Gothic Interior Design Characteristics & History Explained

Gothic style interior design is a popular and an evergreen style from historic period timeline that reflects highly decorative and ornamental design approach.

Interior design is an interesting field that is gaining popularity worldwide with new, and old concepts executed smartly.

Interior designers use different period styles for decorating modern interiors.

Among many styles Gothic interior design characteristics are used very creatively to enhance modern interior spaces.

Historic timeline is full of wonderful interior design styles with unique characteristics. Gothic interior design among them is a popular style practiced till today.

Gothic style has wonderful features that are source of inspiration for modern day interior designers and architects.

This short, but focused article will answer Gothic style interior design features and influences.

So, let’s dive in..

Gothic Interior Design Characteristics- Gothic Inspired Modern Interior Style

Gothic time period emerged between 12th and 16th century in Europe. Gothic period is also know as dark period or middle ages.

Gothic interior style is a heavily pointed architectural influenced style and highly ornate in its use of design elements.

Gothic architecture is mostly dominated by church building and huge castles.

These church building and castles were constructed tall with ornate pillars, pointed arch architecture, pediments with creature and decorative patterns, stained glass windows with religious subject matters, flying buttresses, and high ceilings.

Abbot suger (1081-1151 CE) was a power figure in French history, he was the man behind the invention of Gothic style buildings.

He was the man behind the first ever build Gothic style Cathedral “The Basilica of Saint Denis”.

Gothic architectural buildings have this peculiar vibe of mystery and suspense created due to high ceilings, gloomy and dark interior architecture, and very heavy ornamental design elements.

Gothic interior design elements of design revolve around these strong attractive characteristics.

Interior designers practice gothic interior design ideas with a unique blend of modern touch in creating wonderful ambience

Stone and glass were the dominating materials that made up the Gothic architecture.

European castles and churches are a true reflections of Gothic architectural style.

Interior designer use Gothic style for creating ambience. They used Gothic style characteristics to their advantage in selecting or custom designing of furniture, accessories and fixtures.

Let’s dive in and explore the Gothic style characteristics modern interior designers use in their projects.

Related Article: What is Gothic Furniture Style? (Explained)

Gothic Interior Features

There many myths associated with the Gothic period or dark ages. The stories of vampires, werewolf, and Dracula are the most common.

People remember Gothic period as full of mysteries and suspense. The over all concept of Gothic period is represented as dark and gloomy.

Interior design style of Gothic period has an approach that is pretty much a combination of dark, and vibrant,  blend of design elements.

Here are a few Gothic interior characteristics:

  • Highly Decorative Design

Interior designers follow the key characteristic of highly decorative and ornamental approach in all the interior design elements.

ornate design

This decorative and ornamental use of design elements can be seen in various forms.

From interior architecture detailing, furniture, fixtures, fabrics to accessories like paintings, lamps and sculptures.

Gothic interior design is full of creative, mysterious surprises.

Mostly these highly decorative design treatments highlight the interior detailing of spaces in Gothic interior design approach.

Related Read: Gothic Art Function Explained 

Decorative and ornamental design approach is with a doubt the key character of Gothic period.

  • Combination of Rich and Dull Colors

Gothic castles are full of vibrant colored velvet fabrics, dull color furniture polish color tones to gloomy and mysterious mythical paintings.

European Gothic period castles have high ceilings and beautiful big windows to let the natural lights lit the inside spaces.

Modern interior designers create attractive ambience through Medieval or Gothic interior design style.

Designers use vibrant rich colors in tapestries with delicate ornamental embroidery patterns to represent the Modern Gothic look in their residential and commercial projects.

Dark and dull color tones at the same time in furniture and fixtures compliment the Medieval period character.

  • Use of Sculptures

Sculptures have been an essential part of architectural spaces.

Gothic buildings have different sculptural subject matters attached to its façade, and as stand alone art pieces.

Modern interior designers use sculptural fixtures in interior spaces and also in furniture pieces to reflect Gothic style.

  • Use of Wood and Stones

Stones and dark wood is yet another dominant character of Gothic interior design.

The use of wood and stone wherever they makes sense in creating an ambience is a typical Medieval period characteristic.

Interior designers use dark polished wooden floors, and paneling on walls pretty much similar to Gothic castles and churches in their classic Interior projects.

  • Use of Pointed furniture and Design Elements

Pointed arches and pediments are a typical Gothic design elements not to be missed if you want to follow Gothic style.

Interior designers use pointed furniture sofa and chair backs with solid wood in dominance to portray the Middle ages style.

Furniture in Gothic style is heavily carved and bigger in size.

The medieval beds have four posts with decorative carvings and like wise have bigger headboards.

These headboards are carved with various subject matters like wine scrolls, animals, birds and in many cases mysterious creatures.

The chairs and other furniture items like consoles and night stands are dark in polish and have heavy carvings at legs and arm rests.

  • Ornamental Wooden Fireplace

Fireplaces have always been a symbol of luxury and style in classic style architecture.

Modern luxury houses and mansions also have fireplaces as a symbol of unique style and luxury.

One of the most eye catching feature in medieval castles are heavily decorative and ornamental fireplaces.

These fireplaces in castles have their own mysterious looking presence.

Interior designers capture the same look and style in classic style study rooms.

  • Rugs and Tapestries

Gothic period has beautiful tapestries and rugs as an important character.

The extreme cold conditions led to the idea of wall hanging tapestries and floor rugs.

Interior designers can use these two medieval characteristics to reflect the look.

Tapestries patterns in Gothic style are very much mythical with stories of creatures,

Floral patterns along with divine concepts narrated in pictography is what Gothic tapestries stands for as a decorative accessory.

Colors in rugs and Tapestries range between a combination of brighter and dull tones.

Gothic Castle Charateristics

These are a few of the main characteristics of Gothic styles.

Gothic Revival Interior Design Characteristics – How to Create Modern Gothic Interior Design Looks

Modern interior designers have interestingly revived Gothic interior design attributes in decorating ideas.

Designers create unique blend of Gothic design features with modern elements to build admiring ambience.

Here are a few ways they achieve revival of Gothic period interior style.

  • Interior designers create interior architectural details like installation of moldings with ornamentation that resemble Gothic style.

They create very settle blend of these ornamentation with modern looks.

  • Designers create feature walls also k ow as accent walls with colors that match Gothic color schemes. (Combination of dark yet pleasing colors). They install moldings and frames with Gothic decor elements and finishes.
  • Modern interior designers use pointed window, arches and interior doors to match with one of the key and strongest resembling Gothic characteristic.
  • The revival of Gothic characteristic through the use of materials like stone, stain glass, and wood in deep finishes.
  • Modern houses and mansions are furnished with With typical Gothic style fireplace. Stones and pebbles along with wood are smartly used in a combination to give modern yet Gothic revived look.
  • Heavy upholstery fabrics/soft furnishings like velvets, leather and silks are used with embroidery and embellishments. The embroidery patterns portray the revival of Gothic style designs and treatments.
  • Interior designers use decorative accessories that reflects Gothic characteristic along with warm dramatic lighting to capture the air of Gothic ambience.

These are a few ways interior designers capture Modern Gothic interior design looks.

FAQ – Gothic Style Interior Design

What is Gothic Décor Called?

Gothic style is a historical design style that is a popular Hallmark of United Kingdom and Europe.

Gothic decor style can be seen in Cathedrals and Castles in UK and throughout Europe, especially France, and Italy.

For this reason Gothic Décor style is also know as French Style.

What Does Gothic Furniture Look Like?

Gothic furniture is heavily influenced by the Gothic architectural design.

The heavy volume of furniture with pointed arches incorporated in design, dark polish and intricate patterns are one of the Gothic furniture character.

The use of sculptural figures, and heavy woven tapestry upholstery in dark yet vibrant colors is another Gothic interior design traits.

The Gothic furniture was heavily ornate with elements taken from Gothic architectural style.

What are Gothic Colors?

Gothic period colors are very typical. They are most frequently used in furniture, fabrics, accessories and over all color scheme.

Here are some typical Gothic colors:

  • Dark Purple
  • Dark Green
  • Grey
  • Deep Blue
  • Deep  burgundy
  • Dark Brown
  • Midnight Blue
  • Pumpkin Orange
  • Blood Red

These colors can be seen throughout Gothic decor style.

How do I Turn My House into a Gothic House?

Gothic style has very peculiar features that can be incorporated easily into any house.

Anyone can apply these characteristics easily.

Here is what you need to do turn your house into a Gothic House.

  • Use typical Gothic color palette
  • Select heavily ornate furniture
  • Use intricate patterns in interior architecture and fabrics
  • Use heavy fabric for upholstery
  • Use dark floral and animal pattern wallpaper
  • Use crown moldings
  • Build a heavy ornate big fireplace

What is The Most Important Feature of Gothic Architecture?

Gothic architecture has a significant influence on buildings built afterwards.

Gothic architecture surprisingly is combination of many noticable elements or features.

Pointed arches are the most important feature of Gothic architecture.

Pointed arches shifted the weight on to the columns so that high vaulted ceiling could be constructed.

Gothic architecture appreciated heights and verticality therefore pointed arches played a vital role in construction.

Interior designers used this feature as Gothic interior design traits effectively in decorating different interior elements.

These characteristics can easily create a Gothic style look of your house.

Final Thoughts

Gothic interior design features blend well with classic and modern architecture in creating beautiful ambience.

Interior designers use various styles to design and decorate their projects.

Sometimes historic references offer the right solutions for creating interior design ambience.

Gothic design is an attractive style that can offer solutions for modern architectural spaces.

Interior designers capture the traits of Gothic style, and use them creatively to enhance interior details in ceilings, walls and floors.

Gothic style has all the mystery and elegance to remain as an evergreen source of inspiration for interior designers and architects.

Written by: Adil Masood Qazi