Back at the turn of the 17th century, as the traditional English style of design was fading, a new style of interior design was emerging. Not only would it change the way homes were decorated, but it changed the exterior design as well. It was during this time that the Georgian Interior Design Style began its reign.
It’s Not About the Kings
Although the Georgian name was derived from the three Kings; George l, George II, and George III (who presided over England and Ireland), they actually had very little to do with the style of design itself. They are accredited, however, with implementing changes in architecture that paved the way for the Georgian Interior Design to take hold.
Implementing a Georgian design meant you had wealth, expensive furnishings, and access to the finer things that period of time had to offer – much like a Baroque Interior Design. The difference being that Baroque was outwardly opulent and flaunted it’s impressive furnishings, while the Georgian style preferred simplicity and was more humble. In other words; a Georgian style was more discreet about flaunting it’s opulence.
Georgian Design Elements
- Lighting: The need to keep warm and provide ample light during the original period of design meant the use of beautiful fireplaces, candles and lots of windows. In today’s homes, fireplaces would still be considered the focal point of a Georgian design. Be generous with your use of candles as well as incorporating more modern chandelier fixtures made of glass, wood or wrought iron.
- Walls: Paneling was the prominent wall covering – it usually only went up half the height of the wall – with wall paper taking over where it left off. Consider using a more modern twist of bead board or wainscoting for the bottom half and painting the remaining. Ornate cornices and moldings were also popular in Georgian homes, especially in entrances and great rooms where company would gather.
- Floors: Plank wood flooring, stone, concrete and marble were the chosen flooring during the 17th century. Today you can find all kinds of flooring to replicate either hardwood or stone. Use decorative, ornately designed area rugs to combine comfort and design where needed.
- Accessories: Mirrors were quite common – many were used to stretch the supply of light. Since the fireplace was the focal point many of the accessories were found nearby the hearth; ornate fireplace screen, porcelain pieces, bronze ornaments, and filigree emblems.
- Window Treatments: Windows were kept simple; shutters or draped fabric from wooden rods. The idea was to let as much light in as possible, so the shutters were only used as a privacy means. Canopies were quite often found on the exterior.
- Front Door: The front door would be a dead giveaway for a Georgian home. High quality, filigreed fanlights were prominent as they helped light access to the home. They were kept simple, and yet stately at the same time.
Avoid Being Overwhelmed – Hire a Pro
The Georgian interior style is a fine line between overwhelming and tasteful at the same time. You’d be surprised to learn just how many American homes have some form of Georgian inspired design.
The nature of this design, although simplistic in today’s terms, can lead you to wonder how to achieve it on your own. A Georgian Interior Designer specializes in combining today’s design elements with a Georgian period of time, and would prove to be a valuable resource in taking the guess work out of implementing this style in your own home.
For more information on a Georgian Style – or to help with other rooms in your home, please visit our Interior Design Ideas and Photos. Another wonderful resource is our interior designer directory where you’ll find qualified, experienced design firms ready to help in all areas of your home, office or business.