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History of interior decoration

The recorded history of interior decoration starts with the Renaissance Era. It was during this time of great change and rebirth in the world of art and architecture that interior design became recognized as a specific art form. The concept of intentionally using one’s interior furnishings as decoration, integrating fabrics in a unified and harmonious manner, gained popularity throughout Europe. The values and ideas of “civilized life indoors” began to follow a set of established principles. Thus began the art of interior design and the development of the window covering industry.
Wooden shutters were the primary style of window covering used during the Renaissance period. Mounted on either the interior or exterior of the house, shutters could be closed over the window opening to protect from rain and block out strong sunlight, but did little to provide warmth. Shutters served a purely functional purpose.
The introduction of sheer fabrics allowed for simple, utilitarian curtain making during the sixteenth century. The curtains, most often made of a fine gauze or muslin, provided sun control and some degree of privacy. Hung from iron rods with hooks, usually in single panels, curtains did not become commonplace until after the 1650’s.
Although the decoration of windows during the Renaissance period was typically simple and understated, bed enclosures and partitions between rooms had curtains that were more elaborate. This allowed for privacy and prevented drafts and noises from traveling throughout the house. Curtains of this type were called “portiere”, derived from the French word “porte” meaning door. The portiere would be hung “ensuite” within the room). A panel of fabric, perhaps in silk, linen or wool, would be tied to one side during the day and pulled over the door at night for privacy.
During this era, the bed was a person’s most cherished possession. Bedrooms of the nobility needed to reflect the importance of their owners. Four-poster beds with canopies were large wooden structures with elaborate hand carved motifs. Bed hangings were mounted under the canopies to close off the bed. In northern climates, this was to provide warmth and prevent drafts, whereas in the warmer Mediterranean countries, the primary-function was to protect from mosquitoes and insects. In fact, the word canopy is believed to be derived from the Greek word “konops”, meaning gnat.
Fabrics at this time were mostly plain weaves of silk, wool and cotton. As new weaving methods were developed, velvets and brocades in rich and vibrant colors became widely used throughout France and Italy. Cotton fabrics now had hand blocked prints and painted designs in large floral patterns.
Toward the end of the Renaissance, valances began to be incorporated into window treatments. Swags and pelmets, inspired by classical Greek motifs became the finishing touches to a more elaborate look that flourished during the Baroque era.

The recorded history of interior decoration starts with the Renaissance Era. It was during this time of great change and rebirth in the world of art and architecture that interior design became recognized as a specific art form. The concept of intentionally using one’s interior furnishings as decoration, integrating fabrics in a unified and harmonious manner, gained popularity throughout Europe. The values and ideas of “civilized life indoors” began to follow a set of established principles. Thus began the art of interior design and the development of the window covering industry.
Wooden shutters were the primary style of window covering used during the Renaissance period. Mounted on either the interior or exterior of the house, shutters could be closed over the window opening to protect from rain and block out strong sunlight, but did little to provide warmth. Shutters served a purely functional purpose.
The introduction of sheer fabrics allowed for simple, utilitarian curtain making during the sixteenth century. The curtains, most often made of a fine gauze or muslin, provided sun control and some degree of privacy. Hung from iron rods with hooks, usually in single panels, curtains did not become commonplace until after the 1650’s.
Although the decoration of windows during the Renaissance period was typically simple and understated, bed enclosures and partitions between rooms had curtains that were more elaborate. This allowed for privacy and prevented drafts and noises from traveling throughout the house. Curtains of this type were called “portiere”, derived from the French word “porte” meaning door. The portiere would be hung “ensuite” within the room). A panel of fabric, perhaps in silk, linen or wool, would be tied to one side during the day and pulled over the door at night for privacy.
During this era, the bed was a person’s most cherished possession. Bedrooms of the nobility needed to reflect the importance of their owners. Four-poster beds with canopies were large wooden structures with elaborate hand carved motifs. Bed hangings were mounted under the canopies to close off the bed. In northern climates, this was to provide warmth and prevent drafts, whereas in the warmer Mediterranean countries, the primary-function was to protect from mosquitoes and insects. In fact, the word canopy is believed to be derived from the Greek word “konops”, meaning gnat.
Fabrics at this time were mostly plain weaves of silk, wool and cotton. As new weaving methods were developed, velvets and brocades in rich and vibrant colors became widely used throughout France and Italy. Cotton fabrics now had hand blocked prints and painted designs in large floral patterns.
Toward the end of the Renaissance, valances began to be incorporated into window treatments. Swags and pelmets, inspired by classical Greek motifs became the finishing touches to a more elaborate look that flourished during the Baroque era.