What is the Italian trend?
Italy is recognised the world over as one of the most stylish countries in history. From architecture to fashion, the Italians have always exuded an innate sense of chicness, economy and adventure that has been carried over into the design of their homes. From the villas of Tuscany to the palazzos of Florence, Italian interior design features are now incorporated into homes across the world.
Importantly, an Italian influence works within spaces of all sizes. For example, a studio apartment in a classic, minimalist, La Dolce Vita-esque style can look just as elegant and refined as an ornate, palatial living room, despite having less room to work with. Italian interior design trends tend to differ from region to region – for instance, colour palettes closer to the Mediterranean Sea will be warmer to reflect the region’s climate, while city homes might be cooler and more modern.
What are the key features of the Italian trend?
Italian furniture tends to lean toward the multi-functional and streamlined – opulence can be incorporated in other areas, such as gilt edging and chandelier lighting. Sofas, for example, will be simply-styled, neutral in colour and also able to be turned into a bed if required. That’s not to say some furniture isn’t more elaborate – especially chairs, which often have intricately carved legs – but the preference of many Italians is simplicity in their furniture.
The use of stone has always been a trademark of the Italians, from the vast buildings crafted by the Ancient Romans to the intricacies of the decorative mosaics that patterned the floors of their homes to the ornate sculptures created by the likes of Michelangelo and Bernini.
Marble and travertine are two stones often cited by interior designers as offering a distinctly Italian feel – for a refined look, you might employ them in a bathroom or entrance hallway, or as a means of accentuating certain rooms (as a mantelpiece or part of a fireplace, for example).
When used in the wrong way, gilt can look overindulgent and tacky, but the Italians find a way to employ it sparingly, so it accentuates rather than dominates a room. Used on a mirror or furniture frame or seen in traces through floor or wall tiles, it adds a touch of glamour and elegance to any space.
Bringing the outside in
Italian interior style often involves incorporating the outside within the home. In addition to balconies and verandas, large windows and doors that let in as much light as possible should be included in any design. While there should obviously be some artificial light sources to use when it’s dark, the aim with most rooms should be to make the most of the strong daylight Italy usually enjoys.
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