Try So­phie’s idea… high­light pe­riod features

Em­brace the orig­i­nal de­tail­ing in your home to in­ject char­ac­ter and cel­e­brate its his­tory

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Choose a hero hue from your tiles to pick out else­where in the scheme

Ev­ery house has its own par­tic­u­lar charm and this of­ten stems from the orig­i­nal features that link the build­ing to the era in which it was built. In the 1980s and ’90s there was a fad for rip­ping out these ‘dated’ de­sign el­e­ments. Nowa­days, we ap­pre­ci­ate that these spe­cial in­te­rior el­e­ments make our homes unique, and are keen to pre­serve them with­out be­ing a slave to pe­riod style. Read on for our best house-his­tory tips.

Floor to ceil­ing

One of the first places to turn your at­ten­tion to should be the floor­ing. Most old houses have beau­ti­ful wooden floors, ei­ther in reg­u­lar par­al­lel boards or in a par­quet style. You of­ten will find them hid­den be­neath drab car­pet and, once sanded and var­nished, they can bring beau­ti­ful warmth and char­ac­ter into the room. On bare stair­cases, add a tra­di­tional car­pet run­ner with brass stair rods for a clas­sic and prac­ti­cal de­sign so­lu­tion.

If your home is blessed with sash, bay or arched win­dows, don’t drown them with heavy cur­tains. In­stead, in­stall clean-lined Ro­man blinds to let these ar­chi­tec­tural features shine. Other de­sign de­tails worth high­light­ing are or­nate ceil­ing roses, cov­ing and picture rails – and paint place­ment is key to mak­ing the most of these features. Use a pale colour on your ceil­ing but leave dec­o­ra­tive plas­ter­work and cov­ing bright white. Only paint walls up to the picture rail, and use this fea­ture for its orig­i­nal pur­pose by hang­ing art­works and mir­rors from it – you find ev­ery­thing you need to do this at UK Picture Fram­ing Sup­plies.

Colour and pat­tern

If you’re lucky enough to have been left with a pe­riod fire­place and its orig­i­nal tiled sur­round, then al­low it to in­spire your scheme, like in So­phie’s din­ing area. Pick a wall­pa­per de­sign that con­tains the main tile colour as a high­light and use it to fill the al­coves ei­ther side of the chim­ney breast.

Con­sider choos­ing pat­terns from the era of your home, but don’t feel lim­ited to this idea. Toile de Jouy was pop­u­lar dur­ing the Ge­or­gian pe­riod but would look equally at home in prop­er­ties built up un­til the early 20th cen­tury. To help with paint colours,

many com­pa­nies such as lit­tle Greene now have ranges based on dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods and are a great place to find in­spi­ra­tion.

Old and new

If you aren’t too strict about keep­ing to an ex­act era, ac­ces­soris­ing your home in pe­riod style can be fun – and thrifty. Delve through junk shops and scour ebay for bar­gains. Keep an eye out for old bev­elled­edge mir­rors and wooden ta­bles and chairs with dec­o­ra­tive turned legs.

Hide mod­ern panel ra­di­a­tors with or­nate cov­ers to echo the style of your scheme, or in­stall new Vic­to­rian-style col­umn ra­di­a­tors in a late 19th-cen­tury prop­erty (com­pa­nies such as the Cast Iron Ra­di­a­tor Cen­tre sup­ply these in a range of sizes).

visit a na­tional trust prop­erty that dates from a sim­i­lar era to your home for some his­tor­i­cal in­spi­ra­tion

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