3 Italianate Architecture Design Ideas

March 12, 2024

Italianate architecture is a 19th-century design that features building inspiration from 16th-century Italian Renaissance architecture. It was one of the fastest-growing architectural styles for a few decades in the 1800s. If you are interested in Italianate architecture for your custom home, here are a few Italianate architecture design ideas:

What is Italianate Architecture?

Contrary to its name, Italianate architecture did not originate in Italy. It began in Victorian England as a tribute to the more informal home design style in Italy. It was brought to Victorian England by travelers, especially architects. Inspired by homes and villas in the Italian countryside, homes began to take on a more relaxed feel.

Even though these homes reflect some of the Italian Renaissance, it was considered to be a fairly contemporary style at the time. But by today’s standards, we’d consider Italianate architecture to be pretty traditional.

Italianate architectural features are similar to other popular architectural designs. This specific style includes homes that are anywhere from two to four stories. They’re typically made of brick and wooden clapboard. Towers, cupolas, and belvederes are common in this design. Their entrances tend to be fairly grand, often with towers, brackets, and either single or double doors.

Italianate interior design also tends to be grand. Big, bay windows are a classic architectural feature that let in plenty of natural light. Crown molding and intricate trim are usually found in these homes. However, their floor plans are much more laidback and flexible compared to other designs popular at the same time.

3 Italianate Architecture Design Ideas

Italianate architecture can be a classy and stunning style for your custom home. Here are a few Italianate architecture design ideas:

detail of wooden staircase with metal railings1. Add Plenty of Ornate Details

Ornate detailing is a hallmark of Italianate architecture. Make sure your custom home has lots of these details to emphasize the style. Bold accessories are modern Victorian decor ideas that can translate well to Italianate architecture and interior design.

Ask for details in crown molding and window trim, but think of unexpected places, too. Places like baseboards are often overlooked but adding details there adds an understated attention to detail. These ornate details can be floral motifs, scrolls, or leaves.

If you want a distinctive contrast, paint these ornate trims a complementary color. For a bit of contrast, choose a shade or two lighter or darker than your wall color. This is a creative crown molding idea to try to take a classic element and give it a modern twist.

detail of master bedroom with crown molding around the ceiling and recessed lights2. Choose Warm Colors

Inspired by the rolling foothills of Tuscany, Italianate architecture reflects the warmth of the Italian sun. Bring that warmth into your home by incorporating plenty of warm colors. However, be sure to have a balance.

Too many warm tones can feel overwhelming. Pairing warm colors with neutrals and cooler colors will help provide balance. Finding that balance is a helpful tip for decorating with bold colors. If you prefer a neutral background, accessorize with warm decor.

Throw pillows, blankets, and curtains can help bring some of that Tuscan sun and warmth into your home. Another way to bring warmth into your home is with plenty of wood accents. Wooden floors, natural wood trim, and wooden yet soft furniture are easy ways to add some warmth to your home.

detail of desk in home office3. Incorporate Plenty of Natural Materials

Italianate architecture features a lot of natural materials like marble, wood, and other natural stones. Adding marble countertops or floors incorporates marble into your interior design and adds an exceptionally luxurious feel to your custom home. Marble fireplaces make for a great focal point in a living room, adding to the Italian style.

Accenting with wood is also popular in Italianate architecture and there are a few ways to incorporate natural wood into your custom home. Wood paneling can be used to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in a living or dining room. Painting the paneling in a calming earth tone creates a cozy vibe while natural wood grain adds texture and character.

These are just a few Italianate architecture design ideas to consider for your custom home design. If you think you might like to explore Italianate architecture as an option for your custom home, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090!