There’s really nothing passé about Old World interior design which actually offers the best of So. Many. Worlds. In some ways, it might be considered old fashioned, but in the best of all possible ways. In a world where convenience and functionality often win out over elegance and comfort, creating an Old World ambiance allows you to offer a unique level of hospitality that allows even new acquaintances to feel right at home.
The Emotions of the Design
As French politician Brillat-Savarin once wrote, “To receive guests is to take charge of their happiness during the entire time they are under your roof.” While he was apt to interpret this as a call to create delicious food, it could be argued that he’d also be in favor of Old World design. The blend of warm colors and a variety of patterns, textures, and finishes creates a stylistic effect akin to comfort food. The found objects, well-worn surfaces, and deep, rich color pallet offer the suggestion of home in a way that captures the senses in the same way that a crisp, autumn breeze or the fragrance of spiced cider or pumpkin pie captures your imagination and lets you dream again of a safe, perfect place.
The Origins of the Design
Old World design, as you might expect, has its origins in Europe. Flavors ranging from French Country and Italian Villa to Spanish and Mediterranean have impacted the design category. While some like each room to take on the characteristics of a particular tradition, others prefer an eclectic Old World design. You can bring in particular elements that hint at the origins in the way of tumbled marble, antiques, or reproductions.
The Themes of the Design
Old World Design, with an abundance of textiles in a wide range of textures and patterns, finds its unifying themes in colors. Again, think of autumn’s palette: pomegranate red, hunter green, deep gold. Those main hues can be used by degrees to enlarge the possibilities a bit; for instance, a primarily green room might include several shades of hunter green from dark to faded tones. You could also incorporate some other colors, such as burgundy, navy blue, or cream, as long as you’re sure to find faded versions of them that offer a time-worn appeal.
Once you’ve selected a particular color scheme for any given room you wish to outfit in Old World charm, feel free to play with a variety of textures and patterns without fear of clashing or overloading the senses. Combine brocades and damasks, floral patterns and stripes. Incorporate some silks and velvets, leathers and tapestries. The effect of plenty of pillows and upholstery will be comfort, and the variation will keep your color scheme from becoming overwhelming or appearing overdone.
We’ll continue exploring the mystique of Old World décor in a second post.
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