Specialist Essay Research


  • Stone age (6000-2000BC): decorated spaces with drawings but focused on practicalities. Mud, animal skins, twigs.
  • Egyptian (2700-30BC): civilians lived in huts, while royal lived in magnificent buildings, decorated with murals depicting their history/beliefs.
  • Neolithic Europe (2000-1700BC): handmade pottery, decorated with paint.
  • Greek (1200 – 31BC): construction rules began. Civilians could decorate, wealthy had furniture with silver and ivory.
  • Roman (753BC – 480AD): murals and mosaics, bespoke furniture, clawed feet and soft furnishings.
  • Byzantine (500-1500): domes and extravagant decoration.
  • Dark ages (900-1100): demise in interior design, basic wood panelling, minimal, stone slabs.
  • Gothic (1140-1400): decorative ornaments, figurative decor, vertical focus, open floor plans, emphasis on windows.
  • Renaissance (1400-1600): BEAUTY, grand paintings/furniture, colour and expensive fabric (velvet), marble floors.
  • Baroque (1590-1725): flamboyance, artistic excess, stained glass, twisted columns, mirrors, chandeliers, coloured marble, carpet was too expensive so was hung on walls.
  • Rococo style (1700): elegant, flower base, tortoise shell, pearls.
  • Traditional (1700): formal.
  • Industrial revolution (1760-1820): luxury items were more affordable, design was accessible to wider audience, printed media.
  • Neoclassical (1780-1880): inspiration from ancient Greece and Rome, heavy use of metal, bronce, velvet, satin, silk.
  • Tropical (1800): exoticism, inspiration from Europe and West Indies (British Empire).
  • 1800: mass production enabled people to focus on the function of their home around style/design. Velvet wallpapers, furniture matching wallpapers, wallpaper was affordable.
  • Aesthetic movement (1800): decoration to have purpose before beauty.
  • Victorian (1837-1901): collected ornaments, wall colour depending on room function and was always beside or opposite on the colour wheel.
  • Tuscan (1840s): calm nature influences, simplicity, elegance, luxury.
  • Arts and crafts (1860-1910):traditional crafts to produce furniture and decoration.
  • Rustic (1870s): large open rooms, hand crafted furniture, wooden beams and columns.
  • Art Nouveau (1890-1910): blend interiors with exterior natural elements, inspired by plants.
  • Asian (1900): minimalist, natural materials, futons, mats and screens, function.
  • Eclectic (1900): lavish interiors.
  • Colonial revival (1905): inspired from neoclassical and Georgian, most popular style in USA.
  • Modern (1918-1950): under-furnished, bold primary colours, plastic, steel, laminate, bare walls.
  • Country (1920-1970): inspired by farm houses,  vintage furnishings.
  • Mediterranean (1920s): plastered walls, terracotta stone, wrought iron, patterned tiles, aqua colours.
  • Art deco (1920-1960): modernity and elegance, glamour, clean lines, bold colour, angular patterns.
  • Mid-century modern (1930s): bring outdoors in, open planned rooms, simple.
  • Transitional (1950s): classic with modern, blend old and new, decoration focused on simplicity, traditional elements, ornate elements.
  • Contemporary (1980s): neutral colours, basic materials, wood, stainless steal, minimal amount of ornaments, clean and uncluttered, bright colours to contrast with neutral.

Around the world:-

  • 16th century France: colour and pattern are not confined to fabrics, they repeat on the walls and ceilings.
  • Mexican: kitchen in all the same tile breaks tradition of ‘having a riot of colours’.
  • Eastern (the Middle East, central Asian countries and India): fine architecture, colourful decoration, inspired by beautiful flowers and spices, blend of religions, rich room colours, luxurious home furnishing, handmade items, traditional decorating patterns, wealth and comfort, reflecting richness of culture, wisdom, ancient items, decoartive details, bright colours, natural fabrics, ornaments, wood carvings, silver, golden, velvet, chiffon, natural textures, arches, vivid details, wall riches, wall mirrors, lamps and headboards.
  • Oriental: saturated magenta, red ochre, green and blue, azure, turquoise, rich red, orange, brightness, warmth, peaceful, festive but colourful palette, cosy, comfortable, teak wood, ivory, wrought iron, ceramics, mother of pearl, silver, brass, copper, gold-plated metal, enamel, stamping, basketry, carving, handmade wicker, cushions, low stools, poufs, small details, romantic, wall paintings, religious signs, decorative screens, natural stone, painted clay figurines, flower petals, fruits in vases, copper jugs, candles in glass jars, semi-transparent curtains, colourful carpets, mysterious, fascinating.


  • Dream scene/skyscape: sleek, modern, cloud blue, vintage, graceful, soft blue, trinkets.
  • 1940’s revisited: geometric patterns, mono prints, floral drawings, stoneware, velvet, industrial.
  • Optical illusions: black and white geometric shapes, accents of homes (cushions, vases, dinnerware).
  • Contrasting textures: plaster-effect wallpaper, soft textures, rustic furniture, hygge-style fabrics, soft colours, neutral materials, patterned and plain cushions, linen and wool, pale wood furniture, grey and white accessories, Artisan chunky ceramics, raw materials – wood and faux fur, brass.
  • Taupe, grey and white with accent bright colours for impact.
  • Inky florals: indigo, purple, pink, dark florals work in all rooms, nature related patterns.
  • Mismatched cabinets, chairs.
  • Statement bathroom mirrors.

Kelly Wearstler:-

  • ‘I experience my interiors as sculpture. I play with texture, scale and dimension to create a sense or drama. I want to tell a story.’
  • ‘Tribeca Loft’ (New York): signature mix of raw and refined details, extravagant metals, Italian modern 80’s furniture, walnut floor, abstract asymmetrical marble floors.
  • ‘Seal Beach’ (California): natural and organic palette of sandstones, shell pinks, rusts, moonstone greys, imaginative, modernist, marine metaphors, vintage Italian mohair, driftwood, locally carved ceramic fireplace, layers of warmth, honey-coloured wood, vintage glamour.
  • ‘Doheny Residence’ (Beverly Hills): indoor-outdoor lifestyle, collection of vintage furniture, textiles, and finishes, rich, well-travelled look, dry brush finishes, eggplant, vermilion and papaya, brass, vintage and contemporary blend.
  • ‘Viviane’ (Beverly Hills): vintage furniture, deep turquoise, blues, gold, ivory and neutral.

Phillipe Stark:-

  • ‘Cidade Matarazzo’ (hotel): polished honeywoods, luxurious marble accents, rustic stoneware, red, mustard, oranges, gold, large floor features, encasing rooms, marble entire bathroom, rose gold, dark brown leather.

Kelly Hoppen:-

  • ‘The Ski Chalet’: antler inspired chandelier, blends of grey and ash tone woods, soft curtains = open, soft furnishings, cosy feel, floor wood taken onto the walls (even ceilings), blends of textures, faux fur, light leather, glass, wood, bark, velvet, accents of metal, comfort.
  • ‘London home’: open spaces, blends of flooring textures, wood and marble, frames, horizontal and vertical lines, shapes mirrored with lights on the ceiling, feature elements, floor lights, rustic elements, orange, mustard, inclusion perspex.
  • ‘International apartment’: gold, blue, velvet, fur, plants, neutrals, glass, textured walls, screens, geometric, mirrors with wood, symmetrical, dark.
  • ‘Home in Beirut’: symmetrically identical, angular, neutral with black, glass, wood, tile, modern, strictly contemporary, repeated colour.
  • ‘The loft London’: geometric, modern, neutrals, black with soft pink, velvet, wood, faux fur, glass, light.

Marcel Wanders:-

  • Dutch designer.
  • ‘Create an environment of love, live with passion and make our most exciting dreams come true’.
  • Mixes innovative materials and techniques with references to well known historical styles and archetypes.
  • Enveloping of people in multi-layered sensory experiences.
  • Became famous from ‘knotted chair’.
  • ‘Andaz Amsterdam’: combined the relaxed nature of the people and the city, inspired by the logic that the hotel shares the same heart beat as the city, connects people to the place. Built in what was the city’s library – this heritage forms the design direction of the hotel. The imagery of the historic books inspired the wallpaper. Offers an authentic local experience, wisdom from the books has been transferred to the walls ‘reflected in the mirror, this wall becomes and endless universe of knowledge’.
  • ‘Oh!’: statement bathroom mirrors, inspired by local flora and fauna, botanicals, nature to be ‘reacurring, yet unexpected’ . curtains of hanging plants, overgrowing structures, green oasis, secret gardens, fire, air and earth define the project. Fire: mismatched patterns, contrasting surfaces, spark passion. Air: soft, light colours and surfaces, natural light. Earth: warm colours, natural materials, wood, mosaics and stone. Designed to minimise solar impact, energy efficient, foster a sense of community.
  • ‘Quasar’ (Istanbul): dynamic fusion of east and west, cosmopolitan metropolis.
  • ‘My House of Dreams’: contrast of light and shadow, white, gold, black, poliform furniture.