Victorian and Edwardian interiors are often thought of as one and the same. In reality, once this era had gotten underway, the differences in style and taste began to deviate massively from those popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. Here’s a brief overview of the important elements to consider if you’re styling an Edwardian themed home:
Victorian rooms were often cluttered with ornaments and decorated in very dark colours and patterns. The Edwardian age marked the beginning of a fresher, airier interior designs that reflected the positivity of the period.
The era that saw the birth of powered flight and the sinking of the Titanic was dominated by the tail end of the “Arts and Crafts” movement, seeing a heavy use of Medieval and natural designs that showed an anti-industrial theme harking back to Britain’s rural past. Art Nouveau added to this style, with natural forms and structures, flowers and plants, and curved lines.
The Main Elements of the Room
Edwardian rooms mainly featured highly polished flooring with rugs instead of carpets. Oriental themes were very popular in this period, and for high traffic areas and kitchens, red tiles were the order of the day.
When it came to colour, the Edwardians favoured pastel colour schemes and floral designs: Primrose, leafy greens, lilac and even subtle greys. Wallpapers too, should reflect this light and airy feel, and feature curvy, floral shapes and pastel hues.
Art Nouveau styles of furniture were often mass produced reproductions, and proponents of the style had little problem with this, leaving you open to a lot more choices than the equivalent Victorian home. Wing chairs, rococo, baroque and empire styles are all appropriate, although clutter is definitely not.
This was also the era of wicker furniture. It’s easy to track this down, so if you see anything appropriate in a junk shop, snap it up!
The Dawn of Electric Lighting
Electric lighting wouldn’t necessarily have been standard throughout the middle classes, but the larger estates and affluent city houses would definitely have been keen to electrify their homes. You can can show this influence by including lamps with period shades, such as those with tassels and soft fabric surrounds.
Tiffany lamps, as well as large, decorative ceiling lights were also very fashionable, especially with glass etched shades.
It’s important not to overdo an Edwardian themed room when it comes to decoration. Choose some key pieces and go sparingly. William Edwards, makers of fine bone china, recommend an Edwardian china set on display: “Royal Worcester china and similarly styled reproductions would make a very elegant and fitting ornamental display for a dining room or even a living room”.
Other accessories include old gramophones with conical horns, large cake stands and silver photo frames in art nouveau styles. Flower arranging was a popular Edwardian pastime too!
Decorating your home using Edwardian design and ornaments is a fantastic alternative to the more cluttered, and often more expensive Victorian styles, with its airy colours, floral wallpapers and art nouveau ornaments, your home will have a unique period look all of its own!
By Harry Price – Harry Price is a writer and personal trainer. He left his career as an interior decorator to pursue his own business ventures and has never looked back.