The interior in the Empire style in the photo is easy to recognize: everything here speaks of luxury, pomp and solemnity. The abundance of gold, heavy furniture, bright colors and antique elements are its immediate part.
Everything you need to know about the Empire style in the interior
The history of the Empire in interior design and features
Empire means «empire» in French. This historical style was born, as you might guess, in France, during the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. It did not become something revolutionary new, but was a logical continuation of the classics. True, in a slightly more pompous and sublime form.
- Antique architectural elements are one of the main features. Columns, pilasters, carved cornices and classical sculpture — each element has its place.
- Central composition: the interior is built around one large or a group of central objects. As well as the principle of symmetry: this applies to decor and other elements.
- The palette is rich, complemented by gold. At the beginning of the 18th century, there was an active development of art, new colors were discovered, which are used in literally every industry. Luxury and wealth — in colors: red, deep blue, milky and black shades.
- The glorification of Napoleon and the empire is the main idea of the era and the source of its inspiration. Hence the often used military symbols: coats of arms, shields, spears.
Many people confuse the imperial style and the rococo that followed it. In fact, the differences are significant. The imperial interior is clear lines, strict theatricality and power. Dark wood furniture is heavy, massive, it is complemented by metal in the decor: lamps, floor lamps, vases, bronze and brass clocks, possibly with patina.
Rococo is flirting. It is much sleeker, lighter, filled with details and decor. Delicate colors appear here: pink pompadour, mint, delicate yellow. Animalistic and, of course, floral motifs are widely used. This is not in Empire.
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Finishing is the first thing you should pay attention to in any design. The style involves rich decor and the use of expensive materials.
- Everything here should be natural, the best and most expensive: no MDF and plastic, gypsum and wood are used in the decoration.
- Initially, the walls were decorated with noble fabrics: silk, brocade. Today they are replaced by expensive wallpapers, frescoes, paintings. The ornament on them is usually reminiscent of the Roman and Greek classics: these are monograms, decorative floristry and meander stylization.
- Walls rarely remain empty: if there is no pattern or ornament, moldings, stucco, pilasters and decorative columns are used.
The ceiling is usually decorated with stucco. Gold, painting and more elaborate elements can also be used, depending on the area of the space and its purpose.
The floors are most often lined with parquet or marble. Laminate, porcelain stoneware and other modern materials are out of place. The historical component is important here, it is she who is responsible for the authenticity of the entire space.
Empire furniture occupies a special place. Outwardly, it is heavy, but refined, massive and at the same time ornate, with complex decor.
- The main material for manufacturing is a tree of expensive species, including wenge and red.
- Items are decorated with carvings and reliefs: often there are legs in the form of lion paws. And the body itself is decorated with sphinxes, griffins and other animals, real and mythical.
- The upholstery corresponds to the body: it is silk, brocade, velvet. Maybe with ornaments and patterns. Leather is used infrequently, but it can be seen in a modern reading.
- No less interesting cabinet furniture. Small items such as coffee tables and cabinets also do not go unnoticed: they are decorated and decorated with carvings.
- Sofas, ottomans, whatnots and other not very functional elements are often found.
In general, there is a lot of furniture in the imperial interior. It is not limited to a sofa and a couple of armchairs. The rest group forms the center of the room, with all other items lining up around. There is no empty space near the walls; chests of drawers, consoles and other tables are located here. And even in the kitchen, it makes no sense to limit yourself to a set and a dining group. Let them be complemented by large elements in the form of grandfather clocks, vases and other accessories.
The fireplace is also richly decorated: it is carving, stucco, patina, gilding. Images of ancient heroes, mythical subjects, animals are not uncommon. But there is also a more modest ornament in the form of monograms. Bio-fireplace, flame imitation and other today’s solutions are unacceptable here. Everything has to be classic.
Separately, it is worth mentioning the choice of bed. Even the most modest rooms require a large king size bed. It rests not on legs, but on a wooden pedestal, decorated with a canopy and heavy brocade. The body itself is richly decorated with carvings, figures of sphinxes, eagles or lions in the corners, which “guard” the vacationer.
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It complements and completes the interior design in the Empire style. The wealth of furniture does not diminish the number of paintings, stucco and textiles. But it is important not to overdo it. The style is distinguished by splendor and theatricality, and not pretentious bad taste.
- Popular subjects of paintings in the 18th century were battles, wars, solemn portraits of men in military uniforms, women in chitons.
- In addition to paintings, the walls are decorated with mirrors in heavy gold frames.
- Small accessories such as table clocks, caskets, figurines are also common. They are decorated with monograms, ancient Greek and Roman mythological subjects.
- Vases, sets, decorative dishes — all this appeared in the Empire thanks to the active development of ceramics and the production of porcelain.
- Large objects such as outdoor flowerpots and classical statues are also actively involved.
Textile plays a special role in style. Brocade, tapestry, silk — only rich fabrics are used in the design. This applies not only to upholstery, but also to decorative pillows and curtains. As in the classics, lambrequins, tiebacks, French-style curtains are relevant here — everything that creates a separate decoration of the window opening. Another important point in decorating is lighting. The main object is the central massive pendant chandelier made of crystal and gilded metal. It is complemented by candlesticks, floor lamps, wall lamps — the lighting should be bright.
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Currently, such a design in its pure form is rare. Its beauty can be fully realized in a huge private house, where the area and height of the ceilings allow. In the photo in the interior of the apartment, the Empire style can look pretentious and too theatrical. Therefore, designers prefer to introduce some elements of the classics into modern design.
- Best to use vintage. Chairs, armchairs, tables, paintings, even small objects can fit into a modern space. The main thing is to surround them with appropriate materials. That is, not cheap accessories made of plastic or MDF, but similar in style and status.
- If the object is large and noticeable, it should have something to unite it with the rest of the space. It can be a picture or a mirror. Not necessarily products of the same time, it is enough to purchase a classic style.
- Modern stylized furniture looks great in an unexpected kitsch reading. You can change the upholstery or paint it in a bright color. Just in case you’re ready to get pissed off.
- If the room is small, use techniques in a less pompous way. Let the decor remind you of the style: curtains, accent wallpapers and accessories. The easiest way to support the mood is textiles or wallpaper.
- A muted palette is another way to reduce the pomposity of classicism. Monochrome interiors in light colors look no less impressive and modern.
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