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Classical Style

The Classical style reminiscent of ancient Greece, with its use of pillars and columns in both interior and furniture designs. Mahogany wood, with brass inlays, marble table tops, tapestries and crystal chandeliers will be wonderful accents here. In reality, the Classical style can be broken up into different schools of interior design. The resurgence in the use of Classical forms in Europe and America, starting in the late-18th century and gaining popularity in the 1820s and 1830s resulted in the Greek Revival style. Building forms closely mimicked the massive scale and decoration of ancient temples, and decorative arts and furnishings were adorned with or composed of Greco-Roman design elements. The Colonial Revival refers to a nostalgic return back to Early American forms employing motifs from the 18th century, intermingled with Classical designs that had persistently remained popular. The style was birthed by the American Centennial in the mid 1870s and then receded during the 1920s with the dawn of Modernism. Finally, Neo-Classicism was a design movement popular during the late 18th and early 19th century that grew out of a critical, rational reexamination of classical antiquity with respect to Enlightenment ideals. Consider the following suggestions to achieve the Classical look.

First, columns, whether used as an architectural structural element or as a plant stand, are staples of the Classical style. Purchase small columns from craft or home improvement stores, and spray with metallic paint or textured stone paint to create inexpensive and elegant accent pieces.

Applied ornamentation often lends the Classically inspired interior its grandeur. The style is reflected in Palladian windows, dentil moldings, and Acanthus leaves applied to brackets, corbels, and capitals. However, ornamentation should be added with restraint. If brackets placed every three feet make a grand statement, it need not follow that placing them every 18 inches will look doubly wonderful. Or if your room has eight foot ceilings, do not specify 12-inch crown moldings with an additional 4-inch dentil frieze.

Every Colonial Revival/Neo-Classicism room should contain a central chandelier often augmented by sconces for additional lighting. Strive to find pieces that are substantive and which "fill" the space to be lit without being either overly dimunitive or grotesquely large.

Below are some of our favorite Classical ideas. Get inspired, and click on the following thumbnails to view our favorite Classical rooms.