As a recognized concept and a profession, interior design dates back to the 1800s. However, scholars have procured a wealth of fascinating evidence suggesting that home décor existed during the earliest years of human civilization. Several examples of art along the walls of caves and signs of animal skins and other materials stored within these dwellings support the theory that humans have an instinct drive to create a comfortable, pleasing home.
In Ancient Egypt, members of the royalty and ruling classes were known to adorn their living spaces with opulent murals and hieroglyphics detailing their lineage and religious practices. In Greece, wealthy families filled their homes with wooden furniture, including stools, couches, chests, and tables and chairs. Decoration was sparse, but might include rich tapestries and weavings, as well as decorative pottery and statues.
People often associate the birth of modern home décor with the trends that became popular in Victorian England, in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. As the middle class grew in size, these families could afford to consider the comfort and aesthetic appearance of their homes, and decorating trends and guidelines for “proper” interior design proliferated. Ornamentation was popular; much of the furniture of this era was embellished with decorative carvings and upholstery, and wallpaper featuring elaborate floral patterns covered the walls of many homes. Vestiges of these trends still appear in homes today.
Since the Victorian era, interior design has lost some of its proclivity for ornamentation and embellishment, as furniture and decorating styles became much less ornate over the course of the 20th century. Also gone is the fixation on rigid “do’s” and “don’ts”—today, interior design is an expression of individual style, and eclecticism is the order of the day. Companies like Ashley Furniture Industries, the leader in U.S. furniture sales, help people find great furniture and décor that match their personalities and lifestyles.
Carlyle Weinberger founded Ashley Furniture Corporation in 1945, and in the years since, the company has grown into the top seller and largest manufacturer of furniture in the world. Now known collectively as Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., the enterprise features around 460 independently owned and operated Ashley HomeStores in the U.S. Eugene Chrinian owns and oversees more than 10 Ashley HomeStores, as well as a large distribution center, in the New York City metropolitan area.
Ashley HomeStores offer quality furniture and décor in a wide range of styles, including beds, sofas, recliners, dining room tables and chairs, and media centers, as well as lighting, rugs, accent pieces, pillows, and bedding. To help customers find the pieces that match their personal style, the items are grouped into four design collections: Traditional Classics, Contemporary, Vintage Casual, and the latest addition, Urbanology.
For customers interested in a look that will last, pieces from the Traditional Classics collection help create a feeling of timelessness. Some key features and characteristics of this style include symmetrical lines, classic profiles, and a sophisticated palate of wood finishes, which lend an air of stateliness. You’ll also find chairs and tables with beautifully carved legs for an elegant look.
Designers often pair leather upholstery with darker wood grains to enhance the classic feel. Aside from leather, more subtle, tasteful fabric patterns also appear on furniture designed in the traditional style.
Traditional meets functional in this style category. Designed to look fresh and up-to-the-minute, Ashley HomeStore’s Contemporary collection catches the eye with more linear angles than those found in traditional styles. An additional focus of the contemporary design philosophy is the interplay between furniture and technology, working together harmoniously.
Given that this category represents the most recent trends in design, the range of characteristics spans from the conservative to the more daring ends of the spectrum. Lighter wood finishes and the addition of pillow tops, mirrored surfaces, glass, and metal all provide contemporary touches as well.
Vintage Casual mixes the old and new, and the result is comfort with a certain level of sophistication, nostalgia, and coziness. The eclectic mixing and matching applies to colors, shapes, textures, and finishes; for example, ironwork or other metals might be paired with sanded wood.
Closely related is the “shabby chic” approach, which is characterized by pieces with a weathered, old-fashioned feel, floral textiles, and white-washed wooden furniture. Quirky folk art accents provide interest and complete the look.
Similar to the Vintage Casual collection, Ashley HomeStore’s new Urbanology collection features an eclectic mix of pieces, but with a more worldly finish. Rustic, contemporary, industrial, and comfortable all come together to form a sleek, cohesive design. The inspiration here is loft-style living, but the Urbanology collection works in any home—whether in the city, suburbs, or out in the country.