More than practically any other outward expression, home interior design styles can be seen as a reflection of the world in which they were created. A careful look will reveal a lot about people’s economic status, aspirations, major scientific developments and population movements. This, along with the incredible level of craftsmanship and artistry shown in early home interior design years ago, explains our fascination with traditional house interior design styles.

Researching a particular interior design style can be a stimulating process in itself. It can include visits to museums, libraries, historic homes, and even trips abroad. A book, play or film can spark interest in a particular era, and engagement with a local historical society can provide valuable background information on the interior design style that eventually settled.

The words ‘authentic’ and ‘pure’ are often banded around quite indiscriminately when describing historical styles. But just as perfectly matched colors can result in a rather boring composition, going crazy with a particular period or style risks creating a home interior design style that is completely predictable and lacks personality. If so, feel free to get creative and occasionally insert the element of surprise or out of date range. Colors are as free to interpret as in the past when individual decorators mixed paints.

Historically, rooms were allowed to evolve over the years rather than placing all their contents at one specific time and storing them to honor the year of birth. A modern home might have Art Deco wall lights, Macintosh-style dressing tables, and chairs inspired by popular designs from the 1950s. As long as the items have design affinity, there’s no reason not to group them together.

Very few styles are completely new. Most of them are borrowed from earlier eras. Fashions in furniture are often generated by ideas brought in from abroad and motifs stolen from previous incarnations. Take Gothic, for example. It first appeared in the Middle Ages, but revived again in the mid-18th century. In the Victorian era, it became a people’s favorite once again. It’s a phenomenon comparable on a smaller time scale to apparel fashions, where hemlines and shoulder pads compete for our attention every decade after another.

By Gilbert

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