Elegant, artistic, luxurious, flirtatious… Rococo is a lavish decorative style that dominated interior design, paintings, sculptures and architecture of 18th century Europe. Just picture the movie set of Kirsten Dunst’s Marie Antoinette and you’ll understand completely.
Defined by luxurious materials, superior craftsmanship, gold gilding, scrolls and flourishes, Rococo — also known as late Baroque — originated in France during the reign of Louis XIV, who had the Palace of Versailles dripping with silk, statues and tapestries.
1 Oversized & curvaceous
2 Luxurious materials
3 Soft pastel colour palette
4 Superior craftsmanship
5 Gold gilding & metallic elements
6 Scrolls & flourishes
7 Lavish ornamentation
Brimming with a wealth and drama once reserved only for the likes of kings and queens, this opulent style has been surprisingly enduring throughout the ages as a glamorous way to instantly amplify the luxe in living rooms and boudoirs with statement pieces reminiscent of the era. Think oversized velvet sofas, crystal chandeliers and upholstered bedheads and it’s clear to see the Rococo style is still very much a cornerstone of interior design, even in the modern day.
An authentic Rococo interior is a visual feast of patterned wallpapering, gilt-bronze and excessive ornamentation. It’s decadent and divine. Yet it’s unlikely anyone wants to recreate it in their homes these days… at least not to that degree. As with any interior design style, incorporating it into your home is about cherry-picking elements from the theme to tailor the look you love within your modern aesthetic and requirements.
Take, for instance, a sumptuous sofa upholstered in vibrant velvet with gorgeous curves. The centrepiece of a living room, a well-selected settee can beautifully reflect the Rococo era without overwhelming the space. Rolled arms, turned legs, opulent velvet and shapely skirting are all beautifully romantic, while rich shades and pastels are fun and flirtatious.
Superior craftsmanship is a trademark of this opulent era, such as a gracefully carved piece of furniture with cabriole or turned legs. Visualise a long dining table topped with roast meats, ripe figs, aged cheeses and fine wines laid out for family and friends to feast upon…
While a banquet-length grand dining table may not be practical for those of us without palaces, an extendable version can be spacious when entertaining and space-saving in the everyday. Or get a smaller table paired with luxe velvet chairs or stylish cross-backs to complete the lavish look.
Finally — and perhaps most importantly — is a bed fit for a queen. Whether a grand 4-poster bed adorned with luscious linen curtains or an enchanting upholstered bedhead in velvet, the bedroom should be filled with the fairytale romance of the age of monarchs and aristocrats. Top your bed with plenty of plump pillows to create a dreamy escape.
Add an additional layer of playfulness to your bedroom or living room with Renaissance-inspired soft furnishings and framed prints that echo the era, complete with a striking chandelier, sumptuous rug and regal upholstered armchair for the true royal treatment.