Classic Interior Design Style Profile
If you’re searching for an interior design style that has stood the test of time, it’s hard to find a more worthy option than classic interior design. Also known as classicism, this style has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years. If you look back on interior design through the centuries, you’ll see that the elements of classicism have held true, despite changing architectural styles and trends.
As you learn more about classic interior design, you may be surprised to see its influence in more places than you think. Today, classicism frequently appears in architecture, art, and style. It’s not the look for everyone, but it hasn’t lost its appeal over the centuries—which is a considerable feat for any interior design style.
History of Classic Design
To find the origins of this interior design style, you’ll need to look back to the ancient world. Classicism is based on art and style from the Greek and Roman empires. The design trend took hold in France during the 1600s, a period when art and opulence were sought after and celebrated. The art and architecture of antiquity were viewed as the authority on beauty and design, giving rise to a very literal adaptation of Greek and Roman style.
It’s interesting to note that as classic interior design spread across Europe, it took on regional adaptations. France, England, and Russia all spun out slightly different interpretations of classicism.
France: The look was about the ‘dazzle.’ The aristocracy used this design look to celebrate luxury and opulence.
England: Adopted a more refined and restrained form of classic design. Symmetry and balance took control of the trend.
Russia: A more relaxed approach, Russian classicism frequently incorporated the other design styles without abandoning the dignity and refinement that this design style was known for.
Hallmarks of Classicism
Is there evidence of classicism in today’s most popular interior design trends? Absolutely! Some of the fundamental elements of classic design continue to be guiding principles of interior design today.
Here are some of the most common elements of classic style.
Columns: Not just for the Parthenon, columns have been seen in classic interior design across the globe. Whether they’re structural or aesthetic, we associate columns with a sense of dignity. They serve to separate spaces, establishing the transition from one room to another.
When launching a furniture collection heavily inspired by Greek architecture, Karl Lagerfield said: “I’m inspired by the perfect proportions of Greek columns. They truly are the standards for beauty, fixed, once and for all. The Greeks didn’t know about bad taste.”
Rectangles: Rooms designed in a classic style often feature repeating rectangular shapes. While other design styles may eschew straight lines in favor of curves, this design style is about order and restraint—making rectangles the form factor of choice for rugs, furnishings, wall art, and more.
Symmetry: There is a strong emphasis on balance in classicism, resulting in symmetry of design. Furnishings, such as sitting chairs, are frequently found in pairs to keep the look cohesive.
Sophistication: Materials, finishes, and accessories bring sophistication to the space. There is no sense of an ‘undone’ or ‘casual’ feel in classicism.
A Modern Take for Classic Interior Design
Classicism today is not strictly about luxury. Modern classic interior design is about balance, dignity, and sophistication. It is closely related to traditional design, but pays more homage to antiquity. The color palette is warm and soft, but rich. Art plays a prominent role. It can feel formal but the structure makes it feel surprisingly familiar.
You may not hear classic design discussed as often as buzzy design trends like maximalism or Scandinavian minimalism, but it doesn’t mean that this look is dead. Classic interior design continues to be a cornerstone of well-balanced, timeless design concepts. As Lagerfield says, “Nothing is more modern than antiquity.”
To make classic interior design work for you, consider how you want to use the space and make intentional choices that give the space a dignified feel without losing livability. Our Brevard design studio specializes in creating interiors that make the most of classic design principles without sacrificing personal taste. We can help you give your home a look that will stand the test of time.