Kitchen Decor

Here we discuss how to treat the walls, floor and ceiling of a period-style kitchen sympathetic to Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and other early 20th century styles.

To recreate a traditional kitchen, bear in the mind the desire of a Victorian cook to keep all surfaces clean. By the mid-19th century the link between dirt and disease was beginning to be understood; floors and walls, as well as work surfaces, needed to be scrubbed and so elaborate paint finishes, fancy wallpaper, and plaster cornices were not suitable.

To match this, use bare wooden boards for the floor, or cover boards with a linoleum in a plain pattern or else a tiled design. Alternatively, quarry tiles are hard-wearing. A washable rug might add a decorative note that is easier on the feet. Modern compromises would include a cushioned linoleum or glazed floor tiles.

Similarly the walls had to be easy to clean; to reflect this, your kitchen walls could be half-tiled with a washable wallpaper or painted surface above.
The ceiling would have been painted or use a distemper which could be washed off perhaps twice a year and re-coated. The modern kitchen could use an off-white matt paint to give a similar effect.

Generally colours would have reflected those in fashion at the time; wood was painted in a brown or a dark colour with walls in creams, pale greens and blues or yellow. All of these options can be recreated easily.