How to decorate a period living room
There’s a lot to love when it comes to period properties, especially all the special details that give it a unique feel. But, how do you respect these features while creating a home that still feels modern?
Living rooms, in particular, need to feel as functional and inviting in the 21st century as they did over a hundred years ago. The good news, is, it’s totally possible to preserve all of the things that make your period special, all while updating it for a more present-day feel.
So whether your home is Edwardian, Victorian, Georgian, or something else entirely, we’ve got expert-led inspirational tips on how to decorate a vintage living room to help you make the most of your space.
First thing’s first, be true to your home’s intended style and its design quirks. The key is Work with your space, not against it. Save key period features—dado rails and ceiling roses, for example—and work them into your interior plans.
“Respecting your home’s time period and architecture is pivotal to interior design success,” says interior designer Naomi Astley Clark. Avoid clashing styles and materials and consider how elements of your home will be drawn into your designs. Getting the basics like the right cornice and joinery features is a subtle yet effective way to ensure that you stay true to your home. From there you can add a layer to your taste and possessions knowing you have solid foundations.
Chris Harvey, Stelrad in-house expert advises: “To make the most of period features in your living room while still maintaining a modern, on-trend look, you should start by focusing on the architectural details of the space.
If your living room has lovely period features such as high ceilings, intricate moldings, or wood paneling, you can paint the walls a neutral shade to provide a modern backdrop and Highlight the beauty of the features. You can then add some furniture pieces that blend traditional and contemporary styles, such as a mid-century modern sofa paired with a classic wooden armchair. You can also incorporate some accent lighting to give the space a modern feel, such as an industrial-style pendant lamp or an antique chandelier.
Chris continues, “The advantage of this approach is that it allows you to create a balanced look that captures the charm of period features while still feeling modern and on-trend.” “It also gives you the flexibility to switch up furniture and decor to keep the look updated as trends come and go.”
Your sofa is probably the most prominent piece of furniture so getting it just right is crucial. in the living room, Choose an elegant and timeless sofa As opposed to trend leading, it will look just as good in the future as it did in the past.
Vicki Foster, interior designer at ScS advises: ‘When choosing a sofa for your living room, you’ll want something that screams classic and timeless. Fabrics like velvet have always had a high style but are currently enjoying a rise in popularity as part of luxury living trends and the retro revival.’
Other styles such as Chesterfield sofas, whether leather or fabric, create the traditional, elegant and classic look that can complement a home nicely. If you’re interested in crossing the fine line between classic and vintage, you can give your sofa a contemporary feel with accessories that give the look an on-trend look. Throw pillows in contrasting patterns and colors can work for the ultimate in style or you can choose a blanket in a neutral color to soften the effect of a bolder sofa.
Not only do the finishes allow you to add personality, but they also work in unison with the decorative elements that make older homes so special.
Antique vases, intricate lamps, and coffee tables with regal finishes are all ways to achieve this It pays tribute to the period of your past homes without being too committed to the themeVicky explains. If you’re not sure where to start looking for these items, looking at second-hand stores or vintage interior stores is one way to try and find these gems, and you’ll be able to locate items that match your current look.
Period style is all about exuding class and elegance but still having that modern edge, so think of the little things you can put in your rooms that radiate this, like gold or silver candle holders, paintings or prints, flowers, and even larger items like curtains or mirrors.
From delicate florals to canopy stripes, patterns fit well with time spaces and can add interest to a room. In a vintage living room, you can contrast traditional prints and patterns with minimalist modern furniture, or vice versa.
“If you’re keen to incorporate these into your space, remember that sometimes less is more,” warns Vicki. You might want to choose a chair with biophilic elements, or curtains with a subtle animal print. Let these pieces stand out within a room without having to compete with other styles.
“Period styles harken back to a time when we lived differently, and because of that, natural materials were more present in the home,” says Vicki. If you’re lucky enough to have exposed brick in the home, consider how you can restore it and make it a focal point in your space.
When it comes to flooring, we often see laminate or parquet floors in these spaces because they open up the room and move around the light. If you decide to do so, you can always place a rug over the top to add softness and warmth.
Other natural materials such as wool, steel, copper and rattan can also be used wonderfully in the living room. Look for throws, rugs, and hardwood furniture to bring in these natural elements.
The great thing about older homes is that they offer so many opportunities when it comes to color — there’s no need to keep things neutral, and you can get to experiment however you want.
“Your color scheme will likely revolve around your personal tastes, but it’s important to think about it because color can determine the look and feel of a space,” says Vicki. If you want to create a warm and warm room, you should look for deeper and warmer colors like navy blue, dark green or even purple as these will give the classic look but will also make the room look inviting.
However, if you want to open up the space and bring in light, just take a look at offerings like Bridgerton To take inspiration from the pastel color scheme; Blues, pinks, yellows, oranges, and greens in lighter shades will create a bright, fresh look and feel that complements the period style perfectly.
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