History as Art


Art for modern interior design isn’t just paintings or abstract sculpture. Increasingly, homeowners are looking to history to anchor a sense of style in room decor. The everyday objects, movables, and even paperwork of centuries past prove to be beautiful pieces of art and culture to adorn living spaces with, as the following examples show:


The term “antique” is one which means different things to different people, as any trip to a flea market will show. In short, antiques are items over 50 years old (anything new is “vintage”) and are visibly identifiable with a particular time and place. It could be an old clock, an old vase, or an old lamp. Often times antiques represent a particular period in industrial design, and therefore make fascinating pieces of art for living space.


Finding authentic busts from classical antiquity on the open market and at a price range for most readers will be near impossible. However, beautifully crafted replicas of the likenesses of ancient philosophers, politicians, poets, and military geniuses are much easier to come across. These recreations often have the benefit of being intact. Plus, they go great with preexisting marble installations in a given room.


Preserved pottery makes up a vast majority of historical artifacts available for private collectors. Ceramic objects existed in virtually all cultures throughout recorded history, providing homeowners with seemingly endless options for colors, patterns, sizes, shapes, and of course, price. Ceramic vases, pots, and other vessels are, of course, incredibly fragile, so it’s a wise policy to keep these items several feet from where foot traffic is common if used for decorative purposes.


An often overlooked genre of historical artifacts are documents featuring the written words and/or signatures of famous figures throughout time. The Raab Collection is one such showcase of signed historical documents available for purchase by members of the public. Whether it’s the written reflections of US Presidents or a speech signed by the Queen, these documents illuminate personalities of the past in ways even photographs can’t equal. Needless to say, they make for terrific conversation starters when framed and hung on the wall.


Vintage furniture, especially manufactured in the mid to late 20th century, has the potential to make a dominating statement within a room. The different styles of the different decades each came with their patterns, colors, shapes, and priorities. Of course, as is the situation with anything of a value, a perfectly preserved sofa from the 1970s might not be best suited for the living room of a growing family. Perhaps it’s better placed in a parlor or other less used section of the home?


Tapestries, rugs, and even clothing can help paint a portrait of the past through interior design. Hanging these items up on the walls can reveal how sophisticated our ancestors were in their manufacturing abilities. Mix the right colors and shades and the dustiest, dirtiest old gown from the 18th century can seem perfect for framing and hanging on the wall of the room in question


This one is probably best suited for the “man caves” out there. Once upon a time, before the industrial age, weapons and armaments were individually handcrafted with precision and utmost care. In short, a seemingly rusty and imperfect blade represents state of the art medieval craftsmanship. Plus, if a zombie apocalypse ever breaks out, there’s an arsenal at the ready.

Artifacts from the past make for beautiful additions to any room of the house. What may appear to be faded, broken hunks of junk are often the remnants of a bygone era of artistic expression. Consider incorporating historical artifacts, antiques, and vintage items into your next home remodel job. Your ancestors will like your sense of taste.