The history of interior design dates back to ancient Egypt. Thanks to the sumptuously decorated tombs they show that the tombs were decorated not only as a tribute to the last resting place of the pharaohs, but also as a way to provide comfort in the afterlife. Only the pharaohs and high officials enjoyed the privilege of lying in richly decorated tombs for eternal life.
The interior design of the tombs and pyramids was carefully elaborated, incorporating secret passageways and labyrinths to mislead thieves. These were the beginnings of interior design history dating back to 5000 years BC. Interior design was associated with a caste with an exquisite lifestyle and in the beginning of its history, it was a significant element of religious or mystical beliefs.
Interior design as we know it today, can be seen for example in the structures of the Roman Empire, where the houses were comfortable and had rooms with different functionalities.
The legacy of the Romans in interior design was the concept that the design of the interior of a building was as important as that of the exterior. In the Roman dwellings of the wealthy, separate spaces were created for optimal comfort during the summer season and the cold season.
The Romans carefully arranged their rooms based on the function of the main hall and the time of year. In the summer they used rooms in which they could take advantage of the breezes, and different rooms in winter that gave extra protection against the cold.
During the Italian Renaissance, the wealthiest became interested in the arts and began to hire artists to decorate homes. Function, form and color were the main themes in the palaces of the rich.
The courts of "the louis" in France, the kings from Louis XIV to Louis XVI competed for the best decoration and interior design of their palaces or chateaus embracing the rococo to identify themselves as their king. Interior design was the privilege of kings and consorts who could enjoy the knowledge and resources to buy well-known tapestries, rugs, artisans, fabrics, furniture, and artists to invest in their homes. The Louis XV furniture that later became massed shows a time when interior design was the way of life of the reigning caste.
From the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, the industrial revolution, made interior design (without as much ornamentation as before) available to the salaried masses, who until then did not know this concept. With the rise in popularity of art, wealthy patrons began to support the arts, and more interior spaces began to be designed with form and functionality in mind.
The advent of the Industrial Revolution provided the opportunity for even those of the "middle class" to use interior design for their homes and businesses.
The interior design practice has evolved from interior decorating. It is a process that follows "a systematic and coordinated methodology", according to the National Council for Interior Design. There are strict codes and regulatory requirements that must be followed, and the principles of environmental sustainability are encouraged.
The advent of the machine age during the Industrial Revolution gave way to several influential styles in the field of interior design.
Art Deco started in the 20th century, after the industrialist movement, but it only really became popular after World War I, when movies like "42nd Street" and "The Grand Hotel" were promoted. It is a very eclectic style that even includes aspects of ancient Egyptian designs.
From there, each decade brought new styles and designs, but many still opt for the ambient design of the past. Decor often offers a simple, timeless look influenced by nature and craftsmanship, while those in search of romance and elegance may prefer a shabby chic decorating style. Travel- or heritage-inspired designs include French, Tuscan, and various Asian country flair to name a few.
From the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, the industrial revolution, made interior design (without as much ornamentation as before) available to the salaried masses, who until then did not know this concept.