Décor through the decades: the Edwardian Era

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Technically spanning the period during which King Edward VII was on the throne, from 1901 to 1910, the term ‘Edwardian’ is often extended beyond the first decade of the 20th century, up to the start of the First World War in 1914.

During the era, innovations in technology, such as electric lighting, were introduced to wealthier homes. In the wider world, significant advances in transport, such as the aeroplane, were taking place. Britain peaked in its political power, leading to the maxim “the sun never sets on the British Empire”.

Edwardian Décor

In interior design, people moved away from the dark, heavily patterned and cluttered style of the Victorian era and instead chose cleaner, more neutral colour schemes with floral prints and decoration inspired by nature.

There are several motifs which are instantly recognisable as being typical of the Edwardian period. Decorative tiles, embossed ‘Lincrusta’ work, stained glass, and furniture in dark wood and wicker were all popular throughout the period. Elements such as ornate fireplaces, roll-top baths and solid wooden islands in kitchens can be recreated in a modern home.

Important Figures

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret, her sister Frances McDonald and his friend and colleague Herbert MacNair brought the work of Scottish designers to the forefront of interior design and architecture, particularly that of the Glasgow School.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany of Tiffany & Co.; he was made the company’s first official design director in 1902 and produced some stunning glasswork on windows, lamps, and decorative pieces.

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Magnolia and Irises source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

How to recreate the look

Even though the Edwardian era was so long ago, it’s easy to recreate the look modernly without your house looking too old-fashioned. There are several touches to include in any room to recreate the sophistication of an Edwardian home, using a tall Edwardian skirting board.

Stained glass and tiles are easy to match with modern décor, and some beautiful styles are available which reflect the floral and Art Nouveau designs of the early 20th century. Fired Earth’s Edwardian tiles (pictured) come in green and a very current aqua hue.

While there are many options for reproducing stained glass in your home, one option that brings a modern aesthetic to the look is a monochrome colour scheme. This works exceptionally well in bathrooms as an alternative to traditional patterned glass.

Regarding accessorising, indoor plants such as palms were popular in Edwardian homes and will complement a new colour scheme of pale blues and greens. For walls, prints of pieces by Alphonse Mucha or Aubrey Beardsley will have a stylish Art Nouveau impact; alternatively, hanging a selection of small framed photographs in black or silver frames will fit the décor of most rooms and is a great way to style smaller spaces. Long, flowing, neutral-coloured curtains will look elegant while keeping rooms airy and filled with light.

ref: 3354.29103

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