How Ancient Cultures Inspire Current Decor

Interior design contains centuries of history. So, even today, you can continue to take some ideas from ancient cultures.
How Ancient Cultures Inspire Current Decor

Last update: 05 April, 2021

Since Neolithic times, human beings have tried to decorate their homes in order to create a welcoming atmosphere. Nowadays, people are still using the same techniques, just with added elements. Ancient cultures are an inspiration for current decor trends.

Of course, this doesn’t mean people are using archaic or ancestral designs, quite the contrary. You can nourish a space with items that remind you of the past or you can use older techniques.

Obviously, you can see the evolution. The way you use it will depend on your personality and your expectations.

Ancient cultures – the classical era

Some masks inspired by ancient cultures.

Ancient Greece and Rome were when interior designs reached great heights. People embellished spaces with paintings, furniture, objects, jewelry, etc. This was a fundamental basis for the interior design world.

The determination to have their homes looking as good as possible is a result of two things. Firstly, people were seeking comfort and adornment for aesthetic appreciation. Secondly, they wanted to show off to their guests and throw the best dinner parties, for example, in the Roman triclinium.

From a more objective point of view, appearance was valued much more than functionality, a concept that today, has changed to some extent. People still value shapes, designs, and details, but they demand a much higher level of practicality.

The classical era has been a source of good ideas.

Why take inspiration from ancient cultures?

If you look at the different components of ancient cultures, you’ll realize they had similar objectives to those of today. Therefore, decor demonstrates people’s thirst for knowledge.

  • Firstly, take into account that ancient cultures had unique items that are probably somewhat outdated today. However, it’s all a matter of constructing an acceptable internal discourse.
  • Using items that reflect harmony with the past can help create a historical atmosphere. That’s to say, recalling past times and demonstrating enthusiasm and fondness for a specific decor style.
  • Can this approach offer a different image from more modern trends? Actually, you can incorporate the feeling of being in a far-away land, especially if you use items from Asian or African civilizations (masks, musical instruments, costumes, souvenirs, carpets, etc.).
  • This doesn’t mean turning the house into a museum or an archaeological field. In fact, that’s not the purpose at all. If you approach it that way, you may fall into the mistake of not making your home comfortable. The concept of “home” would be completely distorted.

Ancient cultures are a source of inspiration

A sculpture of a magical cat.

If you want to apply historical meaning, you shouldn’t focus solely on antiques. Another option is to use certain items from ancient cultures and integrate them into modern decor.

For example, spread sculptures, ionic columns, a triangular portico, Celtic symbols, an ornamental sword, armor, etc. around your modern home.

You can also use certain furniture to help organize all your antiques, such as a display case. Since it’s made of glass, it can hold and show off all your items. By doing this, everything will be protected and it’ll attract the attention of your guests.

Use art to show who you are

History has left a wide artistic legacy, hence you’ll find numerous pieces in museums that have been part of the decoration in homes. This idea is undoubtedly a source of inspiration for interior design.

Basically, you create your own identity, but you also resort to items from ancient cultures to achieve a common purpose: to create your own aesthetic and establish boundaries that show who you really are.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Lava Oliva, Rocío: Interiorismo, Vértice, 2008.
  • Quan, Diana: El paraíso es tu casa, Barcelona, Penguin Random House, 2017.