Hellenistic Revival has been identified as a current trend by that powerhouse of digital scrapbooking, Pinterest.
We all know that today’s interior design trends are often influenced by bygone eras and times. Most of those eras and styles are relatively recent such as the hipster retro 1970s, cutesy 1950s American pop art styles, elegant Art Deco designs and charming rustic revivals. But cast yourself further back, in fact way, way back by a multiple of centuries and you’ll come across the Hellenistic period, at around 300BC. It was a time during which Greek cultural influence and power reached its peak in the Mediterranean area and beyond as Greek colonialists travelled widely, taking their culture to parts of Africa and Asia. It was also a time of prosperity and progress in the arts, literature, theatre, architecture, music, mathematics, philosophy and science.
But most importantly to today’s home decorators, Hellenistic Revival has been identified as a current trend by that powerhouse of digital scrapbooking, Pinterest.
But how does the Hellenistic Revival play out at home?
It can involve anything from Corinthian columns, neo-classically inspired wallpapers, stern looking plaster or stone busts and statues of ancient gods, Greco-Roman artworks and lots of plaster and marble. It’s also a little bit fanciful and decadent – so break out the toga, the floor cushions and the bunches of grapes.
Other elements to include might be intricate plaster mouldings (so congrats if you own an old villa) and bevelled ceiling medallions, decorative pedestals, bunches of marble or wax grapes, ornate gilt frames around your classically inspired artwork, carved mantelpieces, bowls of fruit, Grecian-style pottery, classical urns or weathered earthenware water urns. And top it off with a pair of potted olive trees by the front door or flanking your outdoor living space.
It also ties in nicely with the current love of all things from the 1980s, especially in fashion. Italian fashion designing icon Gianni Versace used bold Hellenistic motifs in his designs that became synonymous with the excesses of the 1980s. All golden and glamorous.
The 1980s were mostly also a decade of carefree galivanting – so it’s no wonder that after a few grim years of pandemic woes and economic bad news, we’re keen to throw off the sadness shackles and embrace a bit of fun and fantasy in our lives – and our homes.
When interpreting the look for interiors and seeking out an appropriate colour palette, you can go one of three ways. Keep the colour palette quite neutral, and therefore timeless and elegant, using a combination of black, white and pale stone shades such as Resene Nero, Resene Alabaster and Resene Malta or Resene Fossil.
There’s a more feminine interpretation of the look centred around Greek goddesses like Aphrodite that uses colours such as aqua, pale greens and blues, reds, pinks, and violets. Try aqua Resene Freewheeling, pale green Resene Transcend, pale blue Resene Comfort Zone, red Resene Roadster, pink Resene Pale Rose and violet Resene Poet.
The third look is underpinned with black and white but layered on top of that are lashings of glamorous gold and clear icy blues, such as Resene FX Gold Dust and Resene Comfortably Numb.
The latter, described as an icy dream-like blue, has been used to transform this bedroom, and is paired with Resene Alabaster, a pure classical white, used to paint the side tables. A backlit panel is a key feature, hung above the bed. The pattern is inspired by the design of the classic Wedgwood collection of Jasperware with its iconic figures and landscapes portrayed in white against a blue background. In this case, a pair of winged angels are joined by an olive branch-bearing dove and a gnarled tree.
Just the sort of peaceful and whimsical scene beneath which to slumber away your troubles.
Project by Megan Harrison Turner. Photography by Bryce Carleton. July 2022
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