A Brief History of Interior Design
Credit for the birth of interior design is most often given to the Ancient Egyptians, who decorated their humble mud huts with simple furniture enhanced by animal skins or textiles, as well as murals, sculptures, and painted vases. Beautiful gold ornaments found in Egyptian tombs (such as that of King Tutankhamen) revealed the importance of more lavish decoration for wealthier and powerful Egyptians. The Roman and Greek civilizations built upon the Egyptian art of interior decorating and accessorizing. Both cultures celebrated civic pride through their development of domed-roof public buildings. In the home, elaborate Greek wooden furniture had ivory and silver ornamentation. The Romans placed special emphasis on combining beauty and comfort, and home interiors reflected wealth and status. Roman furniture made of stone, wood, or bronze was accented by cushions and tapestries. Both the Romans and Greeks used vases, mosaic floors, and wall paintings or frescoes to beautify interior spaces. From this period of splendor and ornamentation, there was a sudden movement to austerity, brought on by the constant wars of Medieval Europe and the rise of the Christian church. The “Dark Ages” were a time of somber wood paneling, minimal furniture, and stone-slab floors. Even the wealthier individuals of the time, who added decorative touches like wall fabrics and stone carvings, stuck to muted colors and simple textiles. Coming out of the Dark Ages, Europeans once again introduced color and ornamentation to their homes. In the 12th century, the creative Gothic style was noted for its use of open interiors and windows to capture natural light. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the French Renaissance (“rebirth”) led to a renewed focus on art and beauty in interior design. Architects created spaces with elaborate decorative elements such as marble floors, inlaid woodwork, paintings, and furniture made of the finest woods. The best examples of...
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