No one could have predicted the impact of Bauhaus – the German design school-turned-movement – when it opened its doors 100 years ago. In 1919, men wore suits, women wore dresses, and roads were occupied by boxy cars like the Ford Model T. But Bauhaus was simple and beautiful. Colours popped, spaces clicked and everything had its place and purpose.
So in this, its centenary year, we think it’s time to take a little bit of interior inspiration.
But first, some context. The Bauhaus – originally a design school – was founded by architect Walter Gropius, and in just a decade it established itself as one of the most influential design movements in the world, despite closing its doors in the 1930s.
Bauhaus tuned into our needs – it was affordable for normal people and poised for mass production, while carving out its own refreshing style.
Join the celebrations and go a bit Bauhaus with these styling tips.
Get back to basics
The Bauhaus ideal is that form follows function – which translates as no clutter. Everything must serve a purpose in enhancing your home.
Reign in your decorative throws, ruffled lamps and scatter cushions. Clear your surfaces, sideboards and table tops. Store away knick-knacks and embrace the space. The result is beautiful simplicity; design in perfect balance – and a blissful space to recharge your batteries.
The Cedar sofa takes inspiration from these clever design features, with a built-in shelf for all your living room essentials like books and TV remotes.
Keep it straight
With Bauhaus, it’s a geometric way of life. Use squares and triangles, with their straight lines and sharp corners, to create contrasts in your styling.
Be drawn to bold prints, like checkerboards and interlocking triangles. Splash it on the walls with statement wallpaper, or experiment with blinds and curtains. Try to stick to one big statement to maintain that feeling of balance and selectivity.
When you look at furniture, imagine it’s a line drawing. Showcase square tables, picture frames with pointed corners – even a corner sofa like the Marmont. It’s all about those Bauhaus angles.
Play around with circles
Throwing in a curve ball, circles are eternally Bauhaus, an antidote to those lines and corners.
Hang a circular mirror in pride of place to make a real design statement – while also bouncing light and space around the room. Oversized clocks and circular frames are easy ways to showcase the power of the circle too.
Embrace the contrasts and play around with the different shapes. Scatter circular coasters on a square coffee table and roll out a circular rug in the nook of an angular, corner sofa.
Add pops of colour
Before you welcome the colour, create a white canvas. Give tired walls a fresh coat of paint to make the space feel crisp and clean. Then, create energy with bold pops of colour. The Bauhaus essentials are primary shades – red, yellow and blue.
Go big with the Festival sofa in vibrant yellow, catching your eye as soon as you walk into the room. You could also give wooden tables and chairs a contemporary makeover, painting them in bright primary colours and letting them sing against the white background.
When it comes to accessories, choose carefully – perhaps a bright red vase or a yellow radio on a white side table. The trick is to have pops of colour, rather than overwhelming noise. For the final touch, frame an iconic Bauhaus poster and hang it on the wall.
Introduce metallic touches
Bauhaus pioneers were all eyes and ears for new things. And 100 years ago, it was the clean-cut lines and sleek finish of metal that captured their imaginations.
Some of the most iconic Bauhaus designs showcase the natural beauty of metal. Make it the star of the show with chair and tables that sit on metal legs that glint in the sunshine. Smaller traces could range from metal door handles to sleek, metal lamps that shine bright like the sun.