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From drawing room to everyday living room the Edwardian home; furniture and interior decoration

During the Edwardian era drawing rooms became less formal and were used for everyday living. The interior design of these rooms was simpler, lighter and had a more relaxed vibe that those fussy, highly decorative rooms of the Victorian era.

Floors

Floors in the Edwardian home were mostly timber. They were stained, varnished and waxed. Parquet   floors were still popular. Linoleum was used in kitchens. Carpet squares, rugs and runners in Oreintal patterns were used in the drawing room, dining room, entry and hallways. Neo Georgian patterned and plain carpets in soft greys, greens and blues were considered high fashion.

Furniture

The rage of the day was to have sofas and armchairs covered with flowered chintz loose covers. Sometimes silk, brocade and leather were used. Wicker and bamboo furniture with loose covers were fashionable additions to the drawing room. They were also used on verandahs. The furniture was arranged in conversation groups and matching lounge suites became popular.

Reproduction Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite & Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie pieces were highly sort after. China cabinets, bureaus, coffee tables and mirrors often matched. The timbers used mahogany, oak, burred oak, chestnut and teak. The colours and styles of furniture used were much lighter than in the previous era. Reproductions of Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite furniture were also very popular.

Gate leg table

The chairs used in the dining room were usually Chippendale. In Australia Queen Anne furniture still remained popular. Gateleg tables with barley sugar twist turned legs and drop leaves supported on hinged gates were used.

 

Walls

Sometimes walls were timber paneled, sometimes wallpaper was placed in panels with a stenciled frieze especially in the dining room. The house I am working has timber paneling in the entrance hall, drawing room and dining room in a teak colour.

Wallpapers in small all over patterns and stripes with floral motifs were popular. The flowers could be roses, hollyhocks, wisteria, clover and daffodils composed of baskets, trailing in ribbons or trellis designs. An example of wallpaper used in drawing room is Marlborough by Coles & Son in Art Nouveau style. During the Edwardian era picture rails and friezes were still popular. The dado was slowly going out of fashion.

 

Window treatments

Curtains had off white or white backgrounds at sill or floor length. The fabrics used; damask, silk wool and tapestry. Madras muslin, Nottingham, French and Swiss lace usually at sill length replaced the fashion for floor length lace curtains. Festoon and roller blinds in plain or patterned fabrics were still fashionable. Pleated valances and pelmets were very simple straight or curved to suit arched style windows. Simple brass rods were often used. Shutters and ventian blinds were also placed on the outside of windows.

 

Some colours and detailing used in Edwardian living rooms:

Ceilings:

  • Were often pressed metal or plastered panels
  • Were painted in subdued colours

Ceiling rose:

  • White

Cornice:

  • Off White and Buttermilk

Frieze and staff moulds:

  • Magnolia
  • Sometimes the frieze was painted the same colour as the ceiling

Stencils:

  • Still used but not considered fashionable

Plaster Work:

  • Painted in shades of buff or blue grey

Body of walls:

  • Sometimes distemper was used

Entrance hall walls:

  • Often painted in popular Wedgewood Blue

Joinery:

  • Buttermilk, Off White or Service Brown
  • Joinery pine painted, vanished or stained

Skirtings boards:

  • Were deep and with light decorative profiles

Doors:

  • Had four or more panels
  • Had high lockrails
  • Fanlights were placed above interior doors

Fireplaces:

  • Cast iron grates
  • Tiled panels
  • Timber or marble chimney pieces
  • Mirrored overmantels were placed over timber chimnley pieces.

 

The Edwardian house I am working on as I stated in former blogs is a mix of interior design styles. I have placed some images in this blog to give you an idea of what I mean. As you can see from the photographs the colours used on the walls are very dark. The dining room has a dark green above the timber panels. The colours selected for the renovation of the living areas are soft greens and warm whites.

The project continues. A large extension has been designed. The work will take place in stages and will not be complete for about six months. I plan to show you some before and after shots in future blogs.

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