Set Your Styling Objective

In styling your period home, first set your objective. What look do you want for your home? What mix of period feel and modern practicality do you want? Your home needs to have its 21st century comforts, but many of us like to have at least some rooms in a period property decorated and furnished in a period style.

What are you trying to achieve?

museum standard

With this extreme perspective you take your house back to an 'as new' state but without any of the creature comforts of the 21st century. You will use coal and wood fires, a range for heating water and cooking, and have oil and gas lamps. You will find original furniture and fabrics and commission reproduction wallpaper. Perhaps you could even dress and live to match the period.

Although few people use this approach with Victorian homes, some 1950s enthusiasts aim to preserve their homes to a museum standard.

original period

With this perspective you take your house back to an 'as new' state. You find original furniture and fabrics and commission reproduction wallpaper.

However, you want the creature comforts of the 21st century; with central heating, electric lighting and appliances. You may hide TVs and computers in appropriate furniture.

selected period

This is similar to the 'original period' approach but instead you recreate your home's appearance at a set date in its life; perhaps you restyle your Victorian home as it might have appeared in 1920.

sympathetic

In this approach you use modern furniture, fabrics and wallpapers which take their influences from original styles.

You keep the creature comforts of the 21st century; with central heating, electric lighting and appliances.

totally modern

This approach is a cosmetic modernisation. Although you preserve original architectural features, you paint walls and woodwork in colours of the latest fashion, with no obvious period influences. You add wooden flooring or plain carpets.

You might choose the latest stainless steel kitchen fittings, or go for free-standing units in pale wood.

You fit spot lights in the ceiling, and choose free-standing lights in steel or chrome.

This modern perspective is what many homeowners have taken throughout history; they want to impress visitors by demonstrating their affluence and portraying a modern aesthetic.

stripped modern

In this extreme approach, you remove some or all of the architectural details including doors and fireplaces, and then style your home with the latest colours, furniture and fittings.

On the one hand you are throwing away important historical details, but on the other you are following in the modernising tradition of humans since the days of caves and huts.

mixed

You may mix and match the other approaches; perhaps you have one or two rooms close to museum standard, and the rest in a sympathetic style.

This is the approach that many period house owners take as it gives you a workable compromise.

The next step is to choose the period and design style to work towards.