17th Century European Interior Design

17th Century European Interior Design

The 17th century is one of the most influential eras in history. This so-called Early Modern century was signified by the emergence of modern science and philosophy. Well-known inventions and discoveries made in the 1600s were born from the hands of Galileo, Newton, Descartes, Pascal, Kepler, and Napier, among others. Besides being scientists, often these inventors also acted as philosophers.

17th century philosophy affected almost every aspect of human life. In Italy alone, the Renaissance era from previous century was left behind and replaced by the Baroque movement. This movement was then spreading largely to most European countries through religion, art, and literature. The Baroque movement also had a profound influence on architecture. Interior design from Italy was en masse adapted into households and buildings in many European countries. However, it is worth noting that although being part of Europe, the Kingdom of England independently did not adapt the Baroque style. This is largely because England estranged themselves from Italy and its Catholic power during the previous century.

The interior design of the Baroque period was adapted and developed from the Renaissance era, often with more luxurious, yet romantic patterns. Some would simply say that the main characteristic of the Baroque style is theatrical. The main colors often used in homes of the 17th century are gold and other tones between the yellow and brown spectrum. These colors were meant to symbolize the wealth of the home owner, and applied not only on the walls but also other parts of the house such as the floor, furniture, and accessories like draperies and lighting.

The floors of Baroque homes were usually made with at least two different materials. At the ground level, flagstones and bricks were often combined to create deep geometrical patterns. More wealthy home owners would use marble as an alternative for bricks and flagstones. Meanwhile, at subsequent levels of the home, woods such as fir, pine or oak were used for the flooring. Similar to stone flooring, different types of wood were combined to create geometrical patterns.

Most of all, the Baroque style emphasized the use of opulent furniture. Cabinets, buffets, bookcases, beds, and other furniture pieces were mostly made from heavy wood and carved with intricate ornaments. Often these furnishings were adorned with expensive materials such as mother-of-pearls, silver, and ivory. For added luxury, exotic woods such as ebony were often used as the main or secondary materials of the furniture.

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