Armenian Culture-Inspired Interior Design

Armenian Culture-Inspired Interior Design

Interior Design
Decoration and Design
By Mateos Glen Hayes June 04, 2022

The aesthetic of traditional Armenian designs is an eclectic mix of various motives that both draw from general inspirations from the Caucasus region while remaining distinct. Armenian style design may not have even been on your radar but it is definitely worth considering since it adds a kind of signature flare that you won’t get with any standard design. There are a lot of motifs that are distinct to Armenian culture and these can make for designs that are quite trendy, even though many of these cultural motifs can be quite ancient.

If you’ve ever wanted to broaden your tastes and try something new, Armenian styles offer something that is both relatively easy to implement and yet different enough from the standard that it is compelling. In fact, it is more than just compelling as Armenian style designs can be quite rich in detail when properly executed, and as such, they are perfect for anyone that wants to go the extra mile in adding a personal touch to their home.

What Is Armenian Culture Known For?

Armenian design incorporates many motifs from nature.

Armenian design incorporates many motifs from nature.

Armenian culture is known for many things, chief of which are hospitality, generosity, and respect for the past. The key, therefore, to a potent Armenian-style interior design is that it is balanced and understated in just the right way. Some of the best designs you can find in the Armenian style are those that tastefully communicate Armenian cultural motifs through subtle cues such as stylish accenting, certain color schemes, or even through artwork.

One of the biggest assets of Armenian culture is, of course, the Armenian language. Although this is an Indo-European language and as such shares many words with other such languages including Hindi, Persian, Russian, etc. it has its own unique alphabet and also maintains a lot of distinct vocabulary. A fun fact would be that Armenian is among the very few languages that do not branch from or out to other languages on the language tree.

What this means for any interior design is that you have some beautiful letters to play around with and many unique words that only are potent in their Armenian form and cannot be directly translated to other languages. This makes for quite a few artistic possibilities.  

What Cultures Are in Armenia?

Armenian design has several historic influences, including Russian, Middle Eastern, and Greco-Roman.

Armenian design has several historic influences, including Russian, Middle Eastern, and Greco-Roman.

Of course, Armenian culture itself is quite diverse. Armenia has a large diaspora of around 8 million people, including Armenian communities in Europe, the Middle East, North America, and beyond. What this means is that Armenian culture means different things to different communities and so in truth, there are many different cultures. Since Armenians tend to integrate rather well, their diaspora communities will often assimilate motifs from the host culture. For example, Armenians from Lebanon have a rather distinct aesthetic culture from Armenians elsewhere, and this aesthetic unsurprisingly incorporates Middle Eastern motifs more prominently.

This translates to vibrant colors and a design that has a lighter, more Mediterranean vibe. By contrast, Armenia itself has been rather affected by the spartan conditions of the Soviet Union, and so interior design styles there tend to be simpler and more basic. This, of course, can have its own charm since a functional space is one that emphasizes convenience and practicality.    

Central Aspects of Armenian Design 

Armenian designs can be quite colorful as well.

Armenian designs can be quite colorful as well.

Across these various inspirations, there are of course some fundamentals that all Armenian interior design will typically have in common. The first of these is the Armenian language. Because the language is so central to Armenian identity, it is quite common for the calligraphy of Armenia’s unique alphabet to feature in an Armenian-style design, especially for more modern and trendy layouts. This can be something as simple as a painting that depicts a word or letters in a creative fashion or can be as involved as stylized calligraphy engraved on a wall, in a nod to the ancient stone khachkars from medieval Armenian culture.

Another central aspect of Armenian interior design is carpeting. Armenian-style carpets are often tufted rugs or knotted carpets made of a material not unlike the Damask type, and they can sometimes incorporate Armenian calligraphy as well. The unique natural colors, tints, and ornamentation of these carpets are central aesthetic indicators of Armenian culture and can be found echoed all throughout Armenian art and even in modern Armenian architecture.

Interior designs of Armenia generally give off a rustic vibe, and this is due to a combination of natural materials such as wood and natural stone, as well as farmhouse-style materials such as cast iron and brass. Armenian ‘mountain style’ homes sport prominent beams, and can also have wood-framed windows, wooden doors, and even wooden carved knickknacks including miniature khachkars. Another distinctive element of an Armenian home is the wooden railings for porches and balconies which often sport distinctive decorative shapes carved into them.

Brass features most prominently in the traditional Armenian jazzves and coffee grinders. Coffee is a big part of everyday life in Armenia and is not only consumed in the mornings, so the average Armenian home will usually have more than one jazzve, and these give a unique aesthetic to any kitchen that is unmistakably Armenian. 

Design Ideas

Look for materials with earthy hues such as wood and brass.

Look for materials with earthy hues such as wood and brass.

The most surefire way to incorporate Armenian interior design elements is to hire an interior designer who is Armenian. Of course, that may not be a thing where you live, so the next best thing is to add Armenian-style decor to your home. What this means is that your best bet is to go to Armenia and bring back some tasteful knickknacks, carpets, and other decorative items.

Knickknacks

It’s safe to say that Armenians love their little decorative accouterments as even homes with more minimalist designs are loath to go without a smattering of various handcrafted items such as miniature khachkars, traditional wooden spoons, handwoven carpets, traditional paintings, decorative jazzves, and the like. So if you really want to give your home’s interior some Armenian flair but don’t want to tear your interior up in the process this is one way to bring Armenia into your home without having to get too involved. 

Tiles

Some Armenian communities - the one in Jerusalem in particular - are rather famous for their beautiful and colorful ceramic tiles. These tile designs typically reproduce scenes from nature, such as animals in a forest, and will have splendid artistic detailing. This makes these tiles perfect for a central room in your home since they help provide an attention-grabbing element that sets the tone for the rest of the design.

From backsplashes to seats, Armenian ceramic tile art is known the world over.

From backsplashes to seats, Armenian ceramic tile art is known the world over.

Natural Materials

More broadly, integrating natural materials and earthy hues into your home’s design will bring you closer to an Armenian aesthetic. This means using materials that are common to Armenia such as oak, pine, basswood, or maple. Armenia is a country with a lot of volcanic sediment left over from long ago, and so natural stone, obsidian, or maybe even volcanic glass are all novel materials that fit very well with the Armenian interior design aesthetic and could be incorporated into a unique wall decor design for example.  

Ornamentation

For a classic Armenian interior design, ornamentation is key and stretches to every surface of the home, so pay attention to every detail. Instead of just having a simple plain light fixture, install a more elaborate crystal chandelier, and instead of just having a featureless ceiling, decorate it with Armenian pattern work that mimics that of Armenian carpets. 


Give walls a similar treatment with patterns, and perhaps repaint them with a two-tone color scheme with a darker color on the bottom and a lighter color on the top. These may seem like understated design choices but this is by design as they will subtly communicate Armenian cultural elements without going overboard.

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes