The Ultimate Guide To Venetian Decor

Few cities are as magical as Venice, an enchanting escape filled with marble palazzos, beautiful bridges, towering basilicas, and a dizzying array of canals. Built directly onto a lagoon, Venice stretches across 119 different islands in northern Italy. According to Civitatis Tours, the city was originally founded in 421 and soon became a prosperous center for trade and imperial power. The naval empire was at its peak in the 15th century, home to the world's biggest port and 200,000 residents. A thriving art and cultural scene developed in Venice during this time, known for its originality and trendsetting style.

While the Italian city has fallen into decline since these glory days, the beautiful palazzos and distinct Venetian style remain. Venice has always been known as a trendsetter with a creative spirit, which is why it's the perfect inspiration for your interior design (via Lonely Planet). From the traditional masquerade masks to the artistic glassmaking, there are countless ways to decorate your home with Venetian style. Let's take a look!

Incorporate glasswork that honors the techniques of Murano artisans

One of the best (and most beautiful) ways to bring Venetian style into your home is by decorating with Murano glass. Glassmaking was all the rage in Venice's art scene from the 13th to 15th century. The colorful glass was primarily produced on the island of Murano using a unique method that resulted in surreal patterns and vivid designs. Today, glassmakers still create this art form on the island using ancient methods that involve melting soda, silica, lime, and potassium together at 1500°C (via GlassOfVenice).

If you want to incorporate Murano glass in your living space, there are plenty of colors and styles to choose from. You can add a statement glass sculpture to a living room coffee table or place a pretty glass vase with fresh flowers on a dining room table. Murano glass dishware is also a great way to bring Venetian flair to your next dinner party or social event.

Capture the feel of Venice's diverse history by decorating with global-inspired pieces

As one of the world's most powerful empires in its heyday, Venice's interior design style is influenced by a lavish mixture of global influences. According to Culture Trip, Venice's abundance led to opulent fashions, fabulous parties and celebrations, and a reputation for gambling and excess. Once upon a time, the city was the place to see and be seen by Europe's elite. Although the empire fell into decline and eventually became part of Italy in 1866, its unique style remains. 

To capture the luxurious and cosmopolitan feel of Venetian style, decorate your home with a mix of art and accessories you've gathered from your own travels around the globe. Whether hanging up a photo gallery wall of your favorite trip to a far-flung destination or inspiring mementos from your hometown, there are plenty of ways to incorporate the Venetian spirit of wanderlust in your living space.

Make a statement by hanging up Venetian masks

As one of the most ubiquitous symbols of Venice, decorative carnival masks are rooted in the city's history and culture. According to DailyArt Magazine, these fantastic masks were worn by all citizens during carnival and provided a high degree of freedom and anonymity. Wearing masks allowed people to be themselves more fully, regardless of social class or position. This is partially why Venice earned a reputation for being a city of decadence.

Whether you picked up a Venetian mask on your last trip to the city or happen to have some masquerade masks collecting dust in the back of a closet, you can display them in a variety of cool ways. Hang them up on a wall like a piece of art, attach them to a framed box, or arrange them in a cluster on a shelf. Wherever you place them, make sure they aren't in direct sunlight since this can lead to fading. 

Display elaborate carved mirrors for a regal effect

Along with Murano glass, Venetian mirrors are one of the city's most famous masterpieces. According to Inviting Home, these exquisite items date back to the 15th century and are known for their elaborate, carved frames, typically made of cut, edged, or beveled pieces. Many glassmakers applied gold leaf directly inside the glass, adding unique color and shine to each mirror.

If you want to add some Venetian sparkle to your home, dress it up with ornate mirrors. It doesn't have to be an authentic Venetian mirror to brighten up your living space and make it feel more spacious. Try to hang your mirror across from a window to bring more natural light inside, or lean a full-length mirror against a wall to open up a small room (via The Spruce). Also, be sure to hang the mirror securely with wall hooks or picture hangers. Broken mirrors are the worst!

Decorate with celestial themes

Celestial themes are a popular hallmark of Venetian decor. Traditional Venetian apartments often feature carved details and artwork that depicts the stars, planets, moon, and sun. They are typically found in metallic hues. These dreamy details make one feel like they are floating in the stars, high above the earth.

Add celestial-inspired decor to your living space to capture the same sense of wonder. You can hang up artwork that shows the phases of the moon (via Etsy) or wrap twinkle lights around your bed frame. Alternatively, cover your walls with starry wallpaper prints, get creative with luminous paint, or place glow-in-the-dark stars on your ceiling for nighttime star gazing. For a more mature feel, arrange framed photos of different planets on a wall. Sunburst mirrors are another celestial decor item that will lighten up a room. Plus, they're super on-trend right now and can complement just about any interior design style (via House Beautiful). 

Add an element of Venetian charm with antique lamps

Antique lamps with graceful silhouettes, fine silk, or handblown Murano glass are another common aspect of Venetian home decor. As reported by Clever, vintage lamps bring history and unique personality to a home, no matter which era they come from. If you would like to lighten up your living room or bedroom with antique light fixtures, look at Etsy, flea markets, and secondhand stores for inspiration. You can typically find pieces that will stand out from the crowd at these places. 

There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when shopping for a vintage lamp. First, if you find a lamp base you love, know that the lampshade can always be replaced or purchased separately. It can take some time and energy to find a lamp that expresses your style and fits into your home's aesthetic, but it's worth putting in the effort. Don't be shy about asking questions before your buy. If the electrical wiring needs repair, rest easy knowing that most lighting supply stores can take care of replacements.

Finish your walls with Venetian plaster

Soft, earthy, and effortlessly cool, Venetian plaster has the power to add old-world elegance to any interior. This chic finish creates a marble-like effect on walls and highlights both light and dark tones. After the plaster was invented in Venice, its popularity quickly spread around the Roman Empire as a way to recreate the look of elegant palazzos. As reported by Architectural Digest, Venetian plaster is essentially a putty material made out of fired limestone and water. What makes it unique from other plasters is the absence of marble, granite, and glass. 

The plaster adds a subtle texture and look of natural stone to a space when used on walls. Plus, it's non-toxic, breathable, and naturally resists mold and mildew. Just keep in mind that applying plaster to your walls is a bit more expensive than painting. If you love DIY projects, you can probably apply plaster to walls yourself. However, for an authentic look, it's best to hire professionals to complete the plaster treatment (via Bob Vila).

Add artwork that features the city's gondolas, canals, and bridges

If you find Venice's iconic sights inspiring, you're not alone. As reported by Tiqets, countless artists have featured Venice's canals, architecture, gondolas, and other iconic sights on their canvas. Monet, Guardi, Signac, and Renoir are just a few names who brought the city's enchanting landscapes to life in their art. While you might not live in a Venetian palazzo with a charming canal view, you can easily bring the spirit of the city into your living space by decorating with artwork of Venice.

You'll find plenty of Venice-themed pieces online on websites like Etsy, as well as flea markets and other stores. Of course, if you are planning a trip to Venice, you are sure to find a wide variety of art from local painters and artisans throughout the city. Pick up a painting with your favorite Venice sight to make your home feel like an Italian vacation all year round!

Choose an elegant, gilded chandelier

Few things capture the glitz and sparkle of Venice in its glory days like a glittering chandelier. These elegant light fixtures make a grand statement in any room, whether big or small, silver or gold. According to The Spruce, the best way to make a show-stopping statement is by hanging something bold.

While crystal chandeliers are certainly beautiful and reflect Venetian style, you don't have to limit yourself to traditional styles. There are endless options out there, including chandeliers made of stained glass, iron, and bubble-like bulbs. Ideally, the right chandelier for your space will complement the colors, materials, and look in the rest of the area. If you're more of a traditionalist, hang your chandelier in a central position in an entryway, bedroom, or over a dining room table. Placing it off-center looks a bit more contemporary and unexpected. Also, it's important to find a light fixture that's the right size so that the chandelier doesn't overwhelm the room or look too small.

Add vintage books to your bookshelves

Whether you're a huge bookworm or just love the look and feel of old hardbacks, decorating with vintage books is a cool way to add style and character to a room. Plus, book-filled interiors effortlessly recall Venice's rich intellectual history. According to Clever, using books for decoration makes a space feel more personal since you have the opportunity to display some of your favorite titles, and they can spark lively conversations with your guests.

One of the best things about decorating with books is that there are endless ways to display them. Make a statement with a floor-to-ceiling book wall, match the color of your books with colors found in the rest of the room, or place horizontal stacks next to vertical ones. You can also arrange keepsakes, glass vases, and other small decorative objects around your personal library to add dimension and visual interest. 

Bring romance to your outdoor space with traditional Italian flowers

Taking a stroll through Venice offers many charming sights, including brightly colored flowers growing on the balconies. According to Garden Tips For All, balcony gardens are part of Italian culture, with many locals adding a pop of color to their home with beautiful blooms. Whether you have a balcony, window sill, or garden in need of flowers, you can recreate Venetian flower power by growing some of Italy's traditional flowers in your space.

Italy's most popular plants include bougainvillea, oleanders, Italian poppies, and crocus. You'll often see trailing green vines hanging from balcony railings, along with planter boxes filled with herbs and colorful wildflowers. The trick to solid balcony garden design is to include a fun variety of plants in contrasting colors like red and yellow (via The Spruce). To really capture the romance of Venice in your outdoor area, plant a rose bush in a sunny spot and make sure to water it frequently.

Incorporate colors inspired by Venice

Between the blue-green lagoon, colorful buildings, red bricks, and orange sun, Venice is home to a rich combination of colors. On islands like Burano, each building is painted a different, vibrant color, making the streets feel like a rainbow. Color is important to locals, with residents repainting their homes every year  (via Casa Burano). Bring the palette into your home by decorating with colors reminiscent of the city. According to Wandering Italy, Venice's main colors are orange, white, and blue, but there are also a dizzying array of other colors waiting down the narrow allies and canals.

If you want to use color to create a Venetian feel in your home, it's best to use warm tones inspired by nature. For example, think about decorating with sea-green rugs and furniture, or painting your walls a warm orange or faded red to match the aged buildings.  

Dress up your windows with curtains made of sumptuous fabrics

Classic Venetian homes often feature large windows to let in natural light, and these windows tend to be dressed for success with either elegant curtains or Venetian blinds. Give your windows a Venetian makeover by installing a beautiful set of curtains. As reported by The Strategist, curtains are an easy and simple way to add style and personality to a room. There are such a wide variety of curtains available in every color, style, and opacity, so you can really choose a set that reflects your personal taste. Look for curtains in opulent materials like silk, damask, and velvet for an elegant Venetian feel.

No matter which type of curtains you select for your windows, you will want to make sure they are properly sized. It's recommended to use curtains 12 to 24 inches larger than the window on both sides. In terms of length, curtains should just touch the floor without dragging too much or looking short.

Transform your home into a Venetian palazzo with classic terrazzo flooring

Bring Italian tradition into your home with the beauty of terrazzo flooring. As reported by Houzz, terrazzo was a common feature of Venetian homes in the 15th century after it was used in the homes of wealthy noblemen and merchants. Made from chips of marble and glass in tinted cement, this silky smooth flooring is strong and flexible, allowing it to function well with the sinking foundations of Venetian homes. Plus, it's laid by hand, which gives it an artistic feel.

But you certainly don't have to live in a sinking Venetian palazzo to install terrazzo flooring in your home. This floor style looks great in minimalist, contemporary, rustic, or quirky homes and comes in various patterns. One thing to keep in mind before going crazy for terrazzo is that installation costs can run relatively high. If you have it professionally installed, expect to pay $20 to $50 per square foot (via CostHelper). The good news is that terrazzo will last for generations.