Colonial style in the interior
Colonial style belongs to the group of classic trends. It got its name in honor of the colonists who, settling on foreign lands, not only brought with them their native traditions in interior design, but also borrowed customs from local residents. In the direction, a balance was found between sophistication, luxury and laconicism, "indigenous simplicity." In fact, the colonial style in the interior is a prefabricated eclectic potpourri, consisting of several ethnic branches. Each of them is characterized by certain features, but there are general principles that combine these subgroups into one stream. Let's talk in an article on how to create a colonial interior in a city apartment or house with your own hands.
History of the origin of style
A number of countries that in past centuries were located on the political "top of the world" could not boast of their own vast territories. Since their enrichment was largely due to the use of slave labor and the fooling of the “backward” indigenous population, rather than skillful management, it was necessary to conquer more and more territories. These countries primarily included Spain, Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire. After the discovery of “India” by Christopher Columbus, great prospects opened up for these states: as many as two continents with rich lands and a population that was hung with gold, but did not know its true value. South and North America were "cut" into three parts, which still speak the native language of the colonialists. The south went to Cortes and the bloody conquistadors, and the north was divided by the French and the British. The expansion and politics of colonialism obliged the metropolis to send military men and governors who controlled the territories to their vassals. Since the duration of residence could be in the tens of years, they moved with their families and settled thoroughly. In the interiors of the houses of the colonists, of course, there were features typical of their homeland, but at the same time, local culture and features seeped into them that allowed them to adapt to the unusual climate. The list of subordinate countries was not limited to mainland America. Great Britain at one time took under its wing part of Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Seychelles, Mauritius, Barbados and a dozen other countries that have now gained relative independence. France extended its "tentacles" to Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Chad, and Spain captured Manila, the Philippines, Guinea, part of the island of Taiwan and even the Sahara desert. After the USA threw off the “yoke” of mother Britain, the state followed in its footsteps and acquired Hawaii, the Philippines, Cuba, Samoa. A colossal mixture of cultures took place, which subsequently resulted not in an unpretentious potpourri with many ethnic elements, but in elegant, luxurious and original interiors.
The main directions of style and their distinctive features
Colonial style is an expensive pleasure that only people with an income above the average can afford. The interiors use exclusively natural materials, which are now very expensive. The general features of the direction include:
- The abundance of exotic vegetation. Colonization usually took place in tropical countries, which is due to the use of "local" vines, ferns, palm trees. Plants not only looked beautiful in homes, but also allowed to cool slightly the hot air.
- Wide windows on the floor are more like doors. In colonial houses, openings were deliberately increased. To a large extent, this was done so that a pleasant draft would appear in the house.
- The use of natural wood and stone in the decoration of the exterior and interior.
Although there are many sub-styles in the colonial direction, in our time only three of them have gained popularity:
The latter deserves special attention, since it is considered colonial “squared”, because before becoming a mother country, the country itself was for a long time under the yoke of Britain. The direction is based on the classic style, which has expanded its borders. This was expressed in spacious (necessarily 2-3 storey) houses, where guests were greeted by a huge hall with a staircase. The materials were dominated by solid wood, and the decor was made of forged metal. The English version of the style is an architectural and interior medley of Great Britain and India, which has long been its colony. The rigor, stiffness, aristocracy of the British faced the softness, openness and simplicity of the Indians. Classical interiors are complemented by “wild” trophies in the form of animal skins and heads on the walls, and Gothic features alternate with smooth, rounded lines and ornate patterns that used to adorn Hindu temples.
The French colonial style gave us the famous panoramic windows. In this direction, the clearest mark was left by a mix with Asian cultures. Silk wallpapers with thematic drawings, expensive porcelain, decorative metal elements (caskets, vases) are used in interiors.
Finishing and selection of finishing materials
Among the finishing materials, wood, stone and a special clay brick are chosen. If the owners prefer imitation (albeit expensive), then the interior will be a version of the colonial style adapted to modern realities. To create a classic interior, in which the traditions of several nations were assimilated, one cannot save. The ceiling is plastered and decorated with wooden beams, the floor is sheathed with a board or tiled, and the walls can be covered with expensive fabric wallpaper. An exquisite silk version will suit the French style.
They use materials contrasting in their characteristics in furniture: light wicker details and massive objects made of natural wood. In the first case, reed, bamboo, palm branches and rattan are used as the basis. Wicker chairs, chairs and couches are covered with a heap of soft pillows. Such furniture is convenient in that it can easily be transferred to the garden if necessary. “Static” items (cabinets, beds, chests of drawers) are manually made from solid wood. Facades are decorated with concise carvings or wicker inserts.
To get a sample of classic furniture, you will have to order its manufacture or contact expensive stores with original products. A way to save money will be a trip to the so-called "flea market", where you can buy old elements. However, their unpretentious appearance will be appreciated only by Provence. Well-preserved specimens with no visible defects are suitable for the colonial style.
The classic colonial style does not tolerate any flashy, striking accents. Since most of the houses were in a ruthlessly hot climate, the basis of the color palette is white (black attracts light and heats up faster). In apartment options, indulgences in the form of pastel colors are allowed. Accent surfaces are painted in natural tones: brown, beige, burgundy, red, mustard, olive and dark blue. It is not recommended to combine more than three shades in one interior. The concept of the direction is such that the green spots of indoor plants will add brightness to the composition.
Traditional lighting is complemented by instruments with ethnic color. The original chandelier and floor, table lamps will fit a classic chandelier. They are made of metal (bronze, iron, brass, copper), glass, leather and special rice paper. Thus, it will be possible to organically combine European traditions with elements of the “natives” culture and provide the premises with the necessary amount of light.
Accessories and decor
The decoration contains accessories from the animal world, as it occupied a special place in the cultures of the Aztecs, Indians, African tribes and islanders. Although paganism is considered a primitive religion, instead of the hierarchical pantheon of classical deities, it had its own laconic, natural "board of honor", which was worshiped. If we are talking about elements from Africa, clay pots and plates, masks, figurines, ethnic-style textiles, paintings with a “sandy” landscape of a vast desert will do. To create an “American” flavor, dream catchers, groves, thematic photos on the walls are used. In the upholstery, you can use roughly processed skins, woven chests, suitcases, baskets. To convey a special interior mood, you can put a bundle of brushwood near the fireplace, which used to be kept warm in cold nights, and hang an old world map on the wall.
Do not forget about indoor plants. Ordinary dracaena, horwey, rapis or ferns davallia, pteris emphasize the originality of the situation and become an element that smooths the contrast between the two cultures.
The colonial-style bedroom has one characteristic feature - a canopy above the bed. In tropical countries, it is not installed for beauty at all, but for the sake of protection from annoying insects. The bed itself is chosen either from solid wood with carved legs and "columns" for a canopy, or with elegant, forged elements. Walls are painted in a neutral shade of brown or in tone from a pastel scale. The floor is sheathed with boards, and the top is covered with a carpet. The ceiling is simply plastered. On both sides of the double bed, bedside tables are installed symmetrically. Their surface is decorated with the same fixtures. The “boudoir” zone is replaced by a light table and a wicker chair. A box, a suitcase or a closed basket will become a colorful place to store things.
By the way, the textiles used for the canopy should overlap with the fabric for the curtains. You can even stitch both of these elements from the same material.
Living room interior
The central decoration of the colonial living room will be a classic fireplace. It is made of dark stone, which favorably emphasizes the light walnut wall finish. By the way, this surface is simply plastered or painted, as accessories and textiles will become accents in the interior composition. Classic paintings framed in baguette and luxurious mirrors hang on the walls. The joint between them and the ceiling is decorated with a neat fillet with stucco elements. In the kit for the central crystal chandelier around the room perimeter on the mantelpiece and countertops set candlesticks. If the size of the room allows, then it has two zones for rest at once. The first is a composition of a massive sofa and a pair of armchairs around a coffee table. The best intellectual activity on this site will be a game of chess. The second furniture group consists of a pair of wicker chairs or chairs. They are placed around the second coffee table by the window. The place is ideal for reading or drinking tea at a measured conversation. The windows are curtained with blackout curtains with ethnic patterns. The floors are covered with short pile carpets. We must not forget about indoor plants, pots with which are evenly distributed throughout the room.
For the design of the kitchen they use a classic massive set of brown or unusual olive color. Its facades are decorated with metal handles. The ceiling is plastered and decorated along the joints with stucco walls. In rare cases, the surface is lined with a board and decorated with roughly processed beams. The original element of the decor will be a chandelier, which is equipped with special hooks along the radius of the entire ceiling. Ladles and pans are subsequently suspended on them. Ethnic flavor in the kitchen is manifested in small things. The apron is decorated with stone. Clay pots, jugs, vases, plates and other “native” utensils are hidden on the open shelves and behind the glass doors of the classic set. Also, the interior is complemented by wicker baskets, which in general can create a single storage system, where traditional drawers are replaced with a “lightweight” version made of cane or rattan. An obligatory element even in the smallest kitchens is considered an island layout with a table for cooking and quick meals in the middle of the room. Of course, in the colonial houses there were spacious dining rooms, but the servants usually ate separately from the owners. It can be decorated with forged elements, covered with a tablecloth and decorated with a bowl of fruit.
The colonial-style bathroom is tiled. If we are talking about the English direction, the “chess” made of terracotta tiles and a shade of wet asphalt on the walls will organically look. The floor is finished with light ceramic tiles laid in a herringbone with an attachment. Furniture for a bathroom is chosen from a tree (specially processed) of light brown shades. The wall above the sink is decorated with a rectangular mirror in a simple frame. On both sides of it place simple fixtures. The traditional bath is decorated with brass and stands on elegant legs, as in all classic interiors. Clay vessels, dishes, miniature elephants inlaid with stones are placed on the countertop near the sink.
Studio apartment interior
Colonial style is ideal for studio decoration. If you use the French direction, you can zone a large room with a classic interior using mobile screens typical of Asian interiors. The accent wall is covered with fabric wallpaper, and the rest of the surface is plastered. By the way, it is better to keep textiles away from the “kitchen” zone. The bedroom can be closed with curtains and added to the zoning a couple of pots with plants that are symmetrically placed on the floor. Alternatively, one wall can be decorated with a series of paintings by naturalists or Indian paintings, African ritual elements.
Colonial style - stands out among many classic trends. Centuries later, it did not lose its relevance. The conditions for the appearance of the style were so peculiar that it is strikingly different from other directions, becoming a reflection of the bloody era of conquests and the great time of geographical discoveries. Any traveler or sailor longed to take with him a piece of his homeland, which was most clearly manifested in the interiors of dwellings, but he could not avoid a collision of his own culture with an unknown local one. Inquisitive minds, which curiosity pushed literally thousands of miles from home, absorbed new information with greed. The combination of national motifs of developed metropolises and developing colonies resulted in a unique style, the beauty of which strikes minds to this day.