Renaissance Revival Home Architecture and Design Features

Starting in the mid 1800s and continuing into the early 1900s, a fascination with Renaissance style spurred Renaissance Revival architecture in North America.

This style borrows heavily from the architecture found in Renaissance French and Italian homes and is sometimes called Neo-Renaissance.

Renaissance Revival homes became increasingly ornate: homes built after 1900 were particularly elaborate.

These structures are very expensive to build, so the style is usually found in public buildings rather than private homes.

However, some very elaborate estates are built in the Renaissance Revival style.

They are almost always multi-story, and many of these homes have three or more stories and an imposing, castle-like exterior.

They are almost always cube or rectangular shaped and symmetrical in appearance.

Renaissance Revival Exterior Design Features:

  • Low pitched roof or Mansard roof with wide eaves and large brackets
  • Exteriors are usually made from smooth hewn stone, smoothed stucco, or a combination of the two
  • Window style varies by floor
  • Smaller windows are usually used on the top floor
  • Stone window trim is also unique to each floor
  • Horizontal bands of stone separate floors
  • Large blocks of stone called quoins at each corner of the house
  • Pedimented gables on the front of the home
  • Older homes of this style often have columns

Renaissance Revival Interior Décor Features:

  • Usually has multiple fireplaces
  • Common interior architectural details:
  • Arched doorways and entryways
  • Niches carved into the walls
  • Formal staircase with columns and surrounding windows is common
  • Floor plan is often arranged around a large central hall
  • Stone and tile are the most common flooring options

Renaissance Revival Decorating Suggestions:

  • You’re not likely to find drywall inside a Renaissance Revival home, so you’ll need to use textiles to add the color that would normally be supplied by paint. Renaissance homeowners used tapestries to add warmth; hang attractive textiles to add visual interest. Make the most out of your window treatments and furniture fabric choices to keep rooms from looking bland.
  • Some rooms may have stucco or plaster interiors; use traditional Renaissance jewel tones or try a faux finish like a glaze or Venetian plaster technique.
  • Artisan tiles are another option to add warmth and color to your rooms.
  • Some decorating schemes that work particularly well with Renaissance Revival architectural design include:
    • Renaissance décor
    • Tuscan/Italian décor
    • Victorian décor

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