The Italian city of Florence has largely been considered the heart of Renaissance Europe. Between the beginning of the 14th Century and the end of the 15th Century, a new generation of bold and imaginative ideas developed that forged a new way of seeing the world. Medieval styles battled and also merged with more Classical forms of architecture and design. Indeed, in Art, traditional influences found a complimentary partner in the growing scientific observation and analysis of nature. This rich soup of ideas was a catalyst for the growth of a multi-faceted and still admired visual style.
As one would expect from a movement that began to spread across the European continent, the art and ideas began to vary as new cultures and peoples were influenced by the Renaissance. For example, in Northern Europe, the styles and designs became heavy in form whilst in England, a more whimsical and fantastical style merged with the national architecture and furnishings of the period.
However, whilst cultural influences meant visual Renaissance design varied across Europe, there was one universal characteristic that remained uniform. That of geometry. From architecture and wall décor to fabrics and flooring , geometric patterns were employed as often playful devices. Astrological images, spheres and obelisks as well as knot patterns were highly popular and can be seen in all four corners of Renaissance Europe.
For anyone considering decorating a room or house in the Renaissance style then there are a few considerations and components to bear in mind. Firstly, the designs of the period were highly influenced by images that harked back to the ancient world. These included geometrical patterns mixed with mythological imagery that were often wild and fantastical in appearance. The sun which can be seen in the image, is a prime example which can be used as a stencil in a Renaissance inspired living room or kitchen.
Secondly, Renaissance Europe was notable for its exquisite craftsmanship. When seeking furnishings that reflect the style and spirit of the period, look for fabrics and materials that highlight this important aspect. These could include silks, fine damasks, thick tapestries, polished oak, real of faux marble (simple painting techniques can be used to achieve the faux effect) as well as worked leather.
Thirdly, where at all possible, pick bargain items from second hand shops that enhance the ambiance of age and the aura of the period. These might include hidebound books, stone ornaments, classical maps, furniture which has been delicately carved, old pewter, old glass and even urns. Along with these, focus on the use of colors that symbolise the Renaissance such as the earth colors of leather and wood, plus the deep hues of Italian marble floors. You’ll be able to find more great color combinations for this style in books on the period which can be found online.