Gothic Decor and Ideas for Your Home

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The Gothic era began around 1150 and was known as the Middle
Ages. During this period, there was a clear distinction
between furniture for the poor and for the rich. The
furniture for the poor was crude, but functional, while
furniture for the rich was classical. At this time, a
non-classical theme was developing and consisted of heavily
carved and ornately decorated motifs. Furthermore, motifs,
such as heraldic symbols like griffins,
lions, and hawks were used, as well as the royal
fleur-de-lis.

The term "Gothic" refers to the barbarians of
the north, known as the Goths, and was used as an
uncomplimentary reference as a way to part from the classic
themes of the past. Since the middle class (particularly,
the minor nobles) were forced to move from home to home in
order to follow their lord, this led to the emergence of
chests and cabinets that could easily be packed and
transported. These included the introduction of large and
solid pieces, such as the armoire for clothes, the buffet
for the storage of eating utensils, and tables with
drawers.

Moreover, bedroom furniture consisted of large four poster
beds that had intricate backboards and posts. The carvings
were usually of Gargoyles and other mythical creatures that
were thought to be instrumental in scaring away lingering
evil spirits. This idea was borrowed from the church, which
is where the Gothic style originated. The most popular
material used was oak. Other decorative accessories
associated with religious themes were incorporated into this
style, such as stained glass windows, ornate candelabras,
brass, and pewter. In addition, the Gothic style includes
rich tapestries and hangings, along with stone walls or
paneling. Window treatments are generally of a heavy fabric
and feature bold colors, such as gold, rich reds, purple,
and black.

It should be noted that there were two distinct periods of
Gothic influence, between 1150 and 1500, and then it
resurfaced between 1840 and 1880, known as Gothic Revival.
During the Gothic Revival period, the proportions were
medium to large. The essential elements consisted of
motifs, such as tracery, arches, rose windows, and
quatrefoils, and the woods used were walnut, mahogany,
rosewood, cherry, or oak. Some notable features of the
furniture were tall-back chairs, with some having
upholstered backs.

Searching for antique Gothic furniture is not difficult if
you know where to look. Many antiques store will carry some
sort of antique Gothic furniture, which features intricately
carved designs. You may also find Gothic furniture
reproductions that are identical to the real thing and not
discernible by the untrained eye.

To further enhance your Gothic home, consider a Gothic
fireplace. An elegant Gothic fireplace is a wonderful focal
point and works well in bringing together the decorative
elements of a room. Gothic fireplaces were generally
painstakingly hand carved with details consisting of Gothic
architectural elements, such as repeating patterns, delicate
tracery work, and repeated pointed arches and quatrefoils
(ornamental flowers with four lobes). Also, a number of
wooden fireplaces were carved with coat
of arms, mythical creatures, which were located in the
center of the mantel or on either side of the fireplace.
The fireplaces were also constructed of stone and had less
detail because carving intricate patterns in stone was more
difficult than carving wood. However, stone carvings were
larger and rougher than the wood carvings, and were composed
of roses, diamond paterae, and other patterns, with the
detailed carvings being located in the spandrel (the area
immediately above the arch) or small portions of the jambs.
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