Home Décor as we know it today is a long and evolutionary process that came into being after intense sociological changes that occurred throughout history.
It is common knowledge that home décor has surely evolved from the early ages when cave dwellers started painting on walls. These paintings would be made from colourful dyes that were extracted from plants. Soon it is believed the aesthetic of decoration with elements of personal sentiment or just artistic richness were coveted. But it took a long time for home décor to come into existence in its full form.
In the ancient ages, décor was indeed a luxury around the home that only the ruling class had access to. Throughout civilisations it has been seen that the rich and ruling strata of a society could afford investing in home décor. Be it lavish artefacts with stones and materials sourced from all over or intricate works of art that adorned the floors and walls of the rich, décor was limited to a certain section of the society.
The Roman Empire in particular is remarkable when it comes to luxury home décor. From mosaics, to rich tapestries to pioneering a central heating system for their homes, it is truly commendable as to how home décor and planning was an integral part of their lifestyle.
As the Middle Ages came flooding in, home décor became more about culmination of everything that was happening all around. With the Renaissance taking centre stage, and new discoveries and artistic expression finding its way, home décor got a new face to it. Art was nurtured by religious institutions along with the ruling classes which meant that hanging art around the house started to become a proper element of home décor.
In India, with the Mughal empire ruling with full swing, a lot of cultural exchange took place. New designs and means of decorations along with architectural novelty started to seep into the styling sensibilities of people. Due to India’s variegated social and political history, the various cultural elements that found its way into peoples’ home is truly fascinating. Owing to the British Raj, a lot of Anglo-Saxon elements of décor made their way into our households.
It’s important to look at home décor from an international purview, owing to the fact how things that trend abroad leave their mark in our country as well. The Industrial Revolution was a turning point in Home Décor. That is when items of home décor were finally a public commodity owing to mass level production of exceptional craftsmanship and simultaneously, the items being affordable enough for the common people. In the turn of the 19th century, feminist author Mary Haweis wrote “One of my strongest convictions, and one of the first canons of good taste, is that our houses, like the fish's shell and the bird's nest, ought to represent our individual taste and habits.” This paved the way for something as revolutionary as the profession of an interior designer. Home décor slowly became a hobby and eventually spiralled into a full blown profession that it is today, for many people.
In the 1920s home décor was all about the excesses that were perpetuated by the “American dream”, the grandeur of the Art Deco era and not to forget the emergence of Hollywood movies. This met with the Bauhaus movement in Europe which was all about having a modernist take on one’s home.
As the 30s came knocking, came also the Great Depression which severely cut down on the excesses of the previous era and made home décor more about functionality and efficiency than about putting up a fantastic display. This mental frenzy stayed till late 40s until after the World War came to an end and people finally could be at peace. The concentration of family orientated design was more, paying attention to the kids’ rooms and a room for the family to be together in. Bright florals paired with pastels were all the talk back then. Wallpapers found their way into walls and carpets also became a regular in households. With this came new inventions that made their way into the households and started to become a part of how the décor of a household is planned out.
Cut to the 60s and we’ll be able to chart the ascension of home décor into a different frenzy altogether. Owing to the influences of the Hippie Culture that started blooming all over, a lot of bright, happy colours coupled with a wide range of prints started to make their way into homes. Artists like Andy Warhol revolutionised the print and art culture that dominated households. The weird additions to styling and home décor continued all the way through the 90s. In the 90s VCRs, DVDs and television in the living room became standards all throughout. The world became an oyster with rapid globalisations and the internet making everything easily accessible.
As we approached the 2000s our sensibilities regarding home décor started to stabilise and focused more on functionality that is packed with elegance. The excesses of the earlier decades are gone and we have increasingly looked towards smart furniture and accessories within the house that goes with the smart technology that we have learned to embraced.
With increased space crunch and refined sensibilities in today’s world, slim trimmings of the excessive home décor trend of the earlier decade was necessary to complement our new necessities and sensibilities. It’s all about comfortable and contemporary elements in the house that redefine our sense of utilising our spaces.
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