Our everything: Classic design in a small apartment!

Английский стиль в интерьере: прошлое и настоящее

Article from the “archives”. First published 2015, updated 2019

It is believed that “the air goes to the classics”, and the classic interiors are the interiors of a solid area. It’s right. It is also true that a classic is by no means contraindicated in a small apartment. Which of the attributes of the classic style can be used in a typical or modest apartment?

Pugachevich Studio

1. Approach to the interior – “soundly, for centuries”
No matter how tempting interior magazines write about fashion trends in design, in ordinary life you will not often meet people who are ready to change curtains according to the season, re-glue boring (but not yet worn out) wallpaper and repaint the walls to suit your mood. Most of us have both made repairs and live in it for many years until the next global reconstruction. The furnishings are changed only when necessary.
For most of us, the interior is not an end in itself, but only a background for life. A cozy house to which it is pleasant to return in the evenings, where it is convenient and pleasant to the eye. Many of us do not see any point in spending all our free time and money on its metamorphoses – we have other hobbies as well.

If you fall into this category, the calm classic is probably the best style for your interior. Only not the one with the columns and in gilding, but the “eternal”, which is not striking, does not tire, never goes out of fashion, looks dignified at all times and even grows old beautifully. It is a delusion to think that the classics are appropriate only where the ceilings and palace spaces are of colossal height. A range of classic things and techniques will benefit even small city apartments.

Classic style in the interior
Neoclassicism in the interior

dots & points | Irina Kireeva

2. Classic colors – calm
A lot of temptations await a person on the way to a high-quality classic interior. To begin with, you will have to give up such fashionable and alluring bright colors.

In the classic interior there are no flashy colors, only dense, calm, unobtrusive and noble shades pass through strict selection: white, beige, burgundy, brown, gray … If the room is small, light colors will look better.

Cabinet furniture is certainly made of dark wood or painted. Plain sofas and armchairs, all of the same conservative colors.
Walls and textiles are often in the same range: for example, variations on the theme of beige – from sandy to brown.


In the photo: an example of a monochrome interior in a beige and olive classic color scheme


3. Ornaments – time-tested
It is more difficult for someone to resist a variety of patterns and decors, designer prints. You just want to take them with you, but you shouldn’t. Time will pass, and they will begin to annoy you first.

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There is one more nuance. Making a small room look elegant and respectable is not an easy task. Bright prints and cheerful colors of course can bring liveliness and a certain variety, while they, so to speak, “cheapen” the interior.

A small space looks noble if monochromatic surfaces prevail in it. This does not mean, however, that you need to completely abandon any drawings. Count on designs and patterns that have stood the test of centuries: Greek meander and acanthus leaves, Scottish plaid and stripes, etc. If they have not bored humanity for many centuries, then we probably will not get on our nerves too.

The main thing is that the ornaments are not too intrusive and are present in small quantities.

Polina Pidtsan

In the photo: an example of a classic ornament for curtains

Pavel Burmakin / SumburBuro

In the photo: the cage, for all its simplicity, is one of the most suitable ornaments for the classics.

Mauro López Photography

4. Stucco molding, architectural details
But the main decoration of a classic interior is not dusty colors or even some specific ornaments, but plaster! Moldings, skirting boards, ceiling friezes, molded rosettes and other architectural elements: they set the tone for the entire environment.

Such style-forming details bring to the interior the classic severity, order and solidity, which are so lacking in most small apartments.

Marina Filippova Designs

Of course, it is not worth loading low ceilings with stucco decoration, but ceiling plinths, even if not very wide, will still come in handy. They will make the interior stricter, more noble and help get rid of the feeling of a small box.
It’s like with a painting: even the smallest and most inconspicuous looks much better in a frame.

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It is better not to skimp on the width of the baseboards. The wider they are, the more respectable the interior will look.

Valentina Saveskul

Of course, it is not worth loading low ceilings with stucco decoration, but ceiling plinths, even if not very wide, will still come in handy. They will make the interior stricter, more noble and help get rid of the feeling of a small box.
It’s like with a painting: even the smallest and most inconspicuous looks much better in a frame.

It is better not to skimp on the width of the baseboards. The wider they are, the more respectable the interior will look.

Katya Gerdt workshop

Don’t forget about moldings and panels. With their help, you can dilute plain walls without going beyond the classical canons.

Korneev Design Workshop

Idea with a photo: stucco molding and its imitation is perfectly mounted not only on ceilings – it can be used to decorate walls and even doors. At the same time, even a little “hooliganism”.

Samantha Friedman Interior Designs

5. Symmetry is the basis of a classic interior
Symmetrical hanging of paintings, arrangement of furniture, lamps, also make the whole atmosphere more static, solid and neat.

Symmetry is generally comfortable and pleasant to a person on a subconscious level. In the interior, where it is clearly readable, we feel calm and confident: well, at least this small world is predictable.


6. Light – carob, decorative
Modest-sized apartments need good lighting more than others. The classic style gives a lot of the most varied possibilities to provide it. Floor lamps, sconces, table lamps, and most importantly – carob chandeliers (pictured). The latter give the most light, but rarely fit modern styles – all of this fits perfectly into our theme.

Mikhail Loskutov

Don’t forget about crystal! The Soviet years badly spoiled the reputation of crystal chandeliers, but it seems that they are triumphantly returning to our interiors. Recently, very worthy copies began to appear on sale.

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A small graceful crystal chandelier can become a real gem of an interior. Crystal multiplies the sun’s rays, gives more light, more glare – just what you need, with a lack of space.

Pavel Zheleznov

7. Furniture – solid, but not pretentious
You have to be especially careful with furniture, because good classic pieces of furniture are rare and expensive, while pseudo-palace furniture – pretentious with gilding, twisted legs and other excesses – is much more affordable. But she just does not belong in a small apartment.

For an interior to read like a classic, it is not at all necessary that all pieces of furniture refer to bygone eras. A few old-fashioned items are enough: an old sideboard inherited from your grandmother, a couple of Viennese chairs, a chest of drawers, or a secretaire set the right tone.

It is easier to find small, elegant items among the classic assortment of furniture. Instead of a large sofa, you can put, for example, a rekamye.

Derek bush

It is completely wrong to think that classic interiors are “built” only around the traditional wardrobe. Built-in models and even wardrobes do the same with classic-style facades. And if you really have a lot of things, finding a storage system in the classic spirit will not be difficult either.

URBAN D&CO – Agathe Lesage

In general, few people these days give preference to the classics in their purest form. This is not necessary.

If suddenly one day you want to buy something wildly fashionable – a space-shaped chandelier or a carbon fiber chair or a designer chair made of plastic (as in the photo of this living room) – there is no reason to deny yourself. The interior will only benefit from such a neighborhood. After all, the classics, going side by side with modernity, are the perfect couple and the global trend of the last decade.

How to combine modern and classic style in one room

Daria Kharitonova

Which of the attributes of the classic style do you consider appropriate in a city apartment? And which ones – absolutely not
About Leona Smith 115 Articles
Hello! My name is Silke and this is my travel blog. I want to show you fascinating places off the beaten track, give you a gentle introduction to history and culture, and help you get around Berlin. After 13 years in Sydney and Andalusia, I now live in Berlin, Germany. I am a travel writer, translator and book author. Read more about me here.

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