We’re all familiar with the top Italian brands from fashion to automotive designs. Brands, such as Ferragamo, Gucci, Prada, Fendi, and Ferrari, are globally renowned and offer the best that Italian design has to offer. This unique perspective extends to the home, as well. Italian-style homes are often extremely luxurious to the point of being breathtakingly beautiful or offer smart designs with just a touch of opulence.

italian design

However, what does Italian design even mean? Let’s take a quick look at the origins of Italian design so that you can get a better understanding of what Italian design actually is.

Traditional Italian Design

Historically, Italian design dates back to the Renaissance era of 15th century Florence, Italy. This period was dominated by architectural stone combined with baroque décor. Upon entering today's Italian-style homes, you'll find similarly inspired styles that blend Modern Italian with the Old World Ornate Italian designs.

italian design

The Italian tradition of understanding beauty, art, and the good life can be found in almost every aspect of the home. Italian-style homes aren't just luxurious, they literally offer top-quality detail and the finest craftsmanship from the walls, to the floors, and furniture. It’s about timeless design in all things.

Marble, terra cotta, and stoneware of all types plays an important role in defining the look of Traditional Italian-style interior design. Not only are the colors carefully chosen, they also are intricately placed to create a look that is elaborate, yet elegant.

Gilt trim is extremely popular in both Modern and Traditional Italian design and you'll find it everywhere from tile to furnishings and accessories. Adding items to your home that feature gilt trim is a defining look that you should consider if you prefer the layered luxury of Traditional Italian design for your home. The stately elegance of Traditional Italian design should be reflected in every room of the home, include the bedroom and especially the bathroom.

Modern Italian Design

However, the tradition of Italian design didn’t end. It has continued on even today. In modern times, Italian designers continue to be revered for their attention to detail and innovative style choices.

Modern Italy has produced some of the greatest furniture designers in the world, such as Gio Ponti and Ettore Sottsass. Gio Ponti was one of the most important designers of the mid-20th century. Although he is revered in the architecture and art worlds for his work, he also designed furnishings under the name Domus Nova, creating a series of chairs that were considered highly innovative for their time. These designs were the Superleggera and Distex and the Billia lamps, which are still well-known.

Ettore Sottsass is another furniture designer that can be considered as one of the biggest influencers of Modern Italian design. Born in Austria, Sottsass grew up in Milan. His designs are bold and stand out for the use of bright colors and fun shapes. Sottsass’s work along with Memphis, as the group called themselves, spans many types of furniture items and borders on the impractical. However, his work does reflect an individualistic and sometimes quirky take on everyday objects that can be used to make a home interesting and unique.

italian design

As a result, Modern Italian interior design is vastly different than the homes of the earlier centuries. However, it still has many things in common with its historical predecessor. In Modern Italian homes, you'll still find plenty of open, well-lit spaces. In addition, the designs also try to bring as much of the outdoors into the home as possible. This might be done by adding giant windows or floating ceilings.

Modern Italian design has also taken on somewhat of a more modest approach with urbanization increasingly requiring interior designers to make more careful choices in the use of space in smaller homes. Modern Italian-style homes that look uncluttered and offer plenty of storage options are preferred by many.

To keep in line with tradition, minimalist furniture with clean lines and sexy curves are still welcome. A couple examples of this style is the brand Modloft or sohoConcept. Although simple black and white colors may be found throughout the home, occasionally, you will find a decidedly over-the-top decorative element, such as a gleaming chandelier.

italian design

How to Recreate Italian Design in Your Home

If your plan is to design your home in Italian style, it is important that you can identify the right décor and invest in only the best quality furniture. You may even want to consider hiring a designer to help you put your ideas together. When it all comes together you can create a look that is uniquely yours yet mirrors the principles of sophisticated design.

Whether you are inspired by the traditionalist designs or would like a modernist approach, just invest in the best items you can afford and use unique items whenever possible!