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Period Homes

When decorating a period home, it is important to consider the era of the property whether you choose to embrace it or not. Many Farrow & Ball colours are rooted in the past enabling you to create a decorating scheme that is sympathetic to the age of your home; or a scheme evocative of your favourite decorating era.

Georgian Decorating (1714 – 1830)

Living Room with walls in Pavillion Gray and woodwork in All White
Dining Room in Calke Green No.34 | Estate Eggshell

The Georgian era is often referred to as The Age of Elegance. The most important element in Georgian Interiors is perfect proportion alongside carefully balanced colours.

Georgian rooms typically included several decorative features such as plaster and stuccowork, elaborate doorways, panelling, gilding or marble effect paint work. The colours used were muted and sophisticated, a look perfectly suited to the Farrow & Ball palette.

To create this look choose dirtied colours like Mouse’s Back, Dead Salmon, Lichen, Pigeon and Picture Gallery Red. Typically these would have had a sheen so Modern Emulsion would be the most appropriate finish to choose.

As the style evolved, colour became lighter with the use of dusky pinks like Setting Plaster, soft greys like Pavilion Gray, and cleaner greens and blues like Folly Green and Lulworth Blue as well as the introduction of strong yellows like India Yellow. All these would be used in a matt finish like our Estate Emulsion.

If you are lucky enough to have original plaster work or panelling then colours like Off-White, Fawn and Olive would be most appropriate.

Victorian Decorating (1830 – 1900)

Living Room with walls in Pavillion Gray and woodwork in All White
Living Room in Rectory Red No.217 | Estate Emulsion

The Victorian era stretched for over fifty years and over this period decorating styles changed and evolved. It was also a great era of change in the home as mass production of items meant that homes could upgrade much more easily and there was a great range of architectural styles.

The Victorian era was largely dominated by stronger shades, but for an early Victorian look choose lighter pinks like Dimity and Calluna along with iridescent whites such as Great White.

The classic Victorian palette includes crisp blues like Parma Gray, rich greens like Saxon Green and solar yellows such as Citron. However by the end of the century colours became more muted and soft again best represented by Cinder Rose and Green Smoke.

Wallpaper was increasingly popular in the Victorian era, and was dominated by damasks and large floral, bird and animal motifs best reflected in Silvergate, Orangerie and Versailles. The background colours to these papers would have been fairly drab in the main, like French Gray or London Stone.

Ornate plasterwork was used on ceilings, roses and cornices usually coloured in warm neutrals like Joa’s White or Archive for a rich sumptuous look.

Edwardian Decorating (1900 – 1914)

Living Room with walls in Pavillion Gray and woodwork in All White
Living Room in Wisteria BP2202 & Wimborne White No.239 | Wallpaper & Estate Eggshell

After the heaviness, clutter and dark colours of Victorian interiors, people wanted something less formal. Edwardian style was seen as a breath of fresh air. Homes were less status symbols and more refuges.

There were fewer, larger rooms, with lighter spaces and there was a return to a simpler more pared down approach to colour and generally the use of fewer colours.

Fresh, pastel colours were used to create this sense of light and space. Pastel blues like Skylight or Pale Powder, fresh greens like Tunsgate Green and Green Ground, and pinks such as Calamine, as well as simple creams like Tallow and Ringwold Ground can all be used to create this look today.

Wallpapers were similarly feminine with flowers and floral designs highly favoured to achieve the Edwardian ideals of freshness and light. These would be best represented by Peony, Wisteria and Jasmine.

To complete the scheme woodwork, cornices and ceilings were painted bright whites like All White, Wimborne White and Pointing.

Art Deco Decorating (1910 – 1945)

Living Room with walls in Pavillion Gray and woodwork in All White
Living Room in Tessella BP 3603 & Tessella BP 3604

Art Deco interior design began in Europe. By the end of World War I, Art Deco was a very popular choice and was the leading style until the end of the second World War in 1945.

The style is characterised by rich colours, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation, a look that has retained real influence today.

Colour was strong and compromising – there was a lot of black! Pitch Black or Black Blue in Full Gloss and huge amounts of chrome immediately evoke this look. Strong yellows like Babouche were also used to create a bold look along with clean reds like Incarnadine and Blazer. These were very often combined with a grey colour on the woodwork – either a light grey like Blackened or a dark grey such as Down Pipe.

For a less dramatic art deco look, creams and neutrals along with shades of green can also be used. Choose neutrals like Skimming Stone, Shaded White and the slightly stronger Dove Tale combined with Churlish Green or Arsenic.

Art Deco is all about symmetry and balance so geometric wallpapers were the most popular. Although not strictly from this period the following wallpapers could be used in strong colours; Stripes, Tessella, Lattice, Ranelagh and even Lotus.

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