Art Nouveau interior design as a style originated in the end of the 19th century as a reaction to the fast growing industrialisation of society. There was a general fear that the modern breakthroughs would destroy the true art forms. At the same time, Victorian decorating style was fading, as it was considered cluttered and heavy at the time.
Art Nouveau tried to remove the clutter and bring light and space into rooms. Compared to Victorian style it was certainly a minimalist movement but also very different from later minimalist and modernist styles, through the use of natural decorations and soft colours.
Art Nouveau decorated rooms can be recognised by their use of light and airy colours. It did away with Victorian style heavy painting and chairs to fill out wall space. Instead patterned wall paper grew in popularity because of the cheaper costs of manufacturing. therefore the wallpaper would often be left to be seen for its own design and not covered.
Colours were light but muted, such as olive, sage or different types of brown. A reaction to the heavy dark and red colours of the Victorian style, that could have almost a suffocating feeling of claustrophobia!
Other decorating items commonly used, were all kind of stylised plants, flowers and stems painted or decorated on walls and paintings.
Art Nouveau is also characterised by the focus on natural finish in furniture. Before the Art Nouveau movement, chairs and desks were often made from heavy dark mahogany. Art Nouveau furniture on the other hand used primarily oak and satin wood. The ideal Art Nouveau furniture would have simple natural curves offset by other straight lines in the room.
As Art Nouveau is a relatively new style, it is still possible to buy original pieces on auctions at a reasonable cost. Reproductions are also common.
Stained glass become popular as decorating items during this period, the most prominent example perhaps the Tiffany lamp that has a lamp shade in stained glass. Today, authentic Tiffany lamps are expensive, but several companies sell reproductions at affordable prices.
Window dressing Art Nouveau style was a significant change to Victorian Style. Where as before, windows would be excessively draped in soft furnishings and ornament to almost conceal them, Art Nouveau aims to bring light into the room and focus on the window itself.
Art Nouveau is a rather easy and inexpensive style to decorate your home. Wooden furniture, coloured wallpapers with floral designs and simple but decorative window curtains in light fabrics. Curtains can have prefabricated designs in traditional design, or you can buy a fabric like silk and paint on your own custom design if you enjoy adding customised and bespoke touches to a room.
Because straight vertical lines were very popular in Art Nouveau style, the curtains should hang straight down and without curtain hold backs. The curtains can have lining or no lining, depending on the weight of the fabric. Art Nouveau curtains are available in many shops and online as part of retailers ready made curtain lines. Alternatively you could buy Art Nouveau fabric and make your own unique curtains.
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