A Look Back at Interior Design Through the Years


Designing, decorating and arranging the space around us is one of the basic human instincts that has been in practice for decades. It is more commonly known now as Interior Designing, but even ages before the term was coined the art of enhancing your home, creating a polished aesthetic and pleasing environment was at play.   

It is quite exhilarating revisiting various styles of home decorations that took place over 300 years ago. One can truly draw strong inspirations from the designers and concepts of past ages to curate a more refined and luxurious touch to modern décor, a speciality of Mezzo Design.   

There is a certain talent that exudes from all the past interior aesthetics, each emphasizing a different principle and key focus of interior designing. By reflecting on each era’s happenings, we can notice how closely related interior designing is with the socio-political climate of that period. A prime example of that and the rich history interior design has to offer, are the Ancient Egyptian homes that were decorated with basic furnishings complemented by textiles, spiritual murals, sculptures, and animal skin.   

Following the Egyptian civilization, we can notice the art of interior design progress and advance at the hands of the Roman and Greek nations. Despite the similarities between the Romans and Greeks, their interior designs varied slightly. The Greek design leaned more towards accessorizing with ivory and silver while the Romans focused more on enhancing the interior’s beauty and adding a touch of comfort, nevertheless, they both aimed to showcase the level of wealth and status.   

Moving forward from the early, primitive styles, let's embark on a journey to discover how our current modern interior design elements have been enhanced and changed over the decades. Here is a gallery showcasing the eras of interior designing starting from the Renaissance age up to our current Contemporary style.   


Renaissance (1400 – 1600)  

The home décor in this era was influenced by the art and culture that was re-ignited with the French Renaissance, in addition, some aspects of the design draw inspiration from the Arabesque and Asian decorative arts. Homes during this era embodied luxury by using vibrant hues, silk and velvet textiles, as well as marble surfaces.   


Rococo (1700)  

This style of designing swayed more towards the homely vibe rather than the grand church aesthetic. The Rococo art of interior design was influenced by the new idea of social gathering in houses which became common in the early 18th century. Hence why the approach to the aesthetic was to make it feel humble and more welcoming while still demonstrating wealth and high status.   


Neoclassical (1780 1880)  

Neoclassical designs brought back the Roman and Greek styles of decorating a home. With this style, home furnishings and accessories adopted mild and undramatic colours bringing tasteful, refined and timeless design concepts to life. The most commonly used colour palette was bronze and gold metals paired with textiles like silk, velvet and satin.   


Arts and Crafts (1860 – 1910)  

During this era, the Arts and Crafts movement started to empower the skilled workers, making it more of an approach and concept of design rather than a style. The main idea of this movement was to create an interior that exudes simplicity without compromising on the quality of the materials. The main furnishing during this period included elements from nature such as wood, brass, and dark, earthy palettes.   


Art Nouveau (1890 – 1920)  

As a new century began a new style of art emerged hence the name Art Nouveau. The exciting element in this style of design was the introduction of Japanese art. This era witnessed a merge between handcrafted elements and industrial techniques which allowed it to produce signature curved and organic shapes.   


Art Deco (1920 – 1960)  

While Arts and Crafts opposed the machine age, Art Deco was a style that celebrated the advances and progression of the 20th century. Inspired by motion, geometry, and symbols of ancient culture, Art Deco created a harmonious balance of power and confidence. It focused on showing everyday glamour and elegance through clean lines, stylish patterns, metallic surfaces and bold colours.   


Modernism (1880 – 1940)  

This style varies entirely from the previous ones in the concept and idea it was expressing. While the past demonstrated styles represented luxury and elegance, Modernism focused on functionality and affordability – beauty was appreciated but wasn’t the main focus. The pioneer of Modernism, Swiss architect and designer Le Corbusier reflected on the style saying “A house is a machine for living in”.   


Bauhaus (1919 – 1934)  

This interior design style was influenced by the German school of art and architecture. Bauhaus followed Modernism’s concept of functionality by staying true to the structure of the furniture without needing to make it pretty. The furnishings in this era were grand but minimal and mostly drew inspiration from architecture, sculptures, and graphic design of the 20th century.   


Mid-Century Modern (1930 – today)  

This is a lighter approach to the Modernism style. It utilized elements of nature and was mostly inspired by Scandinavian and Brazilian furnishings. One of the key aspects of this design style is creating a signature look using muted neutral colours with saturated shades, in addition to using materials like bamboo, wicker, and rattan.   


Postmodern (1978 – today)  

This era set the end of Modernism with an approach that focused on the sense of humour and boldness. The Postmodern style started as a reaction to the need to change from the basic and generic styles that once prevailed. The main concept used in this style was incorporating playful shapes, abstract art, and bold colours.   


Contemporary (1980 – today)  

Drawing inspiration from past styles and adopting the key elements that solidified previous design styles, the Contemporary approach aimed to offer a clean aesthetic, calm energy, and a nod to history. The furnishings used in this style are a mix of repurposed industrial elements as well as cutting-edge modern materials and textiles.   


Such an inspiring journey that led to what we have today. With all the new trends in fashion and style that also influences the art of home décor, as individuals, we acquire our own taste of what is chic, unique and perfect for our space. The Mezzo Design team can help you make your vision come to life.  

We would love to know which aesthetic caught your eye and how YOU would design your home!