Thursday, October 13, 2005

Interior Design Styles: Traditional

For the next few days we will describe five design styles used in the interior design world: Traditional, Country, Modern, Exotic and Oriental.

From the September Home Accents Today Anniversary Issue, Kara Cox Describes Tradtional design in The Big Trend.Traditional design borrows on themes and styles from centuries past, updating the elements with fresh color, finishes and motifs. For the past 20 years, traditional home furnishings have changed little in some aspects and greatly in others. The design style has encompassed everything from Neo-classic to English manor house and antique French.

Two decades ago, traditional design centered on two major looks. Historic reproductions of 18th century English antiques, specifically Georgian and Louis XV styles, offered formal and elegant designs. Especially popular were ancient Greek and Roman elements such as marble, pottery and classic urn shapes featuring medallion and eagle motifs, obelisk-shaped lamps and classic architectual lines.

Worldly influences continued with European inspiration found in richly colored porcelain, fringed lamp shades, damask upholstery, colorful majolica and rich jewel tones with vendors showing renewed interest in historic licensing programs.

The 1990s brought about a resurgence in garden florals with hand-painted European country motifs found on everything from upholstery to chandeliers and pillows. Baroque styling offered an ornamental, opulent touch to wood carvings, iron accents, gilt finishes and sculptured elements. Classic motifs remained popular with mythical, archeological figures spotted on wall decor, table-top and lighting designs. Romantic sentiments carried a Victorian vibe into casual traditional looks of the early '90s with bows, ribbons, delicate patterns and floral designs.

Black took on traditional with a beaux arts feel in 1993, alive with drama and grandeur when contrasting formal marble, gold leaf and antiqued brass. Gold resurfaced in sophisticated tradition on gilded mirrors and accented tables.

The mid-1990s revisited classic English style with swag motifs, weathered finishes, topiary styles and brass and crystal combinations. Faceted gems appeared everywhere, offering a romantic touch to classic style. As grunge music gained popularity in America, Gothic detailing emerged in home furnishings with medieval images of harlwquin patterns, pointed arches, gargoyles, arrows and fleur de lis in black and gold with spots of red.

In the mid-'90s, relaxed European style battled over-the-top tradition on a grand scale. French Country and Tuscan influence lent a casual feel to traditional with painted finishes, terra cotta and vineyard motifs. Large scale, gold leaf, and heavily carved detailing added a formal touch to classic illusions. Old World Mediterranean style was strong on sun drenched finishes, leather looks and scrolled iron.

With the 21st century, formality returned in English manor looks with lion's head imagery, gilding, silk tassels, embellishments and a simple gold, red and black color scheme.

Recently, traditional design has turned toward updated classics offering clean, modern lines, less ornamentation and bright, colorful hues.

Friday, Kara Cox writes about Country.

Bev & Mike

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