Ancient Greece is somehow both fantastical and historic at the same time. From the elegant, inviting structures of the Parthenon and the Acropolis of Athens, to the modern-day adaptations of Greek legend, today’s culture is undoubtedly inspired by that of Ancient Greece.
Whether it’s in fashion, art or interior design, the perceived luxury of Greek stylings is forever present. A true representation of wealth, comfort and relaxation, it’s no wonder that a homeowner today may opt for a look reminiscent of Ancient Greece.
So – just what makes Greek-themed design so eye-catching. How has it stayed relevant for so many centuries, and what can you do to bring out your inner god or goddess?
Greek architecture is one of the most recognizable and visually striking forms of building-work in the entire world. Highly detailed sculptures adorn twisted pillars, eagerly supporting the heavy white-washed roofs and pediments above.
Marble and granite, amongst a variety of other high-cost building materials, were typically used to create beautiful looming structures. The Greeks also celebrated symmetry and intricacy, which can still be seen in many architectural remnants from the time period.
If you’re trying to replicate the feel of Ancient Greece in your interior design, the best place to start is with the architecture. Don’t worry: you won’t need to tear your house down, but there are things you can do to craft a distinct, authentic Greek theme.
Pillars and Columns
Arguably the most iconic characteristic of Greek architecture and design is the frequent use of decorative pillars. Much more than necessary support beams, the columns featured intricate patterns, designs and art; they were commonplace as both exterior building support as well as an interior design feature.
Today, interior designers still widely use pillars – even if they’re not structurally necessary, though in Ancient Greece they were only ever used for function and not design. In modern houses, pillars won’t always be built from the floor to the ceiling, but may be half-size (or custom-made) replicas of a certain ‘order’ of design.
We’ll look at three recognized orders below:
The most common type of pillar design is Doric Capital. This, as seen on the world-famous Parthenon, is a relatively simple column design; it features a plain pillar capital without a base.
Ionic is slightly more decorative than Doric designs. It generally will feature a distinct base, is lighter in appearance and it features egg-shaped spirals in the top corners.
Corinthian Capitals are by far the most complex (yet stunning) pillar designs. It heavily features rows of acanthus leaves, as well as four volutes; whilst it does make an impactful design statement, it’s very difficult to work with.
The Ancient Greeks used a plethora of materials. If you’re going for an authentic and genuine feel, you may wish to consider working with:
- Wood (used in support beams and roofing)
- Terracotta (tiles and highlights)
- Unbaked brick (building, design work and highlights)
- Limestone and marble (pillars, busts and ornaments)
- Granite (design, sculptures)
These materials are typically more expensive than common building alternatives, though they will be worth the investment. It is possible to use cheaper ‘lookalike’ materials in your designs, though it will not compare to the real deal, potentially leaving a lot to be desired.
Things to Consider
The last things to consider when piecing together your Greek-inspired design is the color and spacing, along with how you choose to display your furnishings.
Minimalism and simplicity are absolutely key, and will act as a defining factor to your new home. If possible, you should keep your designs as minimalistic as possible – this will allow the elegant feature pieces, such as your busts, vases and cornices, to really stand out.
Similarly, you should stick to using authentically traditional colorings. Neutral colors are essential, so stick to ivory, cream, white, tan and grey. Ideally, you should use the natural colors of the building materials you intend to feature.
Design A Great Day!