When you look at interior design today, there is so much choice and so many styles to take in. From historical buildings through to the modern styles we see in shops today, interior design has changed so drastically that we can tell each decade apart. So, what really is interior design? And where did it all begin?
The Beginnings of Interior Design
Whilst the term ‘interior design’ was not used all the way back in the Stone Ages, we can already see elements of it existing. Humans had clearly developed the desire to decorate homes from the very beginning, as we can see from wall-paintings and animal skin throws. When we look to civilisations such as the Egyptians and the Romans, style, architecture, and design were all important parts of building spaces and decorating them. Whilst the meaning and importance of interior design have developed and changed through time, interior design has always existed as far back as we can tell.
The Early Eras
Whilst the early forms of interior decoration could be seen for its practicality and as an artistic expression, during the Roman and Egyptian eras, we can see it used as an expression of wealth. With mosaics and frescoes, wealth, status, and pride could all be expressed through lavishly decorated interiors and exteriors. When you continue to the Medieval times, however, the lavish décor is contrasted by the minimal and more sombre feeling of the Dark Ages. With dark wood and stone slab floors, interior design was not a part of most people’s lives, replaced once more with the need for practicality.
When looking back through the different eras of art, design, and style, you will come across vastly decorative and differing styles such as Gothic, Baroque, Rococo, and Neo-Classical.
Full of decoration and ornamentation, people sought out talented craftsmen and artists to create the lavish interiors that can still be seen today in grand palaces and cathedrals. These awe-inspiring examples of architecture showcase amazing craftsmanship and design talents, yet whilst beautiful to admire, they are not the most practical examples of interior design. Once again, these interiors demonstrated wealth and luxury and whilst the talent and skill behind them is impressive, the impracticality of these interiors for everyday living were replaced with later movements.
There are many elements of design inspiration that continue to influence interior design today. Travel and culture widely inspired interior design. As people were inspired by the things they saw across the world, it influenced how they decorated their own homes. This can still be seen today as we display our souvenirs from across the globe, and design interiors inspired by them. We can also see how the introduction of technology and appliances have affected the design of a room, as the rooms are designed around these items such as a television or a cooker.
Practicality vs Originality
As we continue on through the different eras, it is easy to see the battling opinions of influential figures and artists, and the conflicting ideas and ideals we all have. People’s tastes differ widely, and we must constantly battle between what is deemed ‘popular’ with our own ideas and interests. There is so much material now to look back on and be inspired by, much of which still influences designers today.
What remains now at the forefront of interior design is the balance between practicality and originality. Whilst some of us favour clear shapes, minimalism, simplicity, and clean-cut design, others favour the lavish, the patterned, and the bold. The key here is to balance our tastes, as widely different as they may be, with the dedication to making the space itself a working, functional, and practical space. Interior design is not just about the style of décor we choose and the artistic movements that influence us, but how we can best use the shape to suit its purpose.
So no matter what wallpaper you choose and flooring you opt for, express your style how you choose, but also think about how the room functions as a space and serves its purpose.
E.G.A would love to hear your thoughts 💜