This will be fun. I love history and seeing the evolution of homes, both inside and out. This page will take you through thousands of years of history to see how things looked and changed as time marched on. I get great satisfaction in looking at the different design idea and trying to imagine the conversations that went on behind them. Most of the focus of these is on the living room, but kitchens and other room also went through massive changes.
Interior design arguably began as far back as the Stone Age when humans lived in basic dwellings throughout the world. It wasn’t until far more recently, however, that interior design became an occupation and something that one might pay to have help with. Read below to learn more about the interior design trends throughout the world and see how it has shaped the trends of today.
Stone Age to Ancient Egypt
The very beginnings of interior design consisted of handmade dwellings and the artwork created inside them to tell stories during the Stone Age. During the Neolithic period in Europe, handmade pottery started to be used to decorate homes. In Ancient Egypt, homes included murals as well as vases and sculptures for the first time.
Ancient Roman and Greek Empires
Those living in the ancient Greek and Roman empires may have had furnishings that included ivory or silver as well as decorative construction features like pillars. They may also have had murals and mosaics through the home, and the Roman Empire saw more ornate furnishings with clawed feet.
The Dark Ages
During the Dark Ages, furnishings were minimal, and walls were often paneled wood. At the same time period, however, the Byzantine Empire focused on lavish décor and large domes. These trends began between 500 and 900 and ended around the 1500s.
Between the 1100s and early 1700s, trends included the Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque styles. The Renaissance period featured vibrant hues, velvet and marble surfaces, and carpeting used as wall art. Gothic styles featured bolder colors, more windows, and more decorations throughout the home. During the Baroque period, designs featured painted ceilings, large chandeliers, and stained glass or colored marble.
The 1700s to 1800s
Styles common during the 1700s and 1800s included Traditional, which is still used today, Rococo, Neoclassical, Tropical, and Tuscan. During this period, there was a movement toward having art in the home just to have it as well as more timeless and classical designs. Interior design was easier for more people to get started with, and luxury items became more affordable and easier to access.
Late 1800s to Early 1900s
The late 1980s to the early 1900s saw the creation of various interior design styles that are still frequently used today. The Arts & Crafts style became popular during the late 1800s, as did the more Rustic style that is becoming more popular now. Other styles that started during this period and are still featured in homes today include Colonial Revival, Eclectic, Country, and Art Deco. It was during this period that interior designers started helping others create the perfect design for their home.
The 1920s led to the rise in house parties, and homes were designed to show off. Interior design focused on the aesthetics of the home, and many homeowners borrowed from other cultures or locations to add style and interest. Fine arts and crafts were often featured and showed off during the house parties. Linoleum was in vogue at the time.
The 1930s saw a movement toward more simple living, as it followed the stock market crash in 1929 that led to the Great Depression. During this time, leather armchairs became popular, and many homeowners started looking for a more modern look for their homes. With the increase in electricity use during this period, modern appliances became a showcase in the home.
Homes during the 1940s featured more open spaces, larger windows, and sliding glass doors. At this time, home kits became popular, so new materials like linoleum became used more frequently. Homes of this period tended to include more floral patterns, embroidery, as well as more frilly décor throughout the home. Colors were often brighter, and more bold pairings were used throughout the house.
The 1950s was the start of the American style of homes, including the first informal living spaces with televisions, plastic furniture, and bold patterns for flooring. During this time, materials like Formica were used throughout the home, and kitchens started featuring more appliances. During this period, more unique and bold colors started being used throughout homes.
The 1960s saw a lot of more progressive changes in home design, with posters and more dramatic wallpapers being chosen. Floral motifs, as well as wild colors, various materials, shag rugs, and more, were all common during this decade. The space-age also had a huge influence, as many homeowners sought homes that looked futuristic.
This decade saw more eclectic designs in homes, including mixtures of designs from the 60s with more futuristic seating, geometric patterns, and more transparent materials. Conversation pits, the name for low-lying areas of flooring in the 70s, became popular, and using live plants inside the home became something most people did.
The 80s saw the introduction of vertical blinds made from plastic, glass surfaces, and tons of black and white patterns or other abstract patterns. Colors tended to be more muted in many homes, while others had a more English-country look with frills and faux antiques. Technology started becoming even more important in homes during this period, as TVs allow for a bigger connection between people.
Many 1990s homes featured a more eclectic style with mixed patterns, colors, and furnishings. The 90s also saw the start of the shabby chic movement, as well as bolder patterns and layered patterns. Instead of using wallpaper, homeowners tended to use painting styles like stencils to create a new look. This decade saw the start of the home office, as computers started being more prevalent in homes, especially during the late 1990s.
Today’s home designs are far more eclectic, with many homeowners choosing to create their own style or picking out a style from the past to stick with. Popular styles include the shabby chic style, country, rustic, and traditional. New takes on older styles are also popular right now, with many people upgrading their homes look to match their own preferences.
An entertaining article on Interior Design History can be found here.