Tag Archives: Industrial Age

Designers Show How Much Interior Design Has Changed Over The Past 600 Years (12 Pics)

If you ever visited your grandparents’ or your great grandparents’ homes, you probably noticed how differently their rooms are decorated when compared to your own place. But have you though how the same rooms might have looked four, five or even six hundred years ago?

The designers at HomeAdvisor, a digital marketplace for home services, have created a unique project that shows how much the interior design trends changed over the past 600 years. From the wooden panels in Renaissance apartments to the funky and abstract furniture in postmodern style homes, check out the interior design trends throughout the years in the gallery below!

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Renaissance (1400 – 1600)

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“Art and culture were reborn as the French Renaissance spread across Europe. Architects found a renewed enthusiasm for ornate decoration and fine detail, inspired by a new sense of humanism and freedom. Arabesque and Asian influences revitalized the decorative arts, and careful attention to symmetry and geometry brought a new sense of harmony to European interiors.

We designed the cabinet in our Renaissance living room image in the shape of a small palazzo (palace) which was common at the time. Its columns and balconies echo the shape of the building, evoking harmony. The Turkish rug is inspired by one seen in a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger, a German painter who lived in Renaissance-era London. Rugs like this were first woven in western Turkey in the 14th century and became very popular in Renaissance Europe.”

Baroque (1590 – 1725)

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“Turkish rugs fell out of fashion during the Baroque period, as more opulent and elaborate architecture required fixtures and fittings to match. The Catholic Church was the first to develop this new sense of affluence as an attempt to impress the uneducated masses with their wealth and power. Hence the frames of the Louis XIV-style suite seem to be dripping with gold.

Beneath the gilded finish, the frame of the furniture was often made from tropical wood. Other exotic materials such as ivory were popular, and surfaces such as floors and table-tops were usually marble. Our color scheme here is dramatic and sensual. The play of light around a baroque living room would have been exaggerated to create a sense of movement and enormity.”

Rococo (1700)

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“Towards the end of the Baroque period, a subset of the style briefly stole the limelight. Rococo style (from the French word rocaille, meaning shell ornamentation) was famous for just three decades during the reign of Louis XV. It is lighter, more whimsical, and freer than Baroque. For some, it better suited the intimacy of the family home than the grand church style that came before it.

The shell and floral motifs in our Rococo living room are typical of the style’s more playful influence on home décor. The cabriole legs and scroll feet of the furniture delicately balance high-spirits and elegance. Social gatherings in the home were becoming more common in the early 18th century. The Rococo style allowed homeowners to demonstrate their wealth and taste without appearing showy or stuffy.”

Neoclassical (1780 – 1880)

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“The late Georgian era ushered in a new age of architecture that responded to the Baroque and Rococo periods. The rediscovery of Pompeii contributed to new understandings of Roman and Greek architecture. This inspired a movement towards more ‘tasteful,’ refined, and timeless design principles, free from the pomp and novelty of the Baroque trend.

Notice the straight lines and logical, almost mathematical layout of our Neoclassical living room. These design principles were spread throughout Europe by artists studying at the French Academy in Rome. Note the column-like shape of the fireplace, lamps, and paneling. Colors were mild and undramatic. A plain palate emphasized the stoic, superior sense of form that the Neoclassical embodied.”

Arts and Crafts (1860 – 1910)

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“The Arts and Crafts movement began in England as a reaction against the mechanization of creativity and the economic injustices of the industrial age. It was not so much a style as an approach, putting the responsibility for design and craft back in the hands of skilled workers. However, Arts and Crafts interiors shared an aesthetic of simplicity, quality of material, and a connection to nature.

The ideas and look of the Arts and Crafts movement spread to American living rooms via the influence of touring architect-designers, journals, and society lectures. Gustav Stickley was America’s foremost Arts and Crafts designer. You can see his influence in the chunky, function-led woodwork of the furniture in the image, which makes a feature of exposed joinery. This emphasis on wood, brass, and the artisan’s touch gives Arts and Crafts interiors a dark, earthy, and textured palette.”

Art Nouveau (1890 – 1920)

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“Art Nouveau was a ‘new art’ for a new century. Interior designers paired handcraft with new industrial techniques, which often made for an expensive process. Furniture and fittings were extravagant and modern, exhibiting the influence of Japanese art, which European artists were seeing for the first time near the end of the 19th century.

The vases and lamps in our Art Nouveau living room are inspired by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the celebrated artist and first Design Director at Tiffany’s. His glass-blown forms were a tribute to the natural world, and their lush, iridescent and swirling colors are typical of Art Nouveau.”

Art Deco (1920s to 1960s)

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“If Bauhaus and Modernism were the utilization of 20th-century advances, Art Deco was a glamorous celebration. Interior designers were inspired by the geometry and motion of the machine age, materials, and symbols of ancient cultures, and rebirth in nature. And they weren’t afraid to use them all together.

Designers created a feeling of opulence by using a wide range of materials, including lacquered wood, stained glass, stainless steel, aluminum, jewels, and leather. Bold colors and striking contrasts conjured power and confidence.

Strong, straight lines echo through the fireplace and mirror trim to the skyscrapers in the woodcuts on the wall. Note also how these lines boldly counterpoint the shell-shaped sofa, flowing chairs, and spiky ornaments and houseplant.”

Modernism (1880 – 1940)

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“Like the Arts and Crafts movement, Modernism is less of a style than a philosophy. “A house is a machine for living in,” said Swiss architect and designer Le Corbusier, the pioneer of Modernism. The Modernist living room utilized the latest materials and technologies. It was designed to be comfortable, functional, and affordable. Beauty was a bonus, although elegant design solutions were highly valued.

These ‘limits’ proved inspiring to the first generation of professional ‘interior designers.’ The table you see above is inspired by a famous design by Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi. It consists only of a plate of glass, two identical wooden supports, and a pivot rod to hold them together. The original Anglepoise lamp was invented by an engineer who was inspired by his work on vehicle suspension – demonstrating the close connection between Modernist interiors and the 20th-century industry.”

Bauhaus (1919 – 1934)

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“The Bauhaus (rhymes with ‘cow-house’) was a hugely influential German school of art and architecture. It existed for just 14 years until the Nazi government closed it down in 1933. Bauhaus design was a radical subset of Modernism, with greater emphasis on the human spirit and the craftsperson. As with Modernism, form followed function. Bauhaus interiors were true to their materials, meaning that they didn’t hide the underlying structure of a furniture piece to make it pretty.

Our Bauhaus rug is inspired by the work of Anni Albers, a graduate and teacher of the Bauhaus school. Albers experimented with shape and color to produce textiles that were equally art and craft. The lamp is modeled after the MT8 or ‘Bauhaus Lamp.’ Its circular, cylindrical, and spherical parts create geometric unity and can be built with minimal time and materials. This type of opaque lampshade had only previously been seen in industrial settings.”

Mid-Century Modern (1930 – today)

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“The Mid-Century Modern movement emerged as a softer, suburban take on Modernism, integrating natural elements. Interior designers introduced rustic elements and freer use of color inspired by Scandinavian and Brazilian furniture trends. Materials such as rattan, bamboo, and wicker felt both natural and modern when brought into the living room in the form of chairs, mirrors, and trim.

Statement lighting remains a simple way to add pizzazz to a well-used family living room. The lampshade and standing lamp in our picture both borrow formal elements from Modernism and Bauhaus but have the playful look of repurposed outdoor tools. The bright mustard of the armchair and vases exemplify the common Mid-Century Modern technique of pairing muted neutrals with a saturated signature color.”

Postmodern (1978 – today)

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“Postmodern design can trace its artistic influences from epoch-defining surrealist, Marcel Duchamp, to Pop Art’s crown jester, Andy Warhol, to the ambiguous Bad Taste of Jeff Koons. It all came together in the 1980s when designers threw off the shackles of Modernism and approached interiors with a sense of humor and the brash confidence we associate with the decade.

In a Postmodern living room, every piece is a talking piece – because each one has a double-meaning or visual joke to unpack. The arches in our image question classical ideals of form, both flattening and unflattening a traditionally austere shape with an optical illusion conjured by their irreverent color palette. The rug’s meaning is simpler. It adds a rock n’ roll feel with its vinyl record shape – a Warhol-like ironic celebration of late 20th-century materialism.”

Contemporary (1980s – today)

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“A cluttered age calls for a pared-back living room. Today’s contemporary style borrows the clean lines of Modernism and the airy, outdoors feel of the Mid-Century Modern home. Interior designers in the late 2010s love to give a nod to Bauhaus by peeling away surfaces to show the materials at work. However, today’s cutting-edge building materials and textiles can sit happily alongside repurposed industrial features from past eras.

The smooth, bare floor and uncluttered walls of our contemporary living room create a typical sense of space and light. Abstract art on the walls prevents the area from feeling empty and draws out the subtle style of the otherwise minimalist surroundings. Observe, too, the use of line to draw your eye around, such as the horizontal central light, which is both extraordinary and very simple – and seems to widen and heighten the room.”

See the full video below!

Aušrys Uptas

One day this guy just kind of figured “I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?” – and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that’s trending around the web. Something that always peeks his interests is old technology, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness so if you find something that’s too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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Measure for Measure


Edward Steichen photographed Marion Morehouse (Mrs. E. E. Cummings) wearing a lamé dress by Lucien Lelong that epitomized the slender flapper column of the 1920s.

Edward Steichen

The anatomy of the human body and the laws of mathematics are ever entwined in the fragile harmonies of proportion. Our sense of proportion begins with the structure of the body, an idea that dates back to the writings of Vitruvius himself, the eminent architect of the Roman era in the 1st century BC. His conclusion has long survived the principles of logic and the measure of time, evidenced by Vitruvian Man, the drawing made by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century, a definitive symbol of proportion in which the extended arms and legs of the male figure find their furthest reach at the edges of the closed circumference of a circle and the mathematical perfection of the square. Symmetry. Geometry. Equilibrium. Of course, Vitruvian Man doubles as the Christ figure stretched upon a cross, a religious icon of everlasting art historical consequence. Christ—the anatomy of man in God’s image—and the cross—the structural geometric intersection—align in precise aesthetic and spiritual equipoise.

Proportion determines the logic of design for any object, whether a dress, a lamp, or an automobile. Good proportion results from a marriage of line, length, width, weight, balance, and shape. Add volume. And material. And a reductionist’s precision. When all of these elements come together in a form that seems inevitable, then the object’s proportion is the final measure of its beauty. The long, slender stalk of the calla lily, say, supports the graceful rounded line of the flower, its delicate petals unfolding in an ineffable flourish. Organic. Geometric. Poetic. Here is a beautifully proportioned gift of nature.


This lavish floor-length gown by Christian Dior is an ode to 1940s glamour in Erwin Blumenfeld’s reductionist composition, which might have drawn inspiration from Kandinsky.

Erwin Blumenfeld


Proportion can be gauged in the juxtaposition of one object to another—perhaps a couch is too large in the context of other pieces of furniture in a room; at the same time, without realizing it, we rely on proportion to evaluate everyday objects in a rational world: If a building is too tall for its footprint, how will it endure the laws of gravity? If the seat of a chair is too low to the ground, how comfortable do we expect it to be? If a coat is too large for the woman who wears it, how reliable is her judgment?

Two masters of proportion, reduction, and distillation in the 20th century were the towering architects Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Corbu, as he was known, advanced the Vitruvian idea of the human body as a foundation for architectural design in his universal system of proportion called the Modulor, which relied on the measurements of the human figure to improve the appearance and function of his buildings. Mies, on the other hand, relied on the mathematical elegance of the “golden ratio”—“the width is to the length as the length is to the sum of the width and length”—to create, among other buildings, the Farnsworth House, a masterpiece of proportion and logic.


Horst P. Horst accentuated the more casual geometry of Christian Dior in his photograph of Suzy Parker wearing a pleated skirt which fans out in a sexy riff on the hourglass figure of yore.

Horst P. Horst

The correct proportion of the human body has been susceptible to attitudes and customs over the course of history. In the Baroque era, for example, fleshy, voluptuous women were in fashion and the clothing of the period accommodated a broader profile. The contours of women’s fashions changed considerably, when, in the 19th century, the hourglass figure became all the rage. And that would give way to a much sleeker and more geometric silhouette in the early 20th century. Edward Steichen, the renowned Vogue photographer, posed Marion Morehouse (Mrs. E. E. Cummings), his favorite model, in a lamé dress by Lucien Lelong that epitomized the slender flapper column of the 1920s. Not only are the contours of her body so gracefully draped and breezily suggested, Steichen also captured the impeccable proportion of the dress in her stance, poise, and attitude. The pearls, shoes, chair, and cigarette compose a portrait of high style and consummate chic.

In 1940s couture, the New Look rearranged the silhouette, adding geometry to the figure in counterpoint to the natural curves of the body. The brilliant reductionism in Erwin Blumenfeld’s photograph of a model in a lavish floor-length Dior gown is an ode to proportion: The triangular skirt, the model’s angled elbow, the semicircular fan in echo of her hair evoke a composition of proportional balance that might have drawn inspiration from Kandinsky.


Francesco Scavullo photographed Nan Kempner, New York’s idea of the perfect hostess, showing off her evening armor in a simple black column topped with a metallic Yves Saint Laurent bolero coat.

Francesco Scavullo

Horst further accentuated the geometry of Dior in his photograph of Suzy Parker leaning against a studio backdrop, her pleated skirt fanning out in a sexy riff on the hourglass figure of yore.

Just as in fashion the sinewy hourglass figure was streamlined to the taut silhouette of the flapper column, in transportation the majesty of the horse gave way to the mechanized horseless buggy, and, eventually, to the grandeur of fine engineering. The Duesenberg Cord, for example, struck an impeccable proportion with its monumental profile and commanding stance that came to represent the highest ambitions of the industrial age.

Bill Cunningham, the late photographer and arbiter of style, once said that “fashion is the armor with which to survive the realities of everyday life.” Scavullo photographed Nan Kempner, New York’s idea of the perfect hostess, showing off her armor in a simple black column topped with a metallic Yves Saint Laurent bolero coat. Here is a portrait of exemplary proportion struck in the contrast of light and dark, organic and geometric, line, length, width, weight, balance, and shape—a calla lily by any other name.

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