With a lot of popular interior design blogs, there seems to be a huge emphasis on keeping everything modern, plain and minimalist. However, if you have an older home, minimalist and modern just isn’t going to work. We’ve lived in some gorgeous old terraced houses, which would have looked ridiculous with a modern theme. We made the most of the sort of old ‘life is beautiful’ theme and embraced it completely. Here are my top tips for more classic interiors:
Paint Your Trim Work a Neutral, Contrasting Colour
If the trim work you have in your home is in a good condition, and you really want to accentuate it, then a contrasting, neutral shade like blue-grey can be just the ticket. Spread this throughout every room in your home, and you’ll create a sense of fluidity which will bring it all together. When there’s a contrast between the trim work, walls and ceilings, you’ll naturally draw people’s gaze upwards, making your rooms seem larger, more stately, and give the whole home more of an architectural appeal.
Cover Awkward Windows with Drapery
Many older homes have truly beautiful windows. However, a lot of them also have some windows with a distinct, quirky style installed in awkward places. You can clean up the look subtly with some full-wall drapery, without completely blocking them out and erasing all the natural light from your rooms. If you’ve got any high, thin windows that look like they were installed as a clumsy afterthought, then some light drapes can be perfect for making the wall look softer and more polished. We don’t often think about using window shutters in UK, but it’s worth a consideration if you’re looking for classic decor with a twist –plantation shutters always look cute and quirky, whilst not looking out of place.
Mix the Past with the Present
I hate it when people own a home with a unique, rustic beauty on the exterior, and fill it with modern, minimalist design conventions which only serve to make everything appear somehow flat and cold. That’s not to say I’m opposed to modern interior design in general! However, if you’re living in an older home, I recommend mixing modern pieces with other items that feel like they fit the period of the home. If you have a Victorian or Edwardian home, for example, you could get a leather chesterfield sofa, and offset it with an ultra-modern end table lamp. This will help to tie the vintage aspects of your home to day-to-day life and draw attention to the focal points.
Use Open, Airy Shelves
When you’re trying to work with the character of a vintage home, one of the biggest challenges is filling it with the practical furnishings and items that you need without suffocating the old-fashioned charm. Open, airy shelving units are often the perfect way to get around this issue. By keeping the solid structure of your shelving unit to a minimum, you’ll give yourself somewhere to display ornaments, books, and so on, all the while giving the rustic charm of the architecture some room to breathe. The gallery-like charm of many of these units will mesh well with a vintage tone, while still appearing somewhat modern.
Light it up
Period properties can often be darker – certainly the Victorian terraces we have lived in have been quite dark and at times, dingy spaces. Lighting is of utmost importance. Bright overhead ceiling lights are just not going to work in a classic style house – what you are looking is for is atmospheric and soft lighting to create a feeling of ambience. Chandelier type light fittings create a softer swathe of light in a house, casting interesting shadows, but my favourite way of lighting any house, but especially an older style one, is through candles and lamps. Big candlesticks in fireplaces, on side tables and dining tables give the house a sense of romance and grandeur whilst lamps doted about are great for when you do need that extra brightness. I’m particulaly a fan of uplights – where the light is diffused onto the ceilings, rather than a direct hit of brightness. Again, this can create some lovely shadows.