Defining Old World Style And How To Incorporate It into Your Home

The Old World style is often described as a mixed breed. The origins of this style sprung from design conventions of 16th and 17th century Europe. Its primary influences are derived from the French countryside, the Mediterranean coasts of Italy and Spain, and a number of various time periods, from the Renaissance to the medieval. Regardless of its origins, this style is reminiscent of the stately composure of bygone eras.

The Old World home décor style is popular because it offers the ideal blend of formality and warmth. Furniture pieces should appear worn, yet still stately and regal. A room should have a grand, yet homey, feel to it. If you love your local Renaissance festival, shiver at the thought of bare windows, or can quote almost every line from “The Princess Bride”, then this home décor style might be exactly what you are looking for.

Old World Style Secrets: Muted Colors and Antique Finishes
The color palette of an Old World inspired room should appear as though it was drawn directly from a Rembrandt painting. Think of dark hues of blue and green, tawny ochres, and deep hues of burgundy. Black serves as the common denominator to ground these colors, and the overall look is lightened by accents of ivory and cream. Bright colors and pastels are a no-no when it comes to this décor style.

The “old” part of the Old World style can be seen in its antique and distressed finishes. Furniture pieces with patina are exceptionally popular. Stone, wood, and metal are common décor elements, and antique hardware and similar accents offer a wonderful source of authentic period flair. Each piece in your Old World inspired room should suggest years of use and handcrafting.

Old World Style Secrets: Architecture and Textured Ceilings and Walls
With the Old World decorating style, the architectural elements of a home are on display for all to see. Architectural features should be direct and strong. Think of columns, oversized archways, and exposed ceiling beams. In fact, archways are frequently repeated throughout the architecture of an Old World home to connect different rooms and offer definition to large scale spaces.

Textured ceilings and walls offer the perfect complement to Old World inspired architecture. These surfaces should demonstrate the hand of an artisan. Textured walls are often created from roughly applied concrete, stucco, and Venetian plaster. These treatments are often finished with glazes, which provide visual depth and interest to the room. For individuals with more fanciful tastes, textured walls and ceilings can be enhanced with stenciled fleur de lis motifs, frescoes, or bas-reliefs.

Old World Style Secrets: Woods, Metals, and Worldly Accents
During the 16th century, wood was the most highly valued and used building material on the Continent. It is an indispensable element of Old World inspired décor. Common woods seen in this type of décor include cherry, walnut, and mahogany. Different metals, such as wrought iron, bronze, and burnished brass are frequently interspersed with wood in Old World décor. Stainless steel and chrome have no place in this interior decorating style.

Finally, if you choose to decorate your home in an Old World inspired style, decorate it in accessories that would not be out of place in a storied French chateau. Oil lamps, marble or plaster busts, glazed pottery, and candelabras are all excellent options for accessories. With these finishing touches, your Old World inspired room will evoke a romantic connection to the past.

Polly Godwin is the owner of, a company specializing in wall water features, outdoor water fountains and more.

Leave a Reply