Decorating an Old World Style Home Office

Updated on October 20, 2019
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Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

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Old world home decor adds a distinctive charm to your home office. Accessorizing tapestries, sculptures, area rugs and artwork will create a medieval flair. Dark furnishings and elegant decor is quite similar to the style of a European estate manor.

Much of old world design is based on a palette of rich colors, substantial furniture and textural layers. There are many materials and furnishings available to help you achieve the look without breaking the bank. Capture the essence of the old country by adding a few simple touches or tackling a complete home office redesign.

Old World Architecture

Wooden beams often span the ceiling to help support the roof and also creates architectural balance. A number of architecture elements are geometric and spatial configurations within in a room.

Significant old world features include arched doorways and windows, classical columns, curved ceilings and elaborate plaster moldings that blend feminine and masculine design. An architectural component adds a striking element to your office with rustic ceiling wood beams or choose molded foam beams at a fraction of the cost of actual wood.

A variety of masculine and feminine elements work into and old world architecture.
A variety of masculine and feminine elements work into and old world architecture. | Source

Combination of European Styles

Old world design merges European styles that span century old castles, estates and villas that include medieval, Renaissance and romanticism. The influences originate from various regions, such as Great Britain and eastern Europe plus Spain, France and Italy along the Mediterranean or the interior of the countryside. No matter where the old world is rooted, the ancient and classical times express a distinguished air from past centuries.

An old world study is a charming blend of European design.
An old world study is a charming blend of European design. | Source

Time Travel Design

If you prefer an old and new world style, you can create the illusion of time travel. With one foot in the European's past, this distinctive style constitutes a combination of current designs.

The trend of old world design conveys a unique interaction of modern, cozy, formal and minimal. A mix of antique and current furniture styles look distressed, sleek and fanciful. Some furnishings are quite contemporary and luxurious. Have fun decorating your office by creating a sense of the past adding a minimalistic feel.

The past and present give this old world office an elegant contemporary design.
The past and present give this old world office an elegant contemporary design. | Source

Saturated Colors and Textures

Choose textured stucco, wood paneling or a simple wash of paint and glaze on the walls to achieve the look of an ancient castle or weathered villa. Acceptable natural wall colors are varieties of umber, sienna, gray, brown, russet, beige and ochre.

The authenticity of old world design is a lived-in feel that highlights an antique weathered appearance. Texture hand-trawled walls and tumbled travertine epitomizes the archaic style. Patinas and honed finishes are more desirable rather than highly polished and reflective surfaces.

Textured flooring options include dark, rustic wood planks, simulated wood laminate or tumbled stone tiles. Lay random large scale tiles in various sizes or choose a herringbone wood floor pattern to create a classic old world look.

Rustic features and elegant furniture is definitely the hallmark of old world design.
Rustic features and elegant furniture is definitely the hallmark of old world design. | Source

Opulent Fabrics

Use textural fabrics in rich colors and patterns for upholstery, drapes and pillows. Chenilles, antiqued silks, velvets and damasks are right at home in your old world office. A leather desktop and comfy club chairs create the perfect contrast to sumptuous textiles.

Persian rugs are authentic choices for this decor and coordinate well with brocade wall tapestries. For something unusual, you could also use understated jute or seagrass area rugs to add a trendy twist to your decor vision.

Gorgeous fabrics, cross stitch accents and an oriental rug.
Gorgeous fabrics, cross stitch accents and an oriental rug. | Source

Notable Furniture Pieces

The furniture of old Europe is commonly constructed of iron, rustic woods or fine hardwoods with accents of leather and stone. Select office furniture pieces with character and appear as if they were collected over time instead purchasing a matching set. Choose dark, rich wood furniture finishes that coordinate with the room's architectural elements.

Dark wood gives the old world furniture a rich, European flavor.
Dark wood gives the old world furniture a rich, European flavor. | Source

Romantic Accessories and Lighting

A large ceramic urn in the warm colors of a Tuscan sunset add visual interest as a floor accent. Coordinate smaller accessories in shades of red, cobalt, olive green and sunflower yellow--colors found in the hand painted pottery of the region. Opt for leather desk accessories to keep your office design true to it's old world roots.

Wrought iron chandeliers, sconces and task lighting in rubbed bronze or rust finishes are the best choices to enhance natural light and add warmth to your office. Consider adorning the walls of your office with an iron wall grille, an ornate tapestry, landscape prints, a large antique clock and an oversize cork board with a ornate frame.

Beautiful accessories and lighting in a Tuscan home library.
Beautiful accessories and lighting in a Tuscan home library. | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Linda Chechar

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      • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

        Linda Chechar 

        4 weeks ago from Arizona

        Hi Liz! You could design a version of a small-scale old world office in a typical size home instead of a huge McMansion.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        4 weeks ago from UK

        These look great. Unfortunately this style tends to take up space. Maybe there is scope for an article on maximising space in a small home office.

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