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The Interior Design Timeline – Stone Age to 1700 AD – Part I

The Interior Design Timeline

Stone Age 6000 – 2000BC

The first evidence of interior design was found in prehistoric human dwellings. Although they focused on practicalities they still took the time to decorate their dwellings with drawings, usually of plants, animals or humans. Tribes of this era made huts from mud, animal skins and sticks.

Egyptian 2700 – 30BC

While the civilians of Egypt still lived in mud huts the royal families lived in the magnificent buildings they are well known for. These buildings were decorated with murals which depicted their history and beliefs. They had basic furniture as well as vases and sculptures to use in their homes.

Neolithic Europe 2000 – 1700BC

Handmade pottery for practical and decorative use, some of which items were decorated with paint.

Greek 1200 – 31BC

The improvements in civilization allowed for regular people to decorate their homes in their own style, the wealthier of which had furniture containing silver and ivory. The Greeks also brought in rules for construction of buildings which iconically contained impressive pillars.

Roman 753BC – 480AD

This was the first real age where no royals could show their wealth through their homes alone. They decorated with morals and mosaics as well as bespoke furniture. Typical Roman furniture had clawed feet and soft furnishings.

Byzantine 500 – 1500AD

During the Byzantine era grand domes and extravagant decorations became the norm.

Dark Ages 900 – 1100AD

During the dark ages there was a demise of interior design which meant home interiors went down to basic wood panelling, minimal furniture and stone slab floors.

Gothic 1140 – 1400AD

Following the dark ages decorative ornaments and colours were brought into homes again. The Gothic era is noted for its figurative decor and vertical focus as well as bringing the trend of open floor plans and an emphasis on windows to increase light.

Renaissance 1400 – 1600AD

During the renaissance the beauty was the impact factor to design interiors. Grand paintings and furniture, often with a lot of colour and expensive fabrics such as velvet, were used alongside marble floors to create these beautiful spaces.

From 1508 – 1512AD Michelangelo worked on his famous paintings in the Sistine chapel.

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During this time period carpets were a luxury, even too expensive for the rich to use on the floor. They were used to cover walls. Floors were instead covered with reeds topped in sweet smelling herbs.

Baroque 1590 – 1725AD

Flamboyance, grandeur and artistic excess were the focus of this era. The use of stained glass, columns with twists, marble with colour, mirrors, chandeliers and painted ceilings were all used and sought-after.

The first note of architects also working as interior designers was in ancient India around 1600AD.

Rococo Style 1700AD

A very elegant style utilising flower based design work and the use of different materials such as tortoise shell and pearls on furniture. They also included Asian porcelain in their home decor.

Traditional 1700AD – Now

The traditional Europe and American design was very prevalent from 1700 to 1800AD, although it is still popular now amongst certain classes. It was embodied by a very formal feel.

During the 1700’s interior design was brought to the middle classes, not just because of the industrial revolution but also due to the increase in education and trade. While the lower classes still lived in functional dwellings the middle classes took advantage of the lower cost of rugs and wallpapers, as well as showing off pianos, upholstered furniture and books to prove their wealth and culture.

Next: Interior Design Part II

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