Romanticism & Interior Design: How It Began and How To Incorporate It Into Your Current Décor
Originally coined in late 1800s Germany, the term “romanticism” first applied to poetry and encompassed such greats as William Wordsworth. The movement did not rely on strict definitions and focused on going against established society, including religion. Romanticism wasn’t just a literary movement, though. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, romantic interior design and visual art also had a strong presence in romanticism and still does today.
The Four Principles of Romanticism
Whether literary, visually artistic, or part of a home design, romanticism relies on four key principles: emotions, imagination, individual freedom, and nature. When you hear the word “romance,” you probably think of love, so it makes sense that emotions are a part of the movement. Romantics of both yesterday and today believe that humans should rely more on their emotions and intuition rather than on logic and reason.
Imagination and individual freedom are also important aspects of the movement. Romanticism rebukes cold, hard facts. Instead, it focuses on imagination in the form of spiritualism, the supernatural, and even mythology. Whimsy is key when creating a romantic interior design, perhaps because it flows right into the individual freedom. Whimsy is all about being yourself, even if society expects you to act otherwise. There is a certain freedom in being 100% true to you, and romantics value the individual thought process.
Perhaps the most important principle of romanticism is nature. From imagined forest spirits to breathtaking flora, nature has always been considered playful, passionate, and emotional. Creating an interior design based around your favorite parts of nature is thought to help your physical self and spiritual selves intertwine seamlessly.
Romanticism as a Component of Home Design
Many homes were built during the romantic era and were heavily influenced by the gorgeous castles of medieval Europe. Gothic revival, exotic designs, and Asian styles were all popular components of romanticism in architecture. Homes in the gothic revival style didn’t have towers most of the time, but they resembled gothic cathedrals from the 12th century in many other ways. Common designs included pointed windows, peaked roofs, and asymmetrical floor plans.
The term “exotic” was quite encompassing during the era of romanticism and basically meant any home that looked out of the ordinary. Sometimes, this meant Greek columns or Swiss chalets. Most of the time, it meant Asian-inspired designs, especially near the end of the 18th century.
Interior Decor of the Romantic Era
Louis XV’s love for Polish fashion and canopied beds ushered in the beginning of romanticism in interior design. Home furnishing styles were usually Chinoiserie, a European imitation of East Asian art and decor that often included flowers, plants, birds, and dragon designs. Although the style could be found throughout various rooms in a home, they were most popular in women’s dressing rooms and bedrooms.
By the late 18th century, romanticism combined with Neo-classicism to bring straight lines made of mahogany and brass to many interior rooms. Finally, the 1820s saw the Gothic Revival reach indoors as well. The furniture was individually crafted, so each piece was 100% unique and often very heavy.
Romanticism in Today’s Interior Design
Perhaps the reason the era of romance has continued to be a stronghold in the interior design world is because of its distinct ability to combine with a number of other styles. Traditionally, romanticism is seen alongside Victorian, English, and French designs, but it also pairs well with Tuscan, rustic, and country cottage themes.
The key is to incorporate the right elements. Start with a neutral color palette of soft earth tones or light pastels to soften the room. Popular options include white or cream, shades of light purple, and dusty pink. If you prefer something bolder, true red also works well in romantic rooms.
Aim for classic pieces of furniture. Plush, upholstered armchairs, sofas, and beds add comfort to the room. Create interest by including vintage dressers, desks, or tables. Romanticism is about softness, so seek out pieces with curved edges and group it around the room. For example, place a vintage bench at the end of your bed. Across the room, add a soft armchair and a side table to a reading nook.
A romantic interior design usually leans toward the feminine side with fabrics like lace and chiffon or those that have ruffles or floral designs. However, you can add more masculine decor to the room in small doses to keep it balanced in shared bedrooms or main living spaces. Satin, velvet, and wool are also popular choices.
Remember the little details as well. Extra-long curtains create a willowy, breezy mood, while silver mirrors and lamps add shine. Chandeliers and lamps should have low-wattage bulbs or dimmer switches. Large antique rugs add interest while providing comfort in any room, and finally, you can add life to the space with fresh flowers or even a bowl of your favorite fruit.
Whether you love history and have taken an interest in literary and design trends through the ages, or you simply want to add a soft touch to your bedroom or living room, it’s easy to see why the comfort of romanticism has remained a mainstay in the interior design industry. Professionals at Nazmiyal can help you find the right pieces for every room in your home the next time you redecorate.
While this blog discusses romantic interior decor as it relates to the art and ideas of the romanticism movement, this post may be inspiring you to think about romantic love. If that is the case, you’ll want to check out some of our pop art “Love” rugs by artist Robert Indiana!
Here are some beautiful rugs for your Romantic interior design:
Here are some tapestries to enhance the romantic appeal of your home decor:
This interior design blog about Romantic interior design was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs.