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History of Interior Design

Full History of Interior Design With Timeline (From Egyptian to Victorian Era)

The term interior designing was coined around 100 years ago. Yet, the concept of interior designing history dates back to millennia. Historical evidence suggests that the remains of paintings, wall art, pottery, and ornaments in the remains of historic civilizations provide strong evidence of the existence of interior design. 

For example, people painted cave walls with charcoal and limonite. The remains of these wall paintings suggest that it was done to decorate their caves.

In this write-up, let’s talk about the interior design history in detail. 

The Link Between Archeology and Interior Designing

The archeological evidence proves that humankind, from the beginning, has been involved in interior decoration. Furthermore, preserves of the antiques in the Harappan site suggest the importance of interior design to people thousands of years ago. 

While exploring archeological sites, archeologists found the remains of doors and patterned door chains. Intentional use of these designer decoratives in prehistoric human civilizations lightens up interior design history concepts.

People developed an interest in interior design from wall art and painting in the early centuries. In addition, people are inclined to buy preserved antiques and crafts to decorate their homes as a symbol of respect and royalty. 

Link Between Archeology and Interior Designing

People started moving from forests to large grasslands, turning their focus toward agriculture. Moving to the plain was difficult as there were no caves. Early humans built shelters for their survival to fight harsh environmental conditions. Tree trunks and leaves were used as curtains and bedding.

History of Interior Designing Started From Ancient Civilization

An archeological exploration team discovered an old carpet woven in the 5th century BC in Mongolia. In the Persian empire, people used rugs to decorate the wall, as they were too expensive and became a status symbol.

Yet, using movable interior items like furniture was not done then. Initial needs led to the invention of things essential for comfortable living. Later on, these items got beautified for decoration and leisure. 

Even the tombs of the Egyptian pharaoh represented how those people were concerned about the looks of their surroundings. 

Also read: Importance of Interior Designing: Top 8 Reasons Why Interior Design is Important

Timeline of Interior Design History

Egyptian Era

The pyramids are a marvel of construction, architecture, and interior design. Built in the 25th century, they still stand strong and better than today’s buildings. 

Strong mud bricks made up the house walls. The floor was plastered with a thin white layer to protect it from extreme heat.

Matting and carpets were used as a shield against the harsh heat waves of the desert. Strong woven carpets were used as flooring as an upper surface to the plastered floor. 

The ceilings or roof was often made with handcrafted wood designs. Master bedrooms and halls were colored in more vibrant colours and textures. Paintings of pharos were installed on walls to symbolize respect towards them.

Egyptian Era

Egyptians painted their walls using yellow colour, as it represents the colour of the sun. Egyptians see the sun as their deity. 

Beautiful flower painting on the entrance of the homes is another significant feature of early Egyptian interior design. Also, wooden hand-carved furniture, rare metal utensils, and handcrafted pots prove the great interior design.

Mesopotamian Civilization

Mesopotamian people focused on geometrical design. People built houses with right-angled walls and curves. Natural calamities like storms and floods destroyed the wooden furniture. 

Instead, bronze was used to create pottery and other decorative items. All the interior was handcrafted with tools.

In Mesopotamia, people painted walls and ceilings with a dark complexion. Entrances were painted red and orange to avoid negative energy. Also, small handcrafted animal symbols were seen at the door. Often the poor houses did not have doors and ceilings.

Greek Empire

The Greek empire was wealthy. People were rich and focused on showcasing their royalty with their home interiors. During archeological surveys, gold-plated ceilings with rare metal decorative items like pots and sculptures have been found. 

Even the poor section of society could afford good interiors in their home. The Egyptian interior influenced a big part of the Greek empire’s interior.


Greek interiors are the basis for Roman interior designs. Ancient Roman homes and palaces are well preserved now. They know the interior and architecture. Strong walls, followed by stucco finishing, were predominant in Rome.

Walls and sculptures were painted in dark red and orange colours. The glass mosaic form of interiors was also an invention of the Roman empire and were great example of interior design history.

Basis for Roman interior designs

The interior designers in the Roman empire were very well aware of the qualities of marble. So extensive marble use was done in construction. As a result, the history of interior design is influenced by Roman architecture and interior.

Byzantine Empire

Byzantine is the most important historical site in the world, known as Istanbul. The city is famous for its amazing history, monuments, and interiors. Byzantine is the perfect combination of western and eastern designs, and must be well-known in the history of interior designing.

Gold was used in the ceilings of palaces and homes of the rich. Houses belonging to middle and lower-income people were decorated using Raw materials like ivory, wooden furniture, and handicrafts. Medieval Byzantine silk woven wall carpets and curtains are still in museums worldwide.

Traditional Style

The industrial revolution increased income and globalized trade. International trade bought new furniture and handicrafts from different parts of the world. Further used these things to decorate houses and offices.

The traditional style of interior designing is still in use in parts of western Europe and the United States. It focuses on providing people with a better lifestyle, comfort, and royal experience.

Victorian Era

Businesses were flourishing, new inventions were happening, and people were getting aware. As a result, the Victorian era was a translational phase in the history of interior design. During this period, the field of interior design was rising.

People purchased better furniture, pianos, and other items to decorate empty spaces. People decorated walls with big wall clocks and beautiful paintings. Wood was used in interior design.

Victorian Era, Interior design history

History of Interior Design in India

India is known for its rich heritage all over the world. Vibrant culture and diversity are key highlights in Indian interiors. Yet, interior design in ancient India was viewed as a part of wider term architecture. In Indian history, the god Vishwakarma is known as the god of architecture.

Lord Vishwakarma: The Divine Engineer of the World

It is believed that lord Vishwakarma invented and spread architecture and interior knowledge to the whole world. Description of his work is found in Indian historical texts like Ramayana.

Early Indian civilizations like the Indus valley civilization had a well-built interior system.

Remains at these sites show the presence of decorative home items and hand-carved doors. South-Indian temples are masterpieces of interior design. Developed Indian interior design made stone carving possible.

Hindu Temples Represent The Historic Interior Design in India

India is a very diverse land with various religions and interior knowledge. Therefore, early Indian temples are the best representation of Indian interior design. Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist temples have different structures and interiors. 

Temples were regarded as schooling places in India. So, the interiors of these temples were scientifically designed. Hence, they promote a calm mental and physical state.

Buddhist Caves

Ajanta caves are a good personification of Indian interiors. These Buddhist caves were designed for meditation. Thus, the interior of these caves is crafted. Also, Tibetan bells were installed on the roofs to create a relaxing sound.

Buddhist Caves, History of Interior Design

Thoughts on Interior Design History

The history of interior designing is influenced by the geographical location and needs of human beings. Thus, we saw that the interior was made using different materials in different time phases. Therefore, studying interior design in various eras has proven this subject’s existence since immemorial.

Also read: What Are The 7 Interior Design Principles?

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