Edwardian splendour for the cost conscious – Elegant Window Shutters
Queen Victoria was sovereign from 1837 to 1901; a total of 64 years, but having succeeded her King Edward VII (b.1841) reigned for only nine years. Surprisingly, such a comparatively small window of change resulted in the development of differences between Victorian and Edwardian styles. This change is particularly obvious in the spa town of Bath in southwest England; it has some particularly fine examples of Edwardian architecture and interior décor.
If you want to introduce this period’s elegance into your home, you should consider some specific touches, even if you’re working to a budget. Here are a few ideas for your Edwardian style home.
A breath of fresh air
Generally, the Victorian era is represented by solid, heavy architecture and rooms full of dark brown furniture. Cluttered ornate fussy interiors were common. Edwardian style on the other hand is characterised by fresher and lighter touches, essentially feminine in nature and certainly far less formal. Architectural design was based on buildings using red brick in straightforward rectangular constructions. Interiors favoured Queen Anne furniture, often with a walnut veneer, which was well proportioned and simple. The popular and influential movements of the time included art nouveau as well as arts and crafts.
Art nouveau styles favoured flowing lines based on natural curves and linear shapes in intricate patterns. Traditional handicrafts and decorative design were key features of the arts and crafts movement. Popular products and their designers included lighting by Louis Comfort Tiffany, glassware by Réné Lalique and furniture by Thomas Sheraton.
Walls and floors
A specific type of wallpaper, Lincrusta, was introduced in 1877 and is still available today. Some simple redecorating using this lovely embossed covering will achieve the Edwardian effect and you can paint the art nouveau designs in cream or perhaps another pale shade if you prefer. Flowers were also popular for wallpaper ranges, with sweet pea, lilac, roses and wisteria often freely adorned by ribbons and bows.
Window dressings were often made from lace panels although a simple, striped roller blind will also work well. To emphasise the clean lines of your windows consider adding elegant window shutters that will transform the look of your home.
In Edwardian homes, woodblock floors were often highly polished and adorned with oriental rugs. If your floorboards are pine or quite pale you can always use a darker stain to achieve the desired effect. Heavy traffic areas such as kitchens and hallways will benefit from quarry tiles in red, or bricks laid in a herringbone pattern. In living rooms, it’s best to keep the walls pale and use darker tones on furniture, for example dark green.
Furniture and fireplaces
When Edward was king of England reproduction furniture was available and luckily this is a cheaper option when it comes to furnishing your Edwardian style home. To get the look, you can opt for designs incorporating elements of rococo, baroque and Empire fashion. Rococo furniture uses asymmetrical patterns with intricate scrollwork and motifs. Baroque styles are extravagantly ornate while Empire motifs often feature Egyptian images.
Furniture made from wicker and bamboo arrived during the Edwardian era, and you can often find suitable items in a second-hand or antique shop. Make sure you use spray paint if your wicker table or chair needs a clean up as using a paintbrush will gum up the weave. Pale shades in damask fabrics and floral chintz were popular at the time for upholstery.
Smaller than in Victorian times, fireplaces tended to have hoods made from copper or iron and sides that were splayed. Decorative tiles were a feature, with larger fireplaces found in living and dining areas and smaller versions in bedrooms.
As electric lighting was at an early stage of development in Edwardian times, you can adorn your wall lights, standard lamps and table lamps with fabric lampshades with tassels and frills. Soft colours work best and ceiling lights can be fitted with pendants. Add Tiffany lamps for extra effect.
Common accessories of the time include bronze reclining female figures, often forming part of a table lamp, early gramophones with horns that were conical in shape plus tiered cake stands and photograph frames made of silver.
To add the finishing touches to your Edwardian style home, hang your pictures halfway down the wall, add some embroidered cushions with flower motifs and make sure your fresh flower arrangements chime with your floral wallpaper choices. Informal groupings of roses, lilac and sweet pea will add fragrance as well as colour to your decidedly elegant Edwardian dwelling.