Interior Design and Interior Decoration from Antiquity

Interior design may seem like a modern profession but the practice of designing or decorating interiors has been around since man was created. Archaeological finds are a treasure trove of evidence to indicate man’s desire to document events of daily life from cave walls to palace walls.

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This decoration was a form of communication, language, historical record, but we appreciate its artistry as well.

Furnishings in ancient times were born of necessity and later became ways to exhibit lavish wealth and status. Ancient texts depict beautiful interior decoration in the form of sculptures, paintings, tile mosaics, complex architectural structures and vibrantly colored vegetable dyed items. Craftsman in stone, metallurgy, precious stones, tile, rugs, and wood, were highly sought after. Fabrics exemplified advances in harvesting natural fibers, improved weaving capabilities and dyeing processes. Oil lamps provided light even after the sun went down. Pottery and household items were beautiful examples of regional designs and perfect functionality.

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Interior Design Inspirations for the Modern Era:

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says it perfectly, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” While we could all cite plenty of modern improvements on older items, colors and patterns from antiquity are still the inspiration for much of what is available today. For ancient designers of buildings, jewelry, fabrics, furnishings, and household items, their most powerful inspiration was nature. Nothing has changed. The ancient “Greek Key” or “Greek Fretwork” designs are still seen today.

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The ancient “Klismos” chair is still produced today in its original form, or used as inspiration for more modern interpretations.

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Interior design and furnishings came to The United States of America through the original settlers from England and were also certainly influenced by the Spanish voyagers as well. Our churches and missions are Spanish Colonial style as well as the furniture inside them. New England, with its Georgian and Palladian style structures, is characteristic of English architecture. The furnishings of fine furniture craftsmen like Thomas Chippendale and George Hepplewhite are highly prized to this day and are copied almost exactly in modern furnishings. Architects like Inigo Jones and Robert Adam, performed much of the architecture, furniture design, interior design and decoration. Finally, in the early 1900’s interior design was recognized as a separate and distinct profession that is widely practiced today.

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