Design Through Time: Ancient Egypt

As we continue traveling through the history of interior design, I’d like to look at one historic design style that can be as dramatic, beautiful, and subtle or focused as you desire: Egyptian design. Historically, interior and exterior Egyptian architecture utilized baked mud bricks and stones because wood was rare. You are familiar with Egyptian hieroglyphic-embossed columns, but did you know the top of the column is called a “capital?” Not only does did they serve as weight-bearing pieces, capitals were usually bell shaped, similar to lotus flowers of the Nile River. You’ll often see decorative leaf patterns near the top of the column and beneath the capital. Egyptian design style has resurfaced throughout the centuries, and was so popular, an “Egyptian Revival” period was identified from 1850 through the 1870s and again from 1924-1940s in the U.S. Here are just a few ideas to help you capture the essence of Egypt in your home:
  • Egyptian decor was minimalist, favoring open spaces and lack of clutter. While the arrangements may be subdued, Egyptian interior colors are far from understated and include turquoise, brilliant red, gold, shades of green, and black accents.
  • Patterns can be geometric, include the sun or stars, cobras, cows, feathers, lotus flowers, Hathor, scarabs, or sphinxes.
  • Sconces would be a choice lighting treatment.
  • Ancient Egyptian temples were decorated with sculptured wall reliefs depicting many symbols and stories, carved and painted. Consider a bas- or wall-relief accessory for your room.
  • Egyptian decorative pieces are easy and fun to find! I found some interesting curios/antiques priced from $6-$600 on eBay.
Call or contact me with your ideas about Egyptian design in your home or office. Later, as we explore Design Through Time, we’ll decide that when in Rome (or when decorating your home), we might want to do as the Romans do…