Western Europe is a rich and varied palette of design traditions, with some reaching back hundreds of years. Other trends, however, have been shaped by Europe’s modernization, and how it has responded to changes in its population, demographics and economy.</br></br>By contrast, America is very young, very big and an early adopter (or originator) for design trends. As such, we don’t cultivate interior design traditions in the same way. Let’s compare.</br></br><strong>Europe is expensive, even for Europeans.</strong></br></br>Doing more with less isn’t just an ad slogan in Europe; it’s a way of life for most folks, and they excel at it in a host of beautiful ways.</br></br>It’s true many enclaves still indulge in extravagant appointment (London’s Notting Hill and Madrid’s Salamanca neighborhoods come to mind), but media and movies have helped romanticize European style in many American minds.</br></br>The wider truth is that just as many homes are smartly, conservatively furnished and decorated with an eye toward comfort rather than ostentation, and we can take a cue from that.</br></br><strong>In Europe, square footage comes at a premium.</strong></br></br>Western Europe is very small and super dense compared to the U.S. – at 9,161,923 square kilometers, the U.S. is more than twice the size, but we only have 37.5 percent more people.</br></br>What does that have to do with interior design? It means convertible furniture isn’t just a hot topic for efficiency-minded Scandinavians. Many Europeans have been forced to consider how to fit more comfort into smaller spaces, and again, we could probably learn from them.</br></br><strong>Europeans know their history.</strong></br></br>Europeans embrace their roots in a way many Americans forgot how to do, or never learned. We live for today, and our nod to our ancestors often stops at the photos of our grandparents we keep on the fridge.</br></br>This has a huge impact on European interior design, and not just in their passing down of heirlooms. They’re not afraid to look back at past interior design modes and bring them forward, which can result in wonderfully eclectic clashes.</br></br><strong>Europeans are immersed in culture.</strong></br></br>This is just the luck of the draw. In America, it’s no one’s fault that you can drive 3,000 miles in a straight line and end up on the doorstep of a house that looks exactly like the one you just left, inside and out.</br></br>In Europe, you can drive 300 <em>yards</em> and find yourself in an entirely different country that varies as much in its interior design as it does in language and art.</br></br>The short story: Pretending to be European for a day may give you some great ideas on how to approach your interior design, resulting in a unique look that stands worlds apart.