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byBonito Designs March 18, 2024 In Interior Design


The art of interior design is about more than just arranging some furniture in a room. It has the power to create spaces that redefine luxury, evoke visceral emotional responses, and make you feel comfortable and relaxed. Be it in a residential or a commercial setting, there’s a whole world of things to consider when designing the interiors of a space.   

The history of this dynamic art is dotted with milestones that have resulted in interior design as we know it today. If you’re curious about the history of interior design, we’ve got all you need to know in this detailed guide. Read on to find out more about how this art has evolved over the centuries.   

history of interior design

The Ancient Beginnings of Interior Design   

While the profession of interior design is just about a century old, the roots of interior design go back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Back then, interiors in tombs, for example, were adorned with murals, decorations, ornate furnishings and symbolic motifs that reflected the society of the day.   

In ancient India, however, the timeline of interior design begins in 30,000 BC and 7000 BC in the Bhimbetka Shelters. This is where the earliest record of human civilisation began, with the walls of caves here being dotted with vast paintings and illustrations that depicted day-to-day activities like farming, hunting, dancing, and so much more.   

These caves can be found in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, and you could say that these mark the introduction of interior design in the Indian subcontinent.   

Mehrgarh Culture   

Between 7000 BC and 3300 BC, culture in Mehrgarh can be considered a progression of the murals and paintings seen in the caves of the Bhimbetka Shelters. The homes of the people in this area who traditionally engaged in activities like farming and herding were adorned with simple forms of crafts and collectables.   

Sculptures of goddesses and pottery held prominent places in the interiors of homes back then, and archaeological evidence has shown the presence of these decorations at these sites. While these items were primarily held for purposes of worship, they also added a decorative touch to the interiors of the homes in this period.   

The Vedic Age   

The Vedic Age between 3300 BC and 1300 BC saw the dominance of the Indus Valley Civilisation under the control of the Aryans. As is already well known, during this period, cities exhibited immense architectural skill and talent, meticulously planning cities, roads, and drainage systems.

This period also saw the introduction of materials like wood and bamboo in construction and in the interiors of homes. The walls of these homes while simple, featured unique textures which today form an intricate aspect of designing tasteful and opulent interiors. The Vedic age, as you can see, was a key milestone in the history of interior design.   

The Rise of Jainism and Buddhism   

With the rise of religions like Jainism and Buddhism, another major milestone in the practice of interior design was the creation of expansive structures dedicated to religion. The Ajanta and Ellora caves, for instance, with their intricate carvings and metal artwork, and ceilings with astonishing patterns, sculptures, and motifs are some of the landmark marvels of this period.   

This period reflected the transition from simpler, textured interiors seen during the Vedic age to more intricately designed interiors between 500 BC and 550 AD.   

The Changes in the Medieval Era   

The medieval era, which spanned almost an entire millennium between 550 AD and 1500 AD saw a series of invasions from powers across the world, each bringing its own influences in the fields of architecture and interior design with them.   

The Islamic and Portuguese powers, for instance, brought their own styles of interior design which both replaced and integrated with the mix of styles present within the subcontinent at the time.   

The interiors of temples, for instance, featured some of the most intricate carvings found globally, and this tradition continues in temples to date. Islamic influences, on the other hand, manifest in the repetitive patterns adorning the interiors of various palaces and other notable structures.  

Portuguese influences, evident in the interiors of churches, feature simple Western furniture in wood and rattan. All these styles through the history of interior design have influenced the design themes that are popular today.   

The Post-Medieval and Colonial Eras   

Starting from 1526 AD up until 1947 AD, the post-medieval and colonial periods in the Indian subcontinent further witnessed remarkable changes in what we know today as interior design.   

The aesthetics of symmetrical patterns in the Islamic style, along with geometric and floral patterns were some of the major markers of this period. This era also brought about the popularity of inlays in marble, sandstone, and other similar materials that adorned the structures of the time.   

With the colonial invasion in the subcontinent, we witnessed an increase in the use of wood across various spaces in home interiors, along with decorations that were often prizes of hunts and other such escapades. The heads of dear, bison, tigers, and leopards were popular examples.  

The now popular art deco style also finds its roots in the colonial period in India, when the heavy use of wood combined with statement intricate designs from India’s rich past.   

Present Day   

The history of interior design now brings us to the period post-independence and the various themes we see around us today. The period post-independence brought up some confusion, about whether or not to retail the styles the British imported or reinvigorate more traditional styles of interior design.   

The overarching consensus among the interior design community was that of creating spaces that made life easier and simpler, paving the way for the practice of minimalism. However, just as minimalism gained prominence, with its clean and sleek lines and form, its opposite, maximalism, also gained immense prominence.

Designing Opulent Interiors Today 

Designing Opulent Interiors Today 

As you can see, the history of interior design within the Indian subcontinent itself is immensely vibrant. Add to this the trends and changes that took place globally, and we have the whole world available to us on a platter. Homeowners today can choose from a range of different global themes when designing their full home interiors.   

If you’re a new homeowner looking to design their interiors, reach out to us at Bonito Designs. We have over 10 years of experience, making us the only ISO-certified full home interior brand across India. Our team of 300+ designers have designed the homes of thousands of happy customers to date.   

Add to this our exclusive Design Now Pay Later offer, and you can design your interiors at just 10% of the cost today and pay the rest in EMIs 9 months later. Budget restrictions no longer have to be a worry!   

Give us a call and schedule a visit to our Experience Centres in Mumbai or Bengaluru today!