Interior Design History: Decorating Styles Through the Ages

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For as long as humanity has been a species, we’ve decorated.

From the ancient cave-paintings of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, to the fluted columns of early Western civilization, to modernist architecture into the 20th century, and now to 21st Century eclecticism, we’ve taken pride in our homes and in our communities by celebrating the wonders of aesthetics and practical design.

Are there any common threads in the history of interior design and exterior design? What have the Ancient Egyptians got in common with the Art Deco cities of the 1920s jazz age? And what design elements are we utilizing today in the bright and shining 21st Century that echo our illustrious interior design and architectural past?

Well, I hope that this brief history of design will shed some light on where we’ve come from, and where we’re going.

Take a look!



So, what are the takeaways of this? Well, for one we see that the idea of optimum building placement, and maximizing natural light in the eras where there were no switches on the walls, was a priority. And even today, allowing more natural light into a space, and optimizing natural resources (and lowering energy bills!) is still important. Also, the way we envision design is also about how spaces look when exposed to natural light.

We see too that the idea of expanding a property by blurring indoor living spaces with outdoor living spaces is not a new idea, even if it is something of a trend today. The importance of the ‘yard’ has been important in the last few centuries. But, even the Ancient Greeks invested in roof gardens where the sun could be enjoyed, decorated with urn water features, and rooftop shrubs. It seems that people in the 21st have similar needs in the spaces in which they live, even if styles and aesthetics change.

Once again, we see that one of the best paths to good design is remembering where we’ve come from. Of course, the history of civilization, and how interior design evolved along with it, is more varied than this brief history can cover. What great traditions in other cultures not represented here have made an impact as to how we approach good design in the 21st Century?

Tell me your thoughts in the comments section of this post.




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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.