While it would be nice to live in a stately home, most of us aren’t self-made millionaires or a member of the royal family! However, by copying the design techniques that stately homes use, it is possible to emulate that feeling of luxury and opulence in your own home. Here are some room decorating tips learned from stately homes.
Don’t be Afraid to Try Bold Colours
Many stately homes have rooms with vibrantly painted walls and brilliant wallpapers. Don’t be afraid of using a rich colour to give a room impact and drama. Avoid garish colours like bright pink and instead opt for deep and rich primary colours. Vibrant shades of red and blue are very popular choices for lounge rooms and dining rooms.
Don’t use the same colour throughout the house — most stately homes use neutral paint colours in kitchens and service areas including buttercream, ivory and parchment.
Some rooms in stately homes have colours that are built around a central theme. A room might have a collection of landscape paintings, so the shades of paint and wallpaper are matched to reflect the colours used in the artworks.
Have Your Timber on Display
Timber furniture, staircases and wood panelled walls are all heavily featured in stately homes. Timber adds a level of warmth, comfort and authenticity that other materials cannot match. A beautiful piece of polished wood exudes class and quality timber should be highlighted.
Voluptuous and Voluminous Curtains
One of the first things many people notice about the interiors of stately homes are the huge and elaborate curtains framing the windows. Floor-length curtains are very common and usually made from rich fabrics with tasselled cords holding them back. Curtains in stately homes usually hang from stained timber or gilded metal rods and are hemmed with a braid or tassel fringe. Limit the use of these kinds of curtains to living areas and bedrooms — bathrooms and service areas should use much simpler curtains.
Ornate Furniture and Decorative Objects
Stately homes are usually filled with an eclectic mix of classical antique furniture featuring polished timber and ornate designs. Use antique furniture as much as possible and fill rooms with a mixture of pieces from various periods including Regency, Queen Anne, Victorian, Georgian, Tudor and Edwardian. Mixing pieces from various design periods gives the impression that your family has been collecting furniture for a few hundred years! The pieces should be varied and include stools, coffee tables, small desks, drinks tables, card tables and vanities.
Most stately homes have a mixture of pieces and rarely have a matching chair and lounge. Mixing the type of wood used in the pieces also helps accentuate the ‘collected over time’ feeling of a room. Use antique rugs and runners throughout your home to add a sense of authenticity and class.
Interesting and ornate objects can be used to make a space fell more luxurious. Use various objects including antique candelabras, vases, mirrors, clocks, candy bowls, ashtrays and glassware to fill the room. Arrange items symmetrically on various pieces of furniture throughout the room.
Use Decorative Mouldings
Stately homes often use feature-rich ceilings to add sophistication to a room’s architecture. Use crown or cove cornice mouldings to give the room a grander appearance. You can also add additional layers of mouldings to make the ceiling more impressive or add plaster ornaments to give the room character.
Before mobile phones and large LCD televisions people relied upon portraiture to memorialise or commemorate their loved ones. While modern homes tend to favour large blank walls, the walls in stately homes are often adorned with many large portraits. Consider commissioning an artist to paint images of your family. Combined with a beautiful frame, a portrait adds a focal point to the room. Alternatively, landscapes of the local area can be used to add a regional flavour to a room.
Group Furniture to Accommodate Conversation
The large rooms in stately homes would often be divided into smaller sections. For example, a large room might include two grouping of chairs, a bar area with seating and a fireplace to gather around. Furniture was arranged to accommodate conversation between smaller groups of people.
Lots of Soft Furnishings
You can use soft furnishings to emulate the luxury and comfort found within stately homes. Place many decorative pillows around the room in a mixture of styles.
Hide Your Technology!
One thing that can quickly kill the illusion of being in a stately home is the presence of modern day technology. Hide your entertainment system, computer and various pieces of modern day technology by placing it inside cabinets, behind paintings or within folding desks.