Italy. The name alone conjures different images and connections. Some may associate the country with amazing food and delicacies, striking art and romantic scenery. For others, immaculate architecture may come to mind. As someone who has traveled to the county for both personal and professional endeavors, Italy encompasses so many beautiful aspects about modern and contemporary culture. I’ve taken my experiences there and incorporated them into my work, and I think my design projects are so much better for it. When it comes to travel-inspired design, Italy’s culture and visual aesthetic have definitely impacted what I do as an interior designer.
The Italian Look
Integrating visual aspects of Italy is extremely achievable in most spaces. While historical Italian architecture relied on ornate exterior details, much of its present-day design is extremely minimal, both inside and out. I definitely look to incorporate this in my interior projects. I fully believe that less is more, and I achieve that by using fewer elements in a space that are higher in quality. A significant sectional allows me to use one sizeable piece of furniture but keep an open, inviting space. I also look to utilize pieces that serve multifunctional purposes or double as storage. Both of these options allow me to maximize functionality in an interior and keep clutter to a minimum.
Lighting can help accent the elevated appeal of a clean, minimal space. My visits to Italy allowed me to explore and better define how I incorporate various forms of light in my design. I noticed many of the hotels and places I visited emphasize natural and soft lighting. Whether by lamps or wall sconces, chandeliers or broad window treatments, light choices play a key role in adding interest and affecting the senses within a space. Being intentional with lighting options is another travel-inspired design tip that I adopted from my Italian counterparts.
With open space and lighting in play, I love that most Italian spaces have a neutral color base. Not only does this accent the fresh, airy appeal of their overall aesthetic, but it also allows designers to use sharp pops of color in home or room décor. Using an ivory or white foundation opens up so many possibilities to infuse the most gorgeous Mediterranean colors. Shades of terracotta orange, yellow, and hues of blue work especially well in this region—and it can do the same in your space!
The Italian Way of Life
When I think about travel-inspired design, I also consider cultural influences beyond interior design aesthetics. Being in Italy taught me more about how to live life, not simply how to make my world look. I think that’s more important than anything I could do with furniture or home accessories. The Italian way of life is unapologetic when it comes to simply existing and enjoying life. I can’t think of anything more important to incorporate into a home space!
Observing daily living in Italy helped me capture the locals’ dedication to balance, both in life and in a home. I love that I spent time with people who worked hard but insisted on enjoying a glass of wine at 3 in the afternoon. It was a complement to the labor and effort exerted. The time consisted of enjoying conversation and camaraderie. And really, what else should life and time at home be? Simple enjoyment is so uncommon in the hustle-and-bustle lives most of us live. It was refreshing the first time I experienced this. Being in Italy helped center much of what I want to do with design. I continue to instill from Italy the idea of understated elegance and lavish relaxation in home design. It’s a part of the spirit and soul of my brand.
Italy is amazing for so many reasons. To me, it epitomizes the best of traditional and contemporary living. It also embodies refined sophistication and easy relaxation. My heart’s work in interior design sits directly in the middle of these, and I have my many visits to this beautiful country to thank for it.