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interior decoration,adornment of the interior of a building, public or domestic, comprising interior architecture, finishing, and furnishings. Asian and classical cultures used the decorative arts to create elaborate interiors, and they originated forms extensively copied in later times. In Europe during the early medieval period few notable interiors were created except in Islamic Spain and in the Byzantine Empire. Simple movable and hanging objects were the chief furnishings of castles. In the late Middle Ages artistic resources were dedicated to the embellishment of churches and public buildings.
With more settled conditions, Renaissance Italy, influenced by Greek and Roman styles, developed interiors of grandeur and magnificence; popes and nobles employed leading artists to decorate their palaces and villas. Italian forms spread to other countries. Spanish interiors displayed rich color, ornate furniture, decorated leather, and fine textiles. France was an early leader in setting styles, which changed with the sovereigns. Especially influential were the Louis period stylesLouis period styles,
1610–1793, succession of modes of interior decoration and architecture that established France as a leading influence in the decorative arts. Louis XIV
..... Click the link for more information. , régence stylerégence style
, transitional style in architecture and decoration originated in France during the regency (1715–23) of Philippe, duc d'Orléans. The most important practitioners of the régence were Gilles Marie Oppenord and Robert de Cotte.
..... Click the link for more information. , Directoire styleDirectoire style
, in French interior decoration and costume, the manner prevailing about the time of the Directory (1795–99), from which the name is derived. A style transitional between Louis XVI and Empire, it is characterized by a departure from the sumptuousness of
..... Click the link for more information. , and Empire styleEmpire style,
manner of French interior decoration and costume which evolved from the Directoire style. Designated Empire because of its identification with the reign of Napoleon I, it was largely inspired by his architects Percier and Fontaine.
..... Click the link for more information. . England developed notably the Elizabethan styleElizabethan style
, in architecture and the decorative arts, a transitional style of the English Renaissance, which took its name from Queen Elizabeth's reign (1558–1603). During this period many large manor houses were erected by the court nobility.
..... Click the link for more information. , the Jacobean styleJacobean style
, an early phase of English Renaissance architecture and decoration. It formed a transition between the Elizabethan and the pure Renaissance style later introduced by Inigo Jones.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the Georgian style; some 18th-century styles are known by the names of furniture designers such as ChippendaleChippendale, Thomas
, 1718–79, celebrated English cabinetmaker. His designs were so widely followed that a whole general category of 18th-century English furniture is commonly grouped under his name.
..... Click the link for more information. , SheratonSheraton, Thomas,
1751–1806, English designer of furniture and author. He may have been apprenticed to a cabinetmaker, and as an earnest Baptist he wrote religious books and preached. Records show that he was in London from c.
..... Click the link for more information. , and HepplewhiteHepplewhite, George
, d. 1786, English cabinetmaker and furniture designer. His style is characterized by light, curvilinear forms, painted or inlaid decoration, and distinctive details such as slender tapering legs (plain, fluted, or reeded) and the spade foot.
..... Click the link for more information. . Robert AdamAdam, Robert
, 1728–92, and James Adam,
1730–94, Scottish architects, brothers. They designed important public and private buildings in England and Scotland and numerous interiors, pieces of furniture, and decorative objects.
..... Click the link for more information. correlated interior and exterior architecture, furniture, and accessories.
In America settlers used simple homemade furniture of native woods, homespun fabrics, and pewter. The style, known as Early Colonial, has been revived for re-creating early American interiors. The formal Late Colonial period used modified Georgian mansions and polished mahogany furniture of English type. Pennsylvania German decoration based on European provincial styles is also much reproduced.
The 19th cent. was marked by a departure from old standards of craftsmanship; machine-made furnishings supplied the requirements of the growing middle classes. In the second half of the century William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites instituted an arts and craftsarts and crafts,
term for that general field of applied design in which hand fabrication is dominant. The term was coined in England in the late 19th cent. as a label for the then-current movement directed toward the revivifying of the decorative arts.
..... Click the link for more information. movement that spread abroad and stimulated a reaction against ornate Victorian decoration. It resulted in a revival of earlier period styles, the simultaneous development of native provincial styles, and an attempt to create a new modern style.
Contemporary styles are international in character. Designers and manufacturers are cooperating to produce low-cost furnishings scaled for small rooms, combining ease of upkeep and functionalism. Units permitting maximum use of wall space are designed on a modular system to allow flexible combinations. Synthetic materials are employed, and materials such as metals and glass are put to new uses. Lighting is emphasized, and arrangement is based on a correlation of scale, balance, comfort, pattern, and color. See furniturefurniture,
properly such movables as chairs, tables, and beds; it is extended to include draperies, rugs, mirrors, lamps, and other furnishings. In its gradual evolution from periods of earliest civilization, the history of furniture parallels the progress of culture.
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was used in Europe in the 16th and 17th cent. as an inexpensive substitute for costly hangings. The French developed marbled papers, introduced from the East via Italy and used at first for box coverings, into larger sheets for wall coverings and also made other papers
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all fabrics made by weaving, felting, knitting, braiding, or netting, from the various textile fibers (see fiber). Types of Textiles
Textiles are classified according to their component fibers into silk, wool, linen, cotton, such synthetic fibers as
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See I. Grant, Great Interiors (1967); W. Pahlmann, The Pahlmann Book of Interior Design (3d ed. 1968); A. Friedmann, Interior Design (1970); R. Harling, Modern Furniture and Decoration (1971); V. K. Ball, Architecture and Interior Design: Europe and America from the Colonial Era to Today (2 vol., 1980); M. Praz, An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration (1982); A. Tate and C. Ray Smith, Interior Design in the Twentieth Century (1986).