Sometimes, in a business-like interior design, words come and stay. They are a standard of sorts, but after time they become so overused their true meaning is lost. Or the definition changes drastically depending on who is using it, and the original idea is lost to time.
Like authentic and real, which have been bandied about so long that no one can precisely define them any longer, the word luxury has gone through some significant iterations over time. The term has been linked to watches, yachts, clothing, and even table wear. But somewhere along the line, the word was attached to so many and so much that it has become diluted and spread too thin across too many mediums, franchises, and brands.
Concerning interior design, the word luxury has a particular meaning, and it’s grounded in fundamental ideals and conventions. This article will examine the roots of luxury interior design and what to look for when hiring an expert interior designer.
Where it Began
The idea of paying attention to home interior aesthetics was not always the norm. In the dark ages, 900 to 1500, interiors were functional, and people opted for plain wood walls, minimal furnishings, and cold stone slab floors. It’s what was available and practical for heating rooms in the winter and keeping them cool in the summer.
During the Byzantine Empire, which overlapped the Dark Ages, there were gilded domes and decadent interiors; however, there was little thought to design as much as pure opulence.
Art, dance, theater, and interior design exploded during the Renaissance. Interior design became a significant feature during this time, as the interior of a person’s home now tells the story of their wealth, power, and taste.
The Renaissance saw the advent of interiors with grand furnishings, art in vibrant hues, rich textiles like silk and velvet, and highly polished marble surfaces. Also, when carpets were too precious for even the wealthiest of citizens during this period, they were used as wall art whenever possible.
One of the significant changes to interior design during the Renaissance was the story that a person’s interior design told; interiors were becoming opulent for those who afford them, and they told unique stories of the families and the owners of houses.
The Gothic Period
During the Gothic era, two hallmarks that have survived into today’s modern interior design styles were introduced. One is incorporating more windows for brighter, more welcoming homes and open floor plans allowing for better movement and flow to a home.
This is a period where interior designers pulled out all the stops. The emphasis was on ostentation. Here we see ultra-rich artistic elements highlighted by truly sumptuous interior designs filled with stained glass, colored marble, twisted columns, painted ceilings, gilded mirrors, and ornate, giant chandeliers.
Many view this time as over the top, but the story was straightforward: we have money and hired a designer to give us taste.
Traditional to now
Traditional interior design is still a mainstay in today’s homes. It is a broad term, highlighting many varied styles and design movements, yet it is not locked down to any one spirit or direction.
This design style celebrates the rich history of the past, combining it with modern touches and accents. The result is an elegant spin on the 18th and 19th-century European design, elegant and beautiful, evoking effortless luxury and not sacrificing comfort for style. This period of design is full of appreciation for antiques, classic art, symmetry, and the rich history of design.
This sits us where we are now; of course, we have skipped some significant design periods, Rococo, Industrial Revolution, neoclassical, and the heavily British-influenced tropical period, reflecting the Empire's power as it swept across the world. This style was rich with traditional pieces living alongside more exotic elements.
While past design styles were heavily influenced by the period and the stories told were very broad strokes, we are wealthy. As such, a home should reflect everything that says wealth and power. The stories told in these periods were very outward, and personal touches were sacrificed for a general story.
The difference in design now is specificity. A home’s interior is now a specific story of the occupants making. An interior designer no longer feels compelled to show pieces that “every wealthy homeowner must have.” Now, the stories told by interior designers are more personal and specific to the ideas and visions of those hiring a designer.
Luxury is now about personal space, personal stories, and personal touches. Instead of rooms glutted with ornate pieces and over-the-top sumptuousness, there is a focus on high-quality materials and splendid pieces and the story being told, which is vastly different from the neighbor’s story or the house down the block. Individuality and comfort now live alongside pure luxury, and opulence for opulence’s sake has little place in the modern luxury home.
What to Look for in a Designer
First and foremost, you want to find a designer who will listen and not dictate design. As we’ve seen in the progression of interior design, the trend is custom. Custom pieces, this includes furniture, art, window treatments, and more. Today, a luxury interior designer listens and forms a relationship with their client, giving the design more depth and personalization.
The designer you want will spend more time listening than speaking, and then, they will translate what you’ve been saying, your vision, and the story you want to tell into a very one-of-a-kind interior experience.
A good luxury interior designer has a vast network of connections for antiques, unique pieces, art, and the highest quality materials, all at the ready to create a unique experience that is both luxurious and comfortable.
Gone are the days of museum-quality interiors that are not at all inviting. Now, interior design has got to embrace comfort and allow for the design to be lived in. Interiors of unique beauty but have a welcoming comfort to them that will bring people into a space and keep them comfortably engaged. This is the essence of modern interior design.
How to Find the Designer for You
The easiest approach is to go online and search for interior designers; however, you should only hire a designer if you sit down and talk with them.
The best designer is the one who is looking for more than just the job. The best designers are seeking solid relationships with their clients to build on. This is not just to ensure more work but to get the story right. To build a relationship is to understand someone on a deeper level. When reaching that more profound level, the relationship between designer and designee becomes a symbiotic exchange. Both parties feed on the other, so the result is as unique as the relationship.
An excellent interior designer puts clients first; no matter what they ask for, the designer knows they are telling their client's story and must find ways to be as true to that story as possible. Suggestions will be made, but the right design won’t push you off your desired course but will support it to the end.
Check websites and look at their work; if it doesn’t speak to you, don’t bother trying to make it work, it never will.
Interior design is very personal, and if you’re not feeling a personal connection, you won’t be able to fabricate it. The relationship will be an uphill battle from the start.
Find a designer with years of experience and someone you can trust to be honest with you and keep your story in mind.
At Harker Design, they are uncompromising when it comes to building strong relationships because they know that a strong relationship is a basis for telling the right story and fulfilling their client’s visions. They listen and work to understand your desires and have the experience and the network to make your vision a unique, interior reality.