What is Acanthus?

Acanthus is a decorative motif used in interior design and architecture, characterized by stylized leaves of the Acanthus plant.


The term Acanthus refers to a decorative motif prominently featured in classical architecture and interior design, embodying the stylized and intricately carved leaves of the Acanthus plant. This design element first saw its usage in ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture, where it adorned capitals of Corinthian and Composite columns, frizes, and other decorative objects. The motif’s appeal lies in its combination of natural inspiration with artistic abstraction, offering a sense of elegance and sophistication.

In interior design, Acanthus is regarded as a symbol of enduring beauty and has been adapted in various forms across different historical periods, including the Renaissance, Baroque, and even into modern designs. It is commonly found in decorative plasterwork, wood carving, textiles, and metalwork, showcasing its versatility as a decorative element.

As a testament to its timeless appeal, Acanthus continues to inspire contemporary designers, who incorporate this motif into wallpapers, fabrics, and decorative accessories, blending traditional elegance with modern interiors.


Acanthus leaves may be seen intricately carved on the capitals of columns in classical buildings or adorning furniture and fireplaces in historically-inspired interiors. It also appears in modern design elements, such as wallpapers and fabric patterns, where it brings a touch of classical elegance to contemporary spaces.


  • Why is Acanthus popular in classical architecture?

    Acanthus is popular in classical architecture for its aesthetic appeal and the ability to infuse spaces with a sense of elegance and sophistication, derived from its historical significance and artful representation of nature.

  • Can Acanthus be used in modern interiors?

    Yes, Acanthus can be beautifully integrated into modern interiors through the use of wallpapers, fabrics, and decorative accessories, where it adds a classical touch to contemporary designs.

  • What types of products commonly feature the Acanthus motif?

    The Acanthus motif is commonly found in architectural elements like column capitals, as well as in decorative items such as plasterwork, wood carvings, textiles, metalworks, wallpapers, and fabrics.

Practical Application

When aiming to bring an element of classical elegance to your space, consider incorporating the Acanthus motif in subtle ways, such as through decorative accessories or textiles. For more historically inspired interiors, larger scale applications like carved wood or stonework can make a significant impact.