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Mastering Neoclassical Interior Design: Your Ultimate Guide to Achieving the Look

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

living room with neoclassical interior design

Neoclassical interior design takes inspiration from the past and attracts us with its beautiful looks. We often find ourselves drawn to classical architecture and design elements. There's something very attractive about how this style uses balance, accuracy, and size. This is why the reinvented version of neoclassical design for modern times is becoming more and more popular. And here's how you can bring this desirable style into your home.

What is Neoclassical Interior Design?

living room with a blue couch and columns in neoclassical style

A really popular trend nowadays is modern or luxury neoclassical style. But the reason it looks so stunning goes back to the 18th century, a time known as the Age of Reason. Back then, artists and thinkers looked at the smart and balanced ways of the old times for inspiration. They did this because they wanted to step away from the fancy and short-lived style of Rococo design.

For this reason, the insides of buildings have changed. They went from being overly decorated to having balanced and simple looks. That's why, instead of lots of decorations, basic designs like columns and neat cornices have become really important. In modern neoclassical design though there is an added touch for opulent looks.

History of Neoclassical Interior Design

In the middle of the 18th century in Europe, the richest people looked back at old architecture and design principles for ideas. They liked the way things were built in ancient times and how architect Andrea Palladio from the Renaissance did things. This way of designing influenced both how the inside and outside of buildings looked.

After the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were discovered in the 1700s, people got even more interested in this design style, especially in France and Italy. Most often the design was mimicked in decorating interiors.

Even today, this style is still liked, although it's been updated a bit. It's not as fancy as the very ornate Rococo and Baroque styles that came before it. Neoclassical design has a charm that doesn't get old. You can see lots of examples of neoclassical buildings in many parts of the world.

What Makes Neoclassical Design Unique

double staircase in neoclassical style

To start making a desirable neoclassical interior design, you need to understand what makes it special. It has a fancy feel, like a classic interior design. Also, this style looks at both old-fashioned architecture and fancy modern design that never goes out of style.

Elements of Neoclassical Decoration

Both modern and original neoclassical interior designs have similar parts. But what sets them apart is that in today's version, we use furniture that's slim and a bit more simple in style. Still, here are the main things that two neoclassical interior types have in common:

  • Clear horizontal and vertical lines in the design.

  • Furniture and artwork that look timeless.

  • Balanced layouts have things on both sides and shapes like squares and rectangles used for decoration.

  • Classical details in the architecture, like columns from ancient Greece and really tall ceilings.

  • Roomy designs with only a few furniture pieces, aiming for a stylish yet not too crowded look.

  • Big windows and mirrors that let a lot of light come into the rooms.

The Best Tips for a Neoclassical Interior

Making your home look neoclassical in style, whether it's the living room or bathrooms, is simple enough if you understand how to do it. Here's a quick and easy explanation of the basics.

1. Consider Color

neoclassical great room with blue couch and grey walls

The modern neoclassical style of interior design uses colors like gentle grays, blues, greens, and yellows. These are usually paired with white and cream colors. The colors come from the same hue palette, but they might have small touches of black, silver, or gold to make important parts of the design stand out. This makes the whole place look both fancy and classy.

2. Dress Windows

window draping in a living room with tall ceilings

Neoclassical interior design comes with strong architectural features. Sometimes, it's a good idea to make these features look softer to maintain a good balance. That's why it's important to have curtains for the big windows and high ceilings. Curtains not only make the place feel cozier, but if you do it right, they can make the neoclassical style look even more impressive.

To do this well, make sure the curtains go from the floor to the ceiling and just touch the floor or bunch up slightly. Also, choose heavy materials like linen, velvet, silk, or fake silk that hang nicely. You can use these curtains to take the symmetry of this design style a step further.

3. Adding Matching Decorations

cream neoclassical living room with fireplace

Even though neoclassical interior design looks really fancy, it doesn't go overboard with decorations. This style believes in using just the right amount of decor to make a room look good. The main idea is to combine luxury and simplicity to create a calm and classy feeling.

Things like fancy China, statues, detailed vases, and mirrors fit well with neoclassical decorations in living rooms and other places. When you're decorating your home, be careful about what you choose: go for things that not only make the space look better but also deserve attention on their own. For example, a beautiful vase with nice flowers looks better when it's the focus instead of being crowded with too many things. The same goes for eye-catching artwork or standout decorations.

4. Neoclassical Patterns

wall molding in a luxurious living room

The neoclassical way of decorating is simple and graceful, and you can see this in the patterns they use. Usually, the walls are quite plain, except for some paneling with flowery or step-like designs. Near the ceiling, there might be cornice molding to complete the look of the room.

When you're decorating your home, you can add patterns as a special touch. Things like pillows or rugs are great for adding neoclassical patterns. Try repeating design and paired floral patterns.

5. Incorporate Architectural Elements

living room with tall columns and floor to ceiling windows

If you're starting to plan how your home will look, think about adding neoclassical architectural parts. This means having tall walls, big windows, columns, and big rooms—all of these together create a great starting point. Also, consider using light-colored wood or marble-covered floors to make the place look fancy yet simple.

6. Use Large Mirrors

living room with oversized mirrors

Mirrors in neoclassical interior design do two things at once. They act as decorative pieces that are both classy and useful. Mirrors can be used to create symmetry in the room that is so key for neoclassical style and will add light to the room. And an opulent frame of a neoclassical or french style mirror can make uniform straight lines look softer.

7. Amplify Scale

marble floors with columns in neoclassical style

One of the nicest things about modern neoclassical interior is how big and grand it looks. So, why not highlight that? There are ways to make the room seem even more spacious.

For example, leveraging light colors will make the room look even brighter, especially with white and beige floors. Tall architectural pieces like pillars or molding lines will make the room feel really grand and spacious. Large windows will add light, open up the room and elevate whatever there is outside to let your eye rest on.

8. Play with Symmetry

neoclassical room with chocolate walls

Symmetry is a big part of both old and modern neoclassical interior styles. Having things balanced in a design can look both formal and calming, as it feels organized.

You can try making the furniture layout symmetrical. Put two couches with matching roll-shaped arms and two comfy chairs on opposite sides around a fireplace. Another way is to show balance by using design details, like decorations on the walls, windows, or lights.

9. Matching Rugs

luxurious black and white living room

The right kind of rug can bring any style of room together. For neoclassical style, it's good to use old or vintage rugs. These rugs usually have patterns that come from nature. You'll often see flowers as a big part of the design. Or you can choose a pattern with shapes that look more modern. This wasn't common in the 18th century, but it looks really nice in today's world.

Usually, the best rugs for this style don't have big differences in color. But sometimes, having a black and white rug can make a certain part of the room stand out. This can add balance to the mix of colors that usually happens in neoclassical rooms.

Simply put: A soft and warm rug on the floor is a great finishing touch for a neoclassical home interior. It won't just look nice, but it can also help reduce any echoing sounds that often happen in big rooms with marble or hardwood floors. Also, a modern, soft area rug can make the space feel cozier and match the elegant vibe you're going for.


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