No Old World-style office would be complete without a vintage globe.

Decorating a Home Office in the Old World Style

by Lisa Monroe

Old World decor is characterized by large-scale furniture, warm earth tones and rustic finishes. One of the most intriguing elements of the Old World style is that the furnishings are often mismatched, giving every room an individualistic appeal. Although Old World-style furniture was never intended to be used in conjunction with computers and modern technology, it adds a sense of charm and warmth to a home office.


Old World style uses the earthly colors of the palette, such as dark browns, brick red, faded yellow and black. If you are painting an office, cover the walls with mustard yellow and wipe random streaks of glaze over the top with a rag. This adds the look of a relic to their appearance, making them look like they've come straight out of the 16th century. Dark wood paneling and wainscoting were also widely used in the Gothic and Renaissance eras, and both are often incorporated into the Old World look. Fill up bare wall space with a framed map of the Old World.


Dark wood flooring contrasts with mustard yellow walls and gives your office a rustic appearance. Use a large vintage area rug that's rich in texture to add more color. Always keep color contrast in mind if you'd rather use carpet. Yellow and cream rugs and carpet naturally contrast with wood paneled walls or wainscoting, while brown, olive green and brick red carpets are more ideally suited to yellow or bright neutral walls.


Warm, softened lighting is crucial for the light to provide an accurate representation of your interior color. Use halogen bulbs to achieve this effect. Let in as much natural light from your windows as possible. Light that's too bright can be disruptive to your concentration if you are working. Use iron lamp bases and dark yellow lampshades to complement the rustic style. Offset neutral colors by hanging long, deep red drapes made from brocade or velvet. Attach vintage valances at the windows to add a touch of the Old World style to blinds.


Use oversize, handcrafted oak or cherry wood furniture. Dark stains and distressed finishes are a mark of Old World style. Use a large vintage desk. Because large desks take up quite a bit of floor space, placement is paramount. Align your desk next to a window to take advantage of the natural light. Leave at least 42 inches of space behind your desk for a vintage-style brown leather chair. One of the benefits Old World-style desks is that they are quite functional, often containing both drawers and filing cabinets.


Don't let modern desk accessories ruin the aesthetic of your office. Surround them with distressed wrought iron and copper metalwork accents. The Old World style is characterized by excessive decoration. Use antique books as risers, place a couple of wrought iron candlesticks on top of your desk, add a touch of green with a plant in a cast iron pot and display vintage paperweights. And remember that no Old World-style office would be complete without a vintage globe.

About the Author

Based in Somerset, Lisa Monroe has worked as a professional interior designer since 1998. In 2012, Monroe started putting her knowledge into practice, writing articles for both online and offline publications. She holds a degree in creative arts from Bath Spa University.

Photo Credits

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