Interior Decor Today vs. 100 Years Ago

Interior décor styles have changed a lot during the past 100 years, yet we can still see elements of many of them in modern décor. Here are a few examples that demonstrate how much interior design has changed in roughly 100 years, and how much it has stayed the same.

Arts & Crafts Movement

Popular at the turn of the 20th century, the Arts & Crafts movement was a backlash against the overdone style of the Victorian era. The style is driven by clear design guidelines and an entire canon of beliefs that rejects mass-produced furnishings and embraces natural beauty and fine craftsmanship. For this reason, the style is also known as Craftsman. Arts & Crafts décor is full of heart and harmony, a reflection of the ideals upon which it was founded. It embodies a purity of spirit and refreshing honesty.

World War I ended the Arts & Crafts movement and many manufacturers switched to war production. Fast production and mechanized methods became favored over the handcrafted look. By 1910, this style was no longer considered avant-garde. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, Arts & Crafts style saw a revival and its influence can still be seen in furniture pieces today.

For example, the Arts & Crafts influence can be seen in the Tower Place Conrad sofa by Lexington. The hand-crafted, artisanal quality reflects the influence of the Craftsman movement, even while the shapes are more modern. The collection features finely crafted materials and meticulous attention to detail. It is this attention to detail that really evokes the Arts & Crafts era. It creates an authentic, casual, yet sophisticated feel that harkens back to American classics.

Why, in this age of technology, has the Arts and Crafts style seen a resurgence? It’s quite likely that what initially made this style popular is what makes it appealing today. As the world becomes increasingly complex, we seem to be attracted to the simple functionality, individual craftsmanship, honest workmanship, and utilitarian forms of Arts and Crafts.

Art Deco

Art Deco décor became popular in the period between around 1908, and its popularity peaked by the early 30s. It embodies the best elements of the roaring 20s: the style emphasizes form over function and stresses opulence and glamour. The sensuous lines and high-gloss finishes in the pieces above paired with metal light fixtures are classic examples of this opulent style. As the Great Depression deepened, so did the popularity of this style. Its exuberant, sophisticated elegance provided escapism during a time when the nation desperately needed it.

Art Deco furniture has some defining elements that reinforced the mood of society as it shed its inhibitions. Its lines were sleek, smooth, and sensuous. Reflective surfaces such as polished chrome, lacquers, smooth glass, and inlaid wood patterns are all hallmarks of Art Deco style. The embodiment of optimism, the style is opulent and includes highly decorative touches.

The Art Deco influence can be seen in this dining room from the Bernhardt Miramont Collection. A transitional collection, it references Art Deco with its bold, serpentine shapes and artistic elements such as dramatic fluting and reeding. Laser cut overlays and unique moldings enhance each piece. In addition, the dark, sultry tones and silver leafing balance subtle glamour with refinement.

The strong arches, sensuous lines, and high-contrast color schemes of Art Deco style are being seen in key pieces of contemporary décor. While too much of one particular look may feel to thematic, Art Deco pieces can easily blend into transitional style, which makes it a popular option for ageless interior design.

Incorporate Elements of Classic American Décor into Your Current Design

As you can see, although décor styles have changed over the past 100 years, some of the elements have remained. Why toss out what is working? The best designs bridge different styles, so approach your interior décor from a creative angle. In the end, you’ll have a home that may be inspired by one of these décor styles, but that will reflect your own sensibilities.

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