Whether you live in a period property which previous generations of occupants have stripped of its original charms, or you want to add a bit of character to a more modern property. Adding or restoring a few ‘period’ features to your home can go a long way in creating a quaint or cosy atmosphere.
Now, of course there’s much to be said for the chic atmosphere of modern interior design. And many people will worry about making their home look stuffy or old fashioned, but by carefully blending elements of traditional and contemporary design, it is possible to both ‘have your cake, and eat it too’ allowing you to create spaces with ambiances that are neither overly kitsch or clinical. Here are a few of our favourite ways you can bring a bit of old world charm to a room:
Expose the fireplace
As central heating became more readily available. More and more homes started ripping out their fireplaces. However, modern heating as efficient and easy to use it is, can’t quite compete with the charms of curling up by the fireplace on a rainy autumnal evening with a good book. The telltale sign of covered up fireplace is the the still visible chimney breast, giving it a light tap should result in a hollow sound.
There is a huge range of both modern and traditional fireplaces and wood-burners available which can be relatively quickly installed, whether you opt for gas, coal or wood. If you would prefer not to have a working fire in your home, then you could still use the gap created by the fireplace to display an ornament or large vase of flowers, just make sure the chimney is properly blocked to reduce heat loss!
Flooring is one of the most important aspects in a room when it comes to establishing its feel and atmosphere, despite this it is also one of the most overlooked areas homeowners think about when redecorating a room. Using more traditional flooring types such as hardwood or stone will work well in most rooms, no matter how modern the interior. If you live in an older property then it is worth having a peek under your existing flooring, you might just get lucky and find some beautiful victorian hardwood or stone flagging, or perhaps even some encaustic tiling!
If you live in a newer property then you could always seek out some reclaimed hardwood flooring, which is usually cheaply available.
Restore or install sash windows
we made a post a couple of weeks ago about how you can keep your home cool in the summer heat, revealing a little known secret about the function of sash windows. Despite their merits many homeowners have replaced their old sash windows with modern UPVC windows due their increased energy efficiency. You don’t have to compromise however, by spending just a little bit more you could install sash UPVC windows, that retain much of the original charm of traditional sash windows while still offering all of those energy and safety benefits. For a little more again you could have contemporary wooden sash double glazed windows fitted.
It’s also possible to have original sash windows restored and upgraded to be double glazed which will dramatically increase the energy efficiency of your home while retaining its original features.
Once seen as overly old-fashioned and plastered over, ceiling roses have seen a great resurgence in popularity, and when combined with contemporary or industrial pendent lighting they make a fantastic focal point for any dining or living room. Again, if you live in an older property and see that the ceiling is slightly uneven, it may be that lying beneath is a beautiful, original ceiling rose. Though, it would be best to consult an expert before you start stripping away as the plaster to see if it is concealing one. If not then modern recreations of victorian ceiling roses can be picked up relatively inexpensively, if you want something a little more unique however you could always have one made bespoke for your home.
Restore the stairs
Back in the 1960’s many homeowners ripped out their ornate victorian staircases in favour of, popular then, ranch style staircases which can today feel a little flimsy and look unremarkable. Getting a hand turned staircase in traditional style is a marvellous way to add a little grandeur to your home. If you’re lucky enough for your home to retain it’s original staircase, you may want to get it checked to see if any part of it due a restoration for health and safety reasons.