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Drama: Interiors: Overview

This guide..

Basic resources for those beginning their research on period interiors and styles.


How to Find Information in the Library Catalog (Cameo)
Try the following broad search terms. You can limit your search with other keywords (Example: adding the country name). When in doubt, ask a librarian for help.

  • Interior Decoration
  • Decoration and ornament
  • Furniture
  • Interior Architecture

Browsing Locations in Hunt Library

Decorative and Applied Arts

NK1700-2199 Interior decoration
NK1160-1647 Decoration and ornament
NK2200-2774 Furniture
NK6400-6400 Metalwork
NK9600-9999 Woodwork

NA3310-4099 Architectural Decoration

Reference resources in Hunt Library

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Banham, Joanna. Encyclopedia of Interior Design. 1997.
FA-REF-4 NK1165 .E48 1997 (2 volumes)
Two volumes of in depth discussion about worldwide interior design from as early as the 1400's to the present including furniture, period styles, decorative arts, and designers. Includes some illustrations.

Boger, Louise Ade. The Dictionary of Antiques and the Decorative Arts: A Book of Reference for Glass,Furniture, Ceramics, Silver, Periods, Styles, Technical Terms, etc. 1957.
FA-REF-4 NK30 .B57
Descriptions and some sketches of decorative arts from Europe, the Near East, America, China, Japan, and Korea.

Boyce, Charles. Dictionary of Furniture. 2001.
FA-REF-4 NK2205 .D5 2001
Descriptions and some sketches of furniture; includes bibliographic references.

Fleming, John. The Penguin Dictionary of Decorative Arts. 1989.
HUNT STACKS-4 NK30 .F55 1989
Descriptions and some illustrations of international decorative arts; includes bibliographic references.

Harling, Robert. Studio Dictionary of Design and Decoration. 1973.
FA-REF-4 NK1165 .S78 1973
Descriptions and illustrations of exteriors, interiors, and decorative arts; mostly European and American beginning as early as the 1400's.

Osborne, Harold. The Oxford Companion to the Decorative Arts. 1975.
Mostly description; defines terms; international coverage including Ancient Egypt to the present.

Strong, Roy. The Random House Collector’s Encyclopedia: Victoriana to Art Deco. 1974.
FA-REF-4 NK775 .R36 1974
Pictures and descriptions of furniture and decoration worldwide from 1851-1939.


Boger, Louise Ade. The Complete Guide to Furniture Styles. 1959.
FA-REF-4 NK2270 .B63
Mostly descriptive with about 100 pages of furniture illustrations; focus on western Europe from Ancient Grece and Rome to present; includes one chapter on Chinese art.

Morley, John. The History of Furniture: Twenty-five Centuries of Style and Design in the Western Tradition. 1999.
FA-REF-4 NK2270 .M64 1999
Pictures and descriptions with a concentration on ancient Greece and Rome and post medieval Italy and France

Nutting, Wallace. Furniture Treasury (mostly of American origin): All Periods of American Furniture with Some Foriegn Examples in America Also American Hardware and Household Utensils. 1928.
HUNT-STACKS-4 NK2406 .N732 1928B 3 Volumes
A collection of pictures mostly of American furniture, hardware, and utensils up to 1928; includes 5,000 illustrations.

Stimpson, Miriam. Modern Furniture Classics. 1987.
FA-REF-4 NK2385 .S74 1987
Illustrations with text; focus on Europe and the United States, 1851-1980's

Decorative Art

Abendroth, Uta. World Design: the Best in Classic and Contemporary Furniture, Fashion, Graphics and more. 2000.
FA-REF-4 NK1166 .W67 2000
20th century A-Z encyclopedia of movements, schools, and styles; pictures of contemporary furniture; primarily illustrations with descriptive text.

The following series provides primarily illustrations of decorative arts in the 20th Century.

Fiell, Charlotte. 1900s, 1910s Decorative Art: A Source Book. 2000.
FA-REF-4 NK1390 .A132 2000

Fiell, Peter. 20s Decorative Art: A Source Book. 2000.
FA-REF-4 NK1390 .A133 2000

Fiell, Charlotte. 30s, 40s Decorative Art: A Source Book. 2000.
FA-REF-4 NK1390 .A1334 2000

Fiell, Peter. 50s Decorative Art: A Source Book. 2000.
FA-REF-4 NK1390 .A134 2000

Fiell, Peter. 60s Decorative Art: A Source Book. 2000.
FA-REF-4 NK1390 .A136 2000

Fiell, Peter. 70s Decorative Art: A Source Book. 2000.
FA-REF-4 NK1390 .A138 2000

Tambini, Michael. The Look of the Century. 1996.
FA-REF-4 TS171 .T35 1996
Images covering the 20th century Americas and Europe, includes such categories as the living room; kitchen and dining room; bathroom, bedroom, and nursery; around the house; clothing and accessories; leisure; transportation; the office; graphics, advertising, and packaging.


Speltz, Alexander. Styles of Ornament. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1948.
HUNT-STACKS-4 NK1530 .S7 1948
Description and sketches of ornamental styles worldwide from antiquity to the renaissance and 1900's.

Duncan, Alastair. The Paris Salons, 1895-1914. Vol. 5. 1999.
HUNT-OVRSZQ NK8249 .A1 D8 1999
Primarily illustrations; organized by object d’art and metalware, then designer; covers France in the late 19th century to the early 20th century.


Cole, Drusilla. 1000 Patterns: Design through the Centuries. 2003.
FA-REF-4 NK1530 .A19 2003
Patterns from ancient to contemporary covering multiple cultures and areas of the world.

Juracek, Judy. Soft Surfaces: Visual Research for Artists, Architects, and Designers. 2000.
HUNT OVRSZQ- NK8806 .J87 2000
Patterns organized by pattern type; primarily illustrations of fabric patterns.

Yates, Marypaul. Fabrics: A Guide for Interior Designers and Architects. 2002.
FA-REF-4 TS1767 .Y38 2002
1,200 pictures of patterns organized by pattern type; includes historical textiles to latest contemporary designs worldwide.


Arts:Search (Design)

Art and Archtecture Source (formerly Art Source)

Design and Applied Arts Index

International Index to Performing Arts

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance Full-Text

Over one million high-quality images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences.


For more arts databases and databases across disciplines at CMU...
Databases A-Z

VADS: The Online Resource for the Visual Arts
Collections comprising over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK." Includes the Learning Index, a series of teaching resources based in the collection by subject specialists and lecturers. Especially useful for theatre are the Central Saint Martins Museum & Study Collection which includes the theatre design collection, the Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles:
Material Collection and Slide Collection, John Johnson Collection of Trades and Professions, London College of Fashion - College Archive, Oxford Portraits (various media/leaders in all professions in the UK); Textiles Collection: University for the Creative Arts at Farnham, with a number of other collections focusing on design, history, posters, artists, architecture and more.

Local library collections

Carnegie Public Library
The Carnegie Public Library located in Oakland is one of the best places to find information on interiors. Browsing the shelves is an easy way to find books on a particular topic as they are located in the Music and Art Department between the call numbers NK1165 and NK3412. Books are organized by topic including ornamental design, period rooms (English, Scottish, French, American, Victorian/Edwardian), history of furniture, and wallpaper. Use their library catalog, The Catalog,to search more specifically. If you have difficulty finding information, don't hesitate to ask a librarian there. They know their collection well and can be of great assistance to you.

University of Pittsburgh  Resources on interior design and its surrounding topics can be found in Hillman Library and Frick Fine Arts Library. At Hillman, try browsing the call number NK. There are resources on interior decoration by country as well as by type of decoration. Use their library catalog, PittCat, to search.
The Frick Fine Arts Library has a good selection of resources on interior design and art history in general. This library is located on the first floor of the Frick Fine Arts Building in Oakland (near the Carnegie Public Library).


Mo Dawley,
Art and Drama Librarian
Hunt Library
Art Library and Special Collections
Drama Research Guide

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* This site was initially originally researched by Mary Kelleher as a project of the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries Art Library and Special Collections.