From high-grade craftsmanship to a healthy sprinkling of luxury, here are the Italian style secrets you should be using to upgrade your interiors game…
You’ve done Swedish minimalism. You’ve cosied things up with Danish Hygge. You’ve experimented with Japanese wabi-sabi. You know your design trends.
However, for your next dose of interiors inspo, it’s time to take a look at the Italian way of doing things.
With its gloriously OTT furnishings and elegant, made-to-last furniture, Italian style is both eye-catching and welcoming. Which is why it’s creeping into plenty of homes outside the mother country.
We spoke to Sonia Pash, interior designer and co-founder of Temza London, and Maurizio Pellizzoni, interior designer and founder of Maurizio Pellizzoni Ltd, to discover the Italian design lessons we should be bringing into our homes…
1. Mix up classics with modernism
A key element of contemporary Italian design is a willingness to play fast and loose with different periods, all within a single room.
“Think modern furniture pieces paired with elaborate cornices and a traditional-style chandelier,” says Pash. “The contrast looks stunning.
“Italian interiors don’t tend to be too matchy-matchy. Just pull things together from any era that takes your fancy and create your own style.”
Old-school art is another shortcut to creating that blend of periods.
“Antique oil paintings are a great flourish, and they don’t need to be crazy expensive. You can find lovely pieces by lesser-known artists in smaller auction houses or antique shops that should suit your budget.”
2. Don’t shy away from statement furniture
While minimalism has begun to creep into Italian interiors in recent times, there’s still plenty of scope for a bit of excess.
“A statement chair is the perfect device for introducing some beauty and creativity into your home,” says Pash. “It’s like a sculpture you can sit on.”
Think something along the lines of the Gala from Italian furniture brand Calligaris (pictured), with its retro design and contrasting blend of brass and velvet.
Choose something with striking, luxurious upholstery, and suddenly you’ve elevated an otherwise subdued room with a dash of Renaissance-inspired glamour. That being said, you don’t want to go the full Borgia…
“It’s about downplaying the bling with accent touches of elegant materials,” says Pellizzoni. “Think brass, marble or fine woods. The luxury is in the detail and proportions.”
3. Bring the catwalk into your living room
As a famously fashion-conscious nation, it’s easy to spot catwalk influences on Italian interiors.
“From colours, textures and materials down to the smallest design details, the new trends that show up on the runway usually make themselves present in the typical Italian home,” says Pash.
“Some of the big Italian fashion houses like Missoni or Versace have their own homeware lines, so if you like their prints on a dress, try looking for it on a throw or some cushions.”
However, if you don’t want to punish your bank balance by splashing out on a designer rug, you can always improvise.
“Try framing a silk scarf for some alternative wall décor,” says Pash. “Your outfit, your home… it’s all the same thing – an extension of your personality.”
4. Celebrate your dining space
The Italian dining room is a space bordering on the sacred, so it’s no surprise to see it taking pride of place in the average family home.
“In Italy, dining is at the heart of family living,” says Pellizzoni. “It’s where everyone gets together – not only to eat but to also spend time discussing family matters, so comfort is important.”
Choose a high-quality linen tablecloth, then do as the Italians do and dress with flowers and candles.
“Lighting is as important as the dining table itself – you’ve already got candles, so finish things off with a minimalist pendant light.
“It’s all about creating ambience.”
5. Make it personal
When it comes to personal design choices, Italians tend to like things just so.
Or as Pash puts it, “You don’t need to follow stylists and designers… if you like it, that’s all that matters”.
So when hunting for furniture, it’s worth shopping around to find somewhere that offers you the chance to make a piece your own.
The new Made To Order range from Calligaris is a good place to start. It’s a collection of 17 of the brand’s iconic chairs, every single one of which can be customised to your specific preferences, so you can give free rein to your design instincts.
Each chair is available in one of 100 different leather and fabric upholsteries, giving you plenty of scope to create a stand-out piece.
And if you somehow manage to exhaust all of those possibilities, you can even supply your own choice of material for a truly unique creation.
To help add to your interior flare, try the new Made To Order range from Calligaris - available to buy now in-store or to view online.