Digging For the Roots: Interior Design Through the Ages

August 28, 2014 at 7:57 am

Interior Design as most people see it now is something fancy and something that is verging on superficial. Most people would not think of it as something of a necessity and people who are building or renovating their houses or unit and are on a tight budget won’t even bother about it. The prevailing attitude about interior design, as mistaken as they are, are not surprising though. Probably, the images of polished home interiors printed in the glossy pages of magazines coupled with television shows featuring professional interior designers dressed as stylishly posh as possible are what started this misconception that interior designing makes sense only if used on high-end structures.


Interior designing is all about turning an interior space into an effective setting for the intended range of human activities. There is no other definition of interior design as perfectly defining as this. The purpose of interior designing is not fully dictated by aesthetics. Its ultimate purpose is functionality above anything else. Form follows Function. Interior designers’ biggest responsibility is to make sure that an interior space meet the needs of its intended function all the while making sure that the aesthetic appeal is not lost.

BeFunky_history_caveart.jpgInterior Design is not simply something that was just invented by modern humans. Like anything else, it was invented out of necessity, and this necessity has existed since the early ages of human existence. Prehistoric humans used caves to shelter them from extreme weather and protect them from predators. Eventually, they started to settle and build small communities. These early humans left us with caves full of basic drawings which would suggest that they felt the need to design their dwellings according to their idea of beauty. They progressed to using wood, animal skin and other materials found in nature as tools to improve their dwellings.

BeFunky_egyptianempire.jpgThe Egyptian, Roman and Greek empires might not have known yet of interior design as a discipline or a profession, but looking at the huge and awe-inspiring architectural structures they left us, they already practice interior designing, with most of the design elements being influenced by religion.






During the 18th and 19th centuries, the strong influence of religion became clearer as seen in the designs of the interior of the huge cathedrals and other massive pillared buildings with carvings and murals. This was followed by the Baroque style with its extravagant ornamentation, exaggerated curves and dramatic grandeur.

It was during the 1900s when Art Deco or Style Modern was born and it completely rejects the extremely elaborate designs of the past movements. It favors strong colors, clean lines and simple functions that exudes elegance and sophistication. Art Deco has still retained a shade of its influence on the current style trends.

BeFunky_Chromatic_1.jpgAs most part of the world was welcoming the age of industrialization, modernism came and introduce simple. clean and functional design. Not long after modernism took hold of the trend, postmodernism was born. Interior designers, from being a part of the backstage crew, started getting on the design stage and becoming important personalities as the time of Modernism and Postmodernism came. The postmodernism movement revolves around the mindset that “less is more”.  It leans toward minimalism and uses new and challenging materials for furniture. Since free movement is so much valued in this day and age, postmodernism poses a challenge to interior designers to inject the element of fluidity and portability when it comes to functionality.


Interior Design will, no doubt, undergo many more transformation. Its focus will endlessly shift from one thing to another. However, it is important to be acquainted with its roots and its history so that the purpose of its existence is not lost.