The Top 7 Defining Characteristics of Italian Interior Design

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There’s no denying it – Italians have good taste. Whether it’s food, clothes, cars, jewelry, or handbags, Italians always manages to impress.

It may come as no surprise, then, that interior design is one of Italy’s strong points. From the beautiful and intricate ceiling and wall designs of the Renaissance to the fascinating mosaics of the Roman Empire, interior design has been a focus of Italian life and culture for hundreds of years.

Want to add a dose of Italian style to your home? We’re here to highlight the top seven defining characteristics of Italian interior design to have your space looking fabulous, Italian-style.

1. Combining Old With New

With such a rich history, one focus of Italian design is to preserve the country’s past within architecture. When you roam the streets of any city or town in Italy, you’ll notice many older buildings. However, inside, you may be surprised to discover furniture and design in a more modern approach.

Mixing up both old and new styles in interior design is very common for Italians.

If you don’t live in a beautiful, aging, old building, don’t worry because you can still recreate these characteristics of Italian design. Have a hunt around antique markets and second-hand furniture stores for vintage furniture to add a rustic touch to a contemporary home.

2. A Clever Use of Space

If you’ve ever visited any locals in Italy, then you may be aware that many Italian homes tend to be pretty cozy. With many Italians living in high-rise block buildings, dwelling in an apartment with limited space is common.

For this reason, Italians are the masters of creating space and can transform a small room into an area that appears light, spacious, and airy. Through the thoughtful placement of furniture, lighting, and other architectural tips and tricks, Italians can easily create a space that feels large, bright, and generous.

3. The Living Kitchen

What’s a living kitchen, you may wonder? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds.

In Italian culture, the kitchen has expanded over the years to become somewhere to chill in and socialize, not just somewhere to cook, clean, and work.

The heart of the home, the kitchen is where the family gathers at the end of a tiring working day to chat, make food, and relax together.

Create your own living kitchen in the home by placing a seating area in the room to encourage people to stay and socialize. Why not try your hand at some authentic homemade Italian pasta to embrace the concept fully?

4. Natural Materials

Another famous feature of Italian interior design characteristics is the use of natural materials. In Italian interior design, the mix of wood, stone and metals is done effortlessly.

It’s the beautiful mosaic tile floor, the glamorous marble countertop, and the metal and wood accents in the furnishings.

5. Smart Lighting

Lighting is a big part of Italian interior design. However, there isn’t one formula or style for choosing lighting in Italian décor. Rather, the style of lighting is adapted to suit the specific architectural style of the home or property.

If you live in a city apartment, a big, dramatic, and sparkling chandelier is a great way to emphasize the height of the flat.

Or to create a gentle, diffused and soft light, consider placing several floor and table lights in the room.

6. Minimalism

While Italians don’t embrace minimalism to the extent say the Japanese or Scandinavians do, less is often more in Italian interior design. Today, Italian homes tend to offer a simple, clean, and uncomplicated feel.

Unlike their ancestors, who enjoyed decorating the home with plenty of ornaments and figurines, today’s generation prefers to keep items safely stowed away.

Clean and tidy is preferred, so, as mentioned, Italians make use of the space by incorporating concealed storage spots to help hide clutter. Any furniture chosen should justify its place in the home, with an obvious use.

In many Italian homes, some pieces will often serve more than one function to offer efficiency. For example, there may be a sofa that transforms into a bed or a comfortable chair that offers storage within its arms and base.

To give your home a minimalistic look like the Italians, you could also choose a sofa that offers concealed storage space.

7. Designer Pieces

We all know that Italians tend to have an eye for designer clothing. So, it comes as no surprise that many also love to introduce a dose of designer flair within the home too. It’s not uncommon for Italians to save and scrimp so they can treat themselves to a dazzling piece of designer furniture for the home.

Italian interior designers are trendsetters throughout the world, famous for their talents in blending contemporary design with traditional refinement and elegance. This reflects on the Italian’s tendency to team old and new together when it comes to interior design, as covered in point one.

Ready to Incorporate Italian Interior Design Into Your Home?

With these Italian interior design tips, you can add a splurge of luxury, sophistication, and tradition to your home. That’s whether you add a few subtle touches to your design or tackle a full remodel.
Want to discover more about Italian design in the home? Here are the benefits of using Italian design to create a custom closet.

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