The hallmark of Old World decor and design is a comfortable, broken-in look that shows the wear and tear of use. Textured walls, hand-trawled windows and walls, and tumbled marble exemplify the style. Distressed, matte and honed finishes are preferable to highly polished, reflective surfaces. Here’s how the style breaks down:
Colors – The palette is deep, rich and regal but muted for a timeworn effect. Colors typically seen in an Old World room include burgundy, navy, forest green, ocher and cream. A combination of finishes can range from dark-stained surfaces to painted, glazed and sanded finishes that simulate (or account for) years of use.
5 Photos Gallery of: Old World Decor Ideas for Home
Accents – The polished surface on ceramic jars and the rustic quality of wrought iron are often paired for subtle contrast. Other elements that evoke an Old World decor include woven tapestries, Aubusson rugs and a distressed gilt finish on accessories.
Fabrics – Old World-style fabrics include damasks featuring oversize scrolls or floral patterns, complex tapestry designs, stripes and small prints set on cotton and muted hues of lustrous silks. Accoutrements like fringe, tassels and beaded trim add to the multilayered look.
Architecture – Rough-hewn beams lining a ceiling can balance the more sophisticated elements in the room. Other notable architectural features of an Old World-styled home include arched doorways and windows, which add feminine curves to a predominantly masculine design.
Light Fixtures – Antique light fixtures are important additions to an Old World room. Nothing ruins the antiquated look more than a modern buzzing ceiling light. Sconces—especially dark, old-fashioned ones—work well. Tabletop lamps with period shades also give off an antique vibe. HGTV recommends chandeliers for dramatic overhead lighting. Decorators who only have modern brass chandeliers can use spray paint to darken them.
Window Coverings – Windows’ coverings should be of heavy drapery material, like brocades or velvets offset with neutral colored sheers. Add to the effect by using iron rods to drape material over and tie back with braided cording.
Wall Tapestries – Rugs should be rich in texture and again, use dark colors to match color on walls, furnishings, and window coverings. Faux furs for throw rugs, especially in the bedrooms, are excellent money savers over tapestry types of rugs.
Old World design is a generic decorating term which refers to a comfortable, well-worn, elegant style evoking the feel of a generations-old European estate house. Textured walls mimicking aged plaster, tumbled marble, distressed wood, large dark furniture pieces and weathered colors are the hallmarks of Old World design. There are many fun and exciting ways to accent your Old World decor. Explore the options and create your fantasy of romantic, bygone eras.