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5 Vintage Interior Designers to know about for their use of pattern and colour

It has been wonderful to see a continuing increase in the use of pattern, detail and bold palettes within interior and product design recently. With people spending more time at home in the past 15 months than ever before- filling our houses with beauty, colour and art seems to have been a comfort for many people. Keep reading to hear about 5 interior designers who really set those trends that we see everywhere today.

As a printed textiles designer, some of my favourite projects have been on Interiors fabrics and wallpapers (see image below), so the designers mentioned below are a constant source of inspiration, and I hope they can be to you too. If you are wowed by any particular style below and would like to create something similar in your own decorating projects, contact us here to see how our bespoke wallpaper and textile designs can bring a personal touch to your interiors.

A photo of a room with a pink chair and lots of jungle plants in black pots. The wallpaper is of an abstract scenic painting, with blue brushstrokes in the background and white buildings with yellow and pink rooves, and palm trees.
Fira Wallpaper by George Prints Studio.

In this post I’m going to introduce you to 5 interior designers who worked in the early- mid 19th century and who were known for revolutionising the way we use colour and pattern in interior design. Their works consistently influence interiors and homeware trends and products still; think Banana leaf prints, indoor jungles and pink/green colour combinations.

First though, a quote by William Morris:

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Items in the home should either be useful, or bring joy through their beauty, and for many this will be through colour, texture or pattern. The interior designers featured in this post seemed to understand this better than most with their exuberant style and fantastical palette choices.

Keep reading to see which 20th Century designers used bold colour and pattern selections in their work over the years. If you feel inspired by these looks and would like to create something similar in your decorating projects, contact us here to see how our bespoke wallpaper and textile designs can bring a sense of uniqueness to your space.


Dorothy Draper (1889-1969)

Inventor of the original banana leaf print, Dorothy Draper's 'Brazilliance' wallpaper was designed over 80 years ago, in 1937, and is still available to buy today. Draper started her interior design business in 1925 and used dramatic colour schemes, and lots of Chintz. Queen of glamour and a leading interior designer within Hollywood, she designed many iconic wallpapers and fabrics which are still used today. Her company still looks after the interiors at The Greenbrier Hotel.


Elsie De Wolfe (1865-1950)

Known as America's first decorator, Elsie De Wolfe started out as an actress, before setting up her decorating business in 1905. She was commissioned to decorate the first exclusive Womens' club in New York, The Colony Club. De Wolf revolutionised the tastes of the time- from dark, heavy Victorian style interiors, to feminine, bright and airy rooms, decorated with Chintz and her signature use of trellis on the walls. Her book "The House in Good Taste" was a seminal work on Interior Design.


Madaleine Castaing (1894-1992)

Madeleine Castaing was a French interior decorator, known for her love of mixing furniture and styles from different eras of design, as well as introducing the world of interior design to animal print. Part interior decorator, part antiques dealer, part art champion, Castaing was the one of the first to decorate with collections of sourced antiques, artworks and patterned surfaces. Her designs fused kitsch, glamour and all importantly, the client's true personality.


Sister Parish (1910-1994)

Socialite turned Interior Designer, Sister May Parish was influential in founding what has become known as the American Country Style. She paired casual, printed fabrics and light rooms, creating a feminine, whimsical feel that championed crafts. She was hired for various projects by Jackie Kennedy in the late 1950s and was asked to decorate the White House upon John F. Kennedy's election in 1960. Her company still produces iconic fabrics and wallpapers today.


Tony Duquette (1914-1999)

Tony Duquette was a well known painter, sculptor and jeweller whose style and exuberance was often called upon for interior design commissions. His career started in the film and theatre industries, where he designed sets and costumes. As a result, his interior designs showed a theatrical element, being full of life and making a dramatic statement. In the 1960's and 70's, Duke designed interiors for Elizabeth Arden as well as commercial clients such as the Hilton and Ritz hotels, whilst still designing sets and costumes for Ballets, Opera's and Films and winning a Tony award for best costume design.

I hope you found this post inspiring; I know I had a design revelation when I heard about each of the above design icons. Check back for next months blog post on our top pick of beautiful patterned products that we all NEED in our homes. If you feel inspired by the looks in this post and would like to create something similar in your decorating projects, contact us here to commission bespoke wallpapers for your space.


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