Designing a room can be tough, especially if you’re trying to create a specific theme. Usually when I’m shopping I’m drawn to mid-century design and modern furnishings that compliment my existing pieces and my home, but I’ve been challenge recently with decorating a period room and I feel completely out of my comforts zone.
No, I haven’t suddenly acquired a listed property, however I am now styling and planning for our upcoming wedding that we’re having in a manor house built in 1778. The property boost original features and I want the wedding decoration to pay tribute to the exquisite mouldings, hardwood floors and stunning fireplaces.
This isn’t an image from where we are getting married, it’s in Milan, but I came across it when pinning venues ideas.
When setting a romantic mood and atmosphere, lighting is at the forefront of my research right now. Fortunately (for me!), if you are designing for a period room, there are styles to guide you through the decades. I’ve learnt so much recently that I thought I’d share a bit with you incase you’re choosing lighting to match a specific era.
1930s – 1940s
For a chic 1930’s home style, use art deco-style chandeliers for large rooms. For desktops, add authenticity with sturdy metal banker’s lamps from the decade.
The 1940s was all about Hollywood glamor style that is still widely emulated today. This morphed into more serious tones of patriotism as the war grew intense. Overall, the style became more streamlined and austere. Add an Aladdin table lamp to a side table or bunker style wall lights to transport a modern room to this era. Art Nouveau Foyer Chandeliers are still relatively easy to find to add a grander nod to the 40s.
If you want this appearance, Abbey Gate Lighting are just one of many retailers who have an exquisite range of traditional light fittings.
1950s – 1960s
Bright and inviting interiors and warm, welcoming lighting characterized hip homes of the 1950s. The tone was more casual than the formidable formality of the 30s and 40s. For a mid-century throwback in lighting, try a pair of vintage ceramic and walnut table lamps, which almost every vintage lighting shop will carry.
Abstract expressionism took root in the 60s and the past was rejected, as the world changed, technology exploded and anything was possible. Minimalism met flower power in the last half of the decade, as the Hippie movement introduced decorative and ethnic flavours. Lighting from the time varied greatly, but space age lighting dominated office and retail buildings. Jetson-style elliptical light fixtures represent the period, but are a big commitment.
1970s – 1980s
The 70s saw self-expression and individuality become hallmarks of the decade. Pendant lighting with oblique lighting via cut glass sconces were popular and can be found in modern styles that offer better actual light than the stylish but dim 70s originals. If you are a true lover of the decade, take a risk on ceramic lamps in red, orange or other bright colours at home in the discotheques of the time.
Your home, if you were alive, in the 80s, would have matched much of your wardrobe, including floral patterns and boxy profiles. Tiffany lamps were an unexpectedly traditional throwback to the Victorian era that appeared in almost every home of the time. They are a classic, timeless way to represent without going too retro.
1990 began a decade of minimalism. Toward the end of the decade, patterns snuck back into popular culture. Recessed LED lighting became popular as the psychology of light layering became part of the interior decorating culture. Look for used fixtures and, if you can get them, bulbs from the time, since the shape and size change frequently.
Today, the green evolution is making homeowners think more functionally about all design elements. Sometimes, the living room is repurposed as the home office, as workers demand the flexibility that modern technology affords. Repurposed materials find their way into art, recycled materials make their way into walls and flooring, and an increasingly relaxed style is still going strong.
Lighting fixtures need to enable clean, ambient lighting and more sophisticated layering, especially for savvy younger homeowners or tenants. Energy-efficient lighting with clean lines and bare-bones, brushed metallic or glass fixtures represent the latest trends.
Restoring a home to the style of the period it was built can be a lot of fun. Using light fittings from the period will add character and definition to the space that will impress visitors and please homeowners for decades to follow.