Georgian Style Decorating Tips

In this episode, David and Charlotte have recently moved into the house of their dreams, a Georgian pile dating back to 1789. They would like furniture in keeping with the period of the property but they don't want it to be stuffy and they haven't got a clue about antiques. Experts Mark and Kathryn guide them through the world of high-end antiques, mixing styles and eras to give David and Charlotte an impressive period dining room that's still funky, fashionable and affordable.

WHAT IS THE GEORGIAN AND EDWARDIAN STYLE?

The Georgian style is named after the decorating style that was in vogue during the reigns of George I through to George IV in England, covering a time period from 1714 to 1837. It was strongly influenced by a number of other styles, such as NeoClassical (classical Greek and Roman art and architecture), Rococo (French curved and cockleshell style of design), Gothic revival, French aristocratic style and oriental art and design.

It is said that the Georgian style takes the best of the French influence in Rococo, marries it with the straight lines and symmetry of the Palladian style and mixes all this together with a Gothic feel and a touch of the orient. The Georgian style gradually became more decorative throughout the period but this is not a huge consideration unless you want your home to be completely historically accurate. The Edwardian era of design was essentially a revival of the Georgian style.

5 WAYS TO RECREATE THE GEORGIAN LOOK IN YOUR HOME

As you saw from the episode (click here for full details of the items mentioned), some key things that you can do to achieve this look are:

1. Make the walls a focus. Walls were a very important part of the Georgian interior and much attention was paid to their treatment. The wall area was divided into three sections: 1) The bottom section – a form of dado/wainscoting/wood panelling, incorporating the skirting base board, dado panel and rail (which would be at a height of approximately 75cm), 2) The centre or mid-wall section – the main part of the wall. This was the area where wallpaper of fabric panels often hung, and 3) The top section – the top part of the wall consisted of a picture rail, frieze and cornice. What hung on the walls was just as important as the walls themselves. Textiles, tapestries and fabric walling made from wool damask or silk were the height of fashion as were intricately flocked or oriental patterned wallpapers. Paintings were of course very popular and sometimes prints were directly applied onto the walls. To recreate the Edwardian style in your home, look out for wallpaper and fabrics with the ‘Toile de Jouy’ pattern. ‘Toile’ means ‘cloth’ in French and the term refers to a fabric founded in 1760 by German-born Christophe-Phillippe Oberkampf. It consisted of beautiful bird and floral prints in a single colour – typically, red, sepia, indigo or purple, on a white or cream cotton background. Other patterns that are very Edwardian are urns or columns and Chinese designs of birds. You could also hang Edwardian style portraits or silhouettes on the walls or do what the couple in the show did and amass a range of paintings in different sizes and styles as a focal point. Try to incorporate some gold or gilded frames to give your walls that regal touch.

2. Choose a coordinating colour scheme. The colours of this period are actually quite toned-down. Walls were painted in muted shades such as off whites, olive, pale blue, browns, greys and a specific pale green colour called ‘eau-de-nil’. Later on, richer but still relatively muted golds, yellows, reds, pinks, deep blues, turquoises and indigos were introduced. Wood work on the skirtings, dados, doors and wainscots was either stained or painted in white, olive, stone or chocolate brown. The key to the Georgian style is coordination - your soft furnishings should blend perfectly with your walls.

3. Let the light in. Keeping warm and having as much light as possible in their rooms was important to the people living in the Georgian era. For this reason, the fireplace was the focus in every home. If you have a Georgian style house, make the most of it as design feature. The fireplaces were usually made of white painted wood or white marble. You could breathe new life into an old fireplace by painting it in a marble effect finish. Apart from the fireplace, other items representative of the period are candlesticks with a classical design, a rococo-style candelabra or wall lanterns made from wood, brass, glass or silver. The Georgians also built their houses with large windows and used mirrors to make the rooms look larger and reflect the light that was already there. Again, when purchasing a mirror, select one with a gilt frame that’s in keeping with the period.

4. Create a classic and uncluttered interior design. Georgian style does not actually include that much furniture. Furniture was arranged around the walls and the middle of the room was left empty. This is not to say that furniture was not important. On the contrary, the Georgian age was considered the golden age of British furniture because it was all about quality rather than quantity. Georgian furniture is beautiful and strong and has had a lasting effect on furniture ideas and designs, even today. One of the most famous furniture designers of the era was Thomas Chippendale, a London cabinet maker and furniture designer in the mid-Georgian, English Rococo and Neoclassical styles. He not only made furniture but also advised on soft furnishings and the colour that a room should be painted in. It is not surprising he had many high- profile aristocratic clients. Other famous furniture names of the period are Sheraton and Hepplewhite. Most of the furniture from this era is large, spacious, bold, heavy and masculine but the fine scroll and flute detailing that often appears on the legs or arms adds gracefulness. When buying Georgian furniture, look for the distinctive ‘ball and claw’ feet and that it is made of a dark wood like mahogany, maple or walnut. Some of the furniture from this period is fancier again - embellished with ornate wood inlays, gilding and lacquering. Other Georgian pieces to scout around for are regency chairs, sideboards, chaise-longues, three-part dining tables with curved ends, and sofas or chairs with ‘scrolled’ arms.

5. Go for regal floors, soft furnishings and accessories. To complete the look, it’s important not to forget about the floors. They could be parquet, waxed wood or even inlaid. Sometimes they even had stenciling patterns around the edge. If you opt for waxed wood, top it with a Georgian style rug – oriental, neoclassical or Turkish designs are all good choices. If you have a large area of floor and want to make it really posh, the Georgians would have laid marble or stone. Wall-to-wall carpets were also common – just make sure it’s a plain neutral or very light in colour. If you want a patterned carpet, it needs to be something intricate and delicate. Curtains were impressive but don’t make them too fussy. Anything with drapes, swags and tails will work - festoon blinds with fringes are ideal. Again fabric was not heavily patterned so choose something small that is striped or floral. Accessories also help convey the regal feel. You could have a beautiful regency decanter as a table centrepiece or you could add a hunting motif to the walls like the antlers Kathryn painted in gold gilding on the show.

AUSTRALIAN SITES TO VISIT TO GET THE GEORGIAN LOOK:

1. http://www.roys-antiques.com.au
2. http://www.onlineantiques.com.au/
3. http://www.centenarycentre.com.au
4. http://www.britanniaantiques.net.au/
5. http://www.twiceuponatime.com.au/

STOCKISTS

Gilded antlers
950 pds $1,546.69
Fandango Interiors

19th century table*
3,000 pds $ 4,944.30
Elizabeth James

Set of regency chairs
7,000 pds $ 11,536.70
Elizabeth James

Antlers
950 pds $ 1,565.70
Fandango Interiors
http://www.fandangointeriors.co.uk

Reproduction chair
3,600 pds $ 5,933.16
Soane http://www.soane.co.uk

Early 19th Century sideboard
3,550 pds $ 5,850.75
Elizabeth James

ANTIQUES

Edwardian dining table
1,650 pds $2,719.36

Gilded antlers
165 pds $271.87
Lincolnshire antiques fair http://www.arthurswallowfairs.co.uk

Sarcophagus style tea caddy
95 pds $156.53
Lincolnshire antiques fair http://www.arthurswallowfairs.co.uk

Set of Victorian chairs
1,359 pds $2,239.22
Bushwood Antique http://www.bushwood.co.uk

Edwardian dining table
1,550 pds $2,553.94
Bushwood Antiques http://www.bushwood.co.uk

Georgian sideboard
1,550 pds $2,553.94
Bushwood Antiques http://www.bushwood.co.uk

Regency decanter
52 pds $85.68
Hemswell Antiques http://www.hemswell-antiques.com/


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