also think about descriptions of interior styles in a more thematic way? For instance: Glamorous, Well Traveled, Sexy, Industrial, Botanical, Curated, Into the Wild, Lodge Luxe are all decorating schemes we’ve seen in marketing for stores, products and magazines. These concepts are actually a popular way magazines that we refer to as “shelter magazines” sell us on trends. Without trends we would be left to stagnate in the mire of styling our homes like our mothers (sometimes great – sometimes not so much). Would we be stuck in the 1950’s, or perhaps pre revival movements of the 1800’s?
Trends move our gross national product by golly! They also are a part of precipitating the development of new technology. Just look at how the trend over the past ten years started with a revived interest in clean contemporary décor highlighted with all white rooms and furnishings.
It pushed at us with a general uneasiness of living in heavily accessorized rooms ensconced with swags and jabots in deep burgundy, forest green and navy. Earth tones took a hit but the coldness of white also gave way to gray tones. Grays are a natural base for the brighter, more vivid colors. So ten years later we are living with a love for orange, aqua, indigos and acid greens.
What’s next? That’s yet to be seen. As much as we look into the crystal ball of the future, we also see elements of the past creeping in and fortifying various interior design themes.
Some that have recently enjoyed popularity: mercury glass, bare lightbulb fixtures, primitive farm furniture, vintage art prints, Chinoiserie (never goes out of style), mirrored furniture. They may seem new as their latest versions emerge, but they arrive with an older prototype on which they are based. We can be thankful to them all. Why? Because as individual as we are, we each gravitate to a style of our own and are drawn to some elements more than others. It’s a basis of what we can enthusiastically throw our design energy into and use to show our own true colors and help brand our design style!
The Evolution of Interior Design
We are in an era that is currently enjoying the fruits of hundreds of years of contributions in all the various elements of interior design. It wasn’t even an individual practice until the early 1900’s, although it functioned as a necessity under the fields of architecture, construction and landscaping.Attribution: Mick Knapton at English Wikipedia
St. Mary’s Church, 1500 A.D,, Ecclesfield, England
Modern interior design had its roots in the 1500’s. Although the design and architectural basis of all we know today took form in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, Rome and Greece, it wasn’t until the rise of the European empires that we saw the development of craftsmen who would have the genius to create the furnishings – and an aristocracy that could afford to pay for them (not unlike today…). This was the time period when styles of fabrics and furnishings took flight and acquired definition. The various guilds expanded their artistry, inventing and re-inventing techniques that pushed the world forward to new heights of technology and luxury.
Because historical styles overlapped by many years, there is often a blending of interpretations with all the decorative elements. Governments, monarchs, religions all lent influence and variety even within the same time periods. Major style statements- whether it be the clothes we put on or the things with which we surround ourselves have always developed because there was an ego with resources to create for and a talent to produce it. It is also interesting to note that there has forever been a flow from adherence to the strict classical design countered by a succeeding era of nature oriented, romantic infatuation of curving lines or animal themes – all features of the Greek and Roman influences. Why look into history when today is all we have time to deal with? Because it’s fascinating! It answers questions we didn’t even know we had. We learn to be better at what we create when we have an understanding of how and when trends and designs came about!
Getting the elements of the past to be accurate yet relevant in an interior today can be a challenging endeavor. None of us would really want to live in the realities of the 15th to 17th centuries but our eyes do appreciate the effort, design and beauty of the fabrics and furnishings of those times. One of the most overlooked mistakes of incorporating antique furnishings or their reproductions well is in the understanding of the character of the era. The style of every era had an overriding spirit that dictated how the people lived, learned, were occupied and felt. We certainly don’t have to copy every element down to the last detail. However, mixing the same spirits from which similar designs came will keep an interior from looking disjointed or working against itself.
1300’s Murano Glass
Architecture reigns supreme in defining style and its transition throughout history. However, the trickle down effect gives us clues as to when an antique or style was in fashion. The stem of a piece of glassware, the decorative motifs on furniture, colors and materials used, the legs of a chair and more – can all be links to the influences of the great designers along with the politics and technology down through the ages.