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Interior influences throughout history

image source: pinterest

The best thing about design is the resurgence of influence from previous periods. GA design helps you take a look back in time and see the key influences from around the world, from the decades that still inspire us today.

Early 1900’s

There was a lot going on in the early part of the century. From the fine decorative pieces of Art Nouveau, to Federation influences including a range of architectural styles like the elegant and simple style of Queen Ann and Romanesque revivals. Simple archways and window treatments offered charm, while the Arts and Crafts movement of this era celebrated simple forms and traditional craft techniques using folk style decoration. Art Deco celebrated more elaborate design with geometric textures, rounded mirrors and more glamour being introduced.

The 1920’s brought the ‘Roaring Twenties’. With the ending of WWI, it was a time where things such as jazz music, art deco and modern technology blossomed, making them more affordable. Such elements gave a ‘modern’ influence to the design style of this era.

1920’s kitchen colour trends were soft, muted tones, with white being the most popular colour due to the minimal, utilitarian interiors brought by the idea of a ‘disease free environment’.

Living rooms were somewhat the opposite of the kitchen. They still had the practical, functional components but the colour schemes and furnishings were often very colourful and inviting. Painted walls and ceilings were adorned with yellows, pale greens or ivory hues and soft furnishings introduced colour and pattern.

Floors were often oak hardwood that had been stained to a ‘natural’ colour finish with big rugs throughout for warmth and comfort. Colourful, patterned tiles often adorned entrances and utility rooms. While India was still under the rule of the Raj, the influential people had started developing a good taste for fashion and lifestyle. Colour, which is the most distinct characteristic of Indian culture, began to be seen in people’s homes in various forms such as stained glass, carpets and curtains. The Art Deco style gained popularity and could be seen in buildings as well as in homes.

1940’s to 1950’s

With the first half of the 1940’s dominated by WWII, redesigning of homes didn’t start until the end of the war in 1945 due to economic crises and material and product shortages. Once production had set sail again, the designs within homes were very family oriented, with spaces created to cater for social events and entertaining family and friends. Mid 40’s onwards saw functional interiors as people were enjoying life again and the interiors focused on open-plan spaces.

From a colour point of view, the mid 1940’s saw bold, deep primary colours evolve throughout the home. Red being the most popular hue and often combined with green as a secondary colour.

Bright, geometric patterned linoleum floors were popular in kitchens. Adoption of electric refrigerators and cookers came into play and kitchens became practical in design.

Living areas were often a clutter-free open space. Simple, floral patterns were introduced in soft furnishings and as the previous hardwood floors became outdated, wall-to-wall carpeting became a popular option.

India was at the threshold of Independence and with that it witnessed a slight transition in home design. Indian interiors saw a lot of patterns at play – printed wallpaper, wall paneling, wooden flooring and floral motifis.

1960’s, 70’s and 80’s

This transitional period had many historical influences. The race to get to space ignited futuristic designs, we also had lots of patterned wallpapers; usually big, bright flowers or geometric shapes in the colour scheme of orange, yellow, brown, avocado green and white.

Kitchens were of a similar colour palette with brown, yellow and green taking to the walls, cabinets and floors. Living areas were just as colourful as the kitchen, often described as ‘futuristic’ with fancy lights, exclusive furniture and opal glass coffee tables took centre stage. Rooms were filled with shag pile rugs, colourful sofas and plenty of house plants. Indian interiors took on a ‘wild’ look with imported lights, designer furniture, loud colours and unapologetic grandiose seen in the form of satins, velvets, animal prints and faux fur.

1990’s and 2000

This is the tech decade. From the launch of dial up internet, to cable television and the release of the first Harry Potter book! Things like inflatable chairs and carpeted bathrooms became trends and the younger generation became obsessed with computer gaming systems and everything automatic

Minimalism took hold in homes throughout the 1990’s, with colours like ivory, beige and white covering the walls throughout the house. That being said, children’s bedrooms of this decade were usually far from minimal, with schemes often influenced by the child’s favourite colours, resulting in a kaleidoscope of contrasting colours used on walls, bedding and curtains.

Kitchens cabinets were usually made of oak or pine wood and worktops in granite, giving the whole kitchen and dining area a very country-style, ‘cosy’ look. Primary colours were still present throughout some of the rooms to brighten up the usual beige/ivory palette.

Living areas were brought to life with floral sofas and cushions, complete with matching draped curtains and tie backs. Wicker furniture for the conservatory and outdoor areas were a charming feature, while textured wall papers continued to be a popular choice throughout the house.

Indian interior design saw a sudden shift to minimalism, albeit with class. The loud colours of the 80s were toned down to basic neutrals like brown-beige and grey-white. Colour was used sparingly in cushions or curtains and the overall style was very crisp.

Present Day

Design today is an amalgamation of all these influences. Those trends continue to inspire us even today and make us look to the past for interesting ideas. The décor is wildly divergent with uplifting shades and feel-good tones. Moving away from minimalism, this trend will be focused on glossy metallics, satins and velvets and we will find ourselves in a sanctuary of colour and texture that is an ideal fusion of past and present.



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