All About Belgian Interior Design & Belgian Decorating Style

Windows and sofa in modern living room
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Belgian interior design style captures a homey, lived-in feel while keeping things clean, simple, and orderly. The look is both rich and approachable, thanks to strategic use of large statement pieces, the intentional layering of textures, and a natural color palette. When compared to other popular interior design styles, you’ll find that Belgian interior design takes the prize for "rustic yet refined." It may not have the buzz of hygge design, but that’s no surprise for an interior design style that is best known for its low-key luxury.

History of Belgian Interior Design

Belgium has always had its own unique flair when it comes to interior design, but it hasn’t been until recently that this style has gained such widespread popularity. The most significant Belgian interior designer that has had a major influence in the spread of this design style is Axel Vervoordt. This famous interior designer and antique expert has brought the Belgian style and all its old-and-new charm into the limelight, starting in the 1970s with his iconic refurbished houses in Antwerp. Other designers, such as Vincent Van Duysen, have also had a large part in bringing this style to the forefront.

Modern scandinavian living room interior - 3d render
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Key Characteristics

Belgian interior design is set apart by its simplicity and welcoming warmth. This style is minimal, yet full of texture. There is no clutter but lots of personality. This design style pulls a lot of inspiration from nature, including natural materials in their raw, unpolished form. This adds a lot of texture and personality to a space. For example, many wood pieces are natural and unfinished, metal accents are timeworn and have unique patinas, and ceramics are rough and unpolished. Linen is a key feature in this style. Linen is used for curtains, upholstery, throw pillows, and other accents.

When it comes to furnishings, oversized pieces are the star. Choose a few functional furniture pieces, such as a large, linen-upholstered couch or weather-worn coffee table. Though large, the designs are simple and clean without any unnecessary detailing or ornate features. 

Old and new elements sit together side by side, giving the space a familiar, comfortable feel while keeping the space updated and modern. For example, a historical, weathered ceramic piece may be placed near a new, more modern light fixture, or a weathered dining table may be paired with modern chairs. 

To keep things calm and reflective of the natural world, be sure to keep the color palette focused on warm and neutral shades. Layering natural tans, grays, and creamy white tones give the space a simple, clean appearance without sacrificing warmth. To enhance this, natural lighting is brought into the space as much as possible. 

Belgian Decor Tips

  • Keep colors warm, calm, and neutral. Layering natural tans, grays, and creamy white tones create a calm and clean space without sacrificing a comforting, welcoming feeling. 
  • Clean out the clutter. Belgian interior design focuses on simplicity and functionality. Each piece chosen has its own personality, one that is showcased by keeping unnecessary items and clutter out of sight.
  • Include lots of texture and patina. Though this style is known for its simplicity, it is not sparse. You can add texture with plastered walls, raw wood and stone, and rough pottery or ceramics. Metals and wood are weathered and worn. The natural character that comes from use and aging gives each piece a unique personality without the need for any unnecessary polishing or refining.  
  • Add lots of linen. Belgium is famous for its luxurious linen, so it is no wonder this lovely material is a highlight in the Belgian interior design style. Try adding a linen sofa cover or long linen curtains to your room to add warmth and texture. 
  • Buy oversized furniture. Down-to-earth statement pieces add to the welcoming feel of this style. Skip pieces with ornate details, since this detracts from a simple, nature-inspired feel. 
  • Mix old and new. Belgian interior design is famous for its old-world charm and modern flair. Timeworn, historical pieces, such as exposed beams and rugged ceramics, sit side by side with new, updated pieces, like sleek dining chairs or modern appliances. 
  • Emphasize natural lighting. A nature-inspired design style isn’t complete without letting in as much natural sunlight as possible. Large windows give rooms a natural, welcoming glow.