Style Insight: How to Create
a Traditional Home


If the sound of refined furnishings, mannerly textiles, dignified colours and a sense of order makes you smile, this could be the style for you.

How to...
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Amber Moore
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June 16, 2017

Structure

Following a change of legislation that meant that windows no longer needed to be built flat to the wall, there was the creation of the bay window which was hugely popular.

Bay windows have tons of benefits in a modern-day home, the biggest being the extra natural light flooding into the room. Bay windows are usually utilised best in the living room, where they can create an additional seating area.

 

Image via housetohome.co.uk

 

A structure that sky-rocketed in popularity following the industrial revolution was the big Victorian fireplace. They were often made of cast iron, which has remained popular ever since – even when changing style, the original traditional fireplace is often maintained.

 

Image via Stovax Heating Group

 

Porcelain and ceramic floor tiles, often heavily patterned or in geometric mosaics, were common features of traditional kitchens and bathrooms. Alternatively, a lot of homes instead chose to have polished wooden floorboards. Flooring was another expression of wealth as the more expensive choices of flooring of the era were only owned by the middle and upper classes.

 

Image via Wealden Times

 

Dark stained wooden skirting boards were incredibly popular in traditional décor, and were often contrasting to the ceiling mouldings that tended to match the white ceilings.

The mouldings were often very intricate patterns such as roses and took inspiration from gothic décor. The combination of the skirting boards and ceiling mouldings gives the room an enhancement that conveys elegance and grandeur.

 

Image via mialinnman.blogspot.com

 

Colour schemes

Traditional homes tend to have a rich, dark colour scheme featuring a lot of deep reds and forest greens. The paint used tended to be in these primary colours as the chemical processes used in paint manufacturing were still developing, so other colours came in later in the century.

 

Image via AndrewMartinInt on Flickr

 

Furniture

Traditional décor often is in a symmetrical arrangement, but with an excess of furniture around the room, originally intended for when the Victorians would entertain their guests – the excess furniture tends to be dialled down these days.

One of the most iconic pieces of Victorian furniture is the Chesterfield sofa – a large deep buttoned sofa with high rolled arms. They were most commonly seen in vintage leathers and colourful velvets.

 

Image via Remodelista

 

Another common feature of traditional sofas is that they tend to be upholstered with patterned floral fabrics. For the less wealthy who couldn’t afford a Chesterfield sofa, they instead opted for overstuffed, plump sofas.

 

Image via ETHAN ALLEN

 

More iconic piece of furniture in traditional décor include the roll top bath. This is a type of free-standing bath that has curved edges around the top and which, in the Victorian era, was usually rounded with claw feet. A roll top bath creates a sleek and luxurious centrepiece to the bathroom.

 

Image via Homes & Antiques

 

Art

Paint effects became a very popular artistic decorating method in traditional homes. Methods such as marbling and stencilling were used in many homes during the 19th century. Wallpaper also was gaining popularity, as it went into mass production during the 1840s.

Traditionally, the walls were only papered up to the dado rail (a decorative moulding that ran horizontally along the wall, halfway between the floor and the ceiling), and often had a raised pattern.

 

Image via The Victorian Emporium

 

Traditional oil paintings featured heavily in the homes of wealthy Victorians on large canvases. They were often portraits of the people who lived in the house, or sometimes natural scenes and still life pieces. They were framed in expensive, moulded wooden frames, frequently painted gold.

 

Image via houzz.com

 

Lighting

In a traditional home, you should opt for brass, cast iron, pewter and tin light fittings. They can be in the form of classic chandeliers to add a touch of elegance, or in the form of industrial factory pendant lights that were more affordable and therefore incredibly popular for the working class.

 

Image via Beautiful House

 

The other type of lighting that can bring traditional elements to your home are the classic Victorian lamp shades. The lamp shades are usually complete with tassels and will jazz up your room, Great Gatsby style!

 

Image via Laura Ashley

 

Accessories

In a traditional Victorian home, the décor is the opposite of minimal. This means displaying as many knick-knacks and ornaments as possible, originally intended to show off the homeowner’s wealth. In richer homes, they included pianos – bare rooms were considered to be in bad taste in that era. Some examples of ornaments used includes porcelain figurines and antiques.

 

Image via Dwell

 

In the hallway, a stair runner is the perfect accessory for a traditional home. They are traditionally plain or have a stripe down the centre, and are run on dark painted or stained stairs.

 

Image via Wealden Times

 

Another traditional feature seen in the living room, is using a crowded fireplace as a focal point. The fireplace can be crowded with more ornaments such as antique clocks or dried flowers.

 

Image via amazing-grates.co.uk

 

Hero image: By Koket

Amber Moore

Amber Moore

Amber is a MSci Biology student at University of Southampton. When she's not studying, she spends her time gushing over puppies - or anything fluffy really!