Italianate Home Architecture and Design Features

Italianate style was inspired by the Italian villa and became popular in the United States during the late 1800s.

The style first gained popularity in England, and American soon followed suit with an Americanized version.

Italianate homes were the most common new architectural style in Victorian America.

They are cost effective without sacrificing attractiveness and adaptable to a variety of building materials.

Some barns, libraries, and town halls are also built in Italianate style.

Italianate homes are usually tall. The two story structure is most common, but three and four story Italianate homes can also be found.

Floor plans are usually irregular, but contained within a symmetrical and rectangular house shape.

A Classic Italianate Style HomeItalianate Exterior Design Features:

  • Low pitched or flat roof with overhanging eaves
  • Roof is usually ornamented with brackets and cornices
  • Common exterior materials include wood, stone, and stucco
  • Window styles are varied but usually ornamented with arches
  • Tall, narrow windows are most common
  • Bay windows are also popular
  • A cupola or balcony over the front entrance

Italianate Interior Décor Features:

  • Common interior architectural details:
    • Crown molding
    • Dentil, egg, and dart
    • Chair rails
  • Linoleum, ceramic and wood are the most common flooring options
  • Laminate, granite, and soapstone countertops are most common in the kitchen
  • Cabinets are usually raised, square panels which are either stained or painted. Cherry, oak and maple are common materials

Italianate Decorating Suggestions:

  • Italianate homes lend themselves to rich textures and vibrant colors. The first step in interior decorating should be your walls. Rather than stick with a flat color, consider a faux finish like stucco, a wash, or Venetian plaster to add depth to the walls
  • Whether you stick with traditional Italian or Tuscan style or integrate something new into your home, make the most of tall ceilings and long windows with equally dramatic window treatments. Hang them near the ceiling to maximize their impact
  • Keep things casual by integrating natural elements such as wood furniture, terra cotta pottery, and ceramic tile
  • Some decorating schemes that work particularly well with Italianate architectural design include:
    • Italian or Tuscan style
    • Colonial décor

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