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Edwardian Period Decorating 1901 - 1910
The Edwardian period was an exciting time, marking the beginning of a new century and the reign of a new king. These changes also brought about a whole different world of interior decorating and design. Although a heavy and dark look prevailed throughout the Victorian era, it was replaced during the Edwardian period with a more cheerful and light style of decorating. The Edwardian style of decorating also had a simpler look, especially as compared to the often cluttered look of the Victorian period.
Common Features of Edwardian Period StyleThis first English decorating style of the 20th century had a slightly eclectic look and feel. Because it combined many of the elements of previous Georgian, Tudor and Medieval styles, the overall look was one of variety. A much lighter, airier and simpler look prevailed, which was evident in the decorating techniques used as well as the furniture pieces.
Interior decorating colors focused on shades that were light and fresh, giving homes a friendlier and more informal look and feel. This was in sharp contrast to the previously dark style of decorating that was common during the Victorian period. Pastel shades of yellow, blue, green, gray and lilac were commonly used. Floral designs and feminine patterns were also quite prevalent, which helped to add to the overall cheerful look. In addition to using floral print fabrics, rooms were often decorated with fresh floral arrangements. In the living room, colors were often slightly darker, such as combining cream colored walls with dark green upholstered pieces.
Although wood was still a common material used for furniture pieces, the Edwardian period also focused heavily on materials such wicker and bamboo. These lighter materials added to the more delicate and airy look of interior decorating styles. Reproduction furniture pieces were also commonly used, borrowing style details from rococo, empire and baroque styles. Chintz and damask in light shades were frequently used for upholstered pieces, and classically shaped wing back chairs were common. Because reproduction pieces were so commonly used, some people feel that the Edwardian period didn't really have a distinct style of its own. Furniture makers often focused on tried and true designs, since they tended to sell better than new and innovative designs. In fact, the concept of buying antique or second-hand furniture pieces to decorate one's home was quite popular during this timeframe.
Decorating Style Influences
The wider availability of energy also had a marked impact on the interior decorating styles. Interior lights and gas heating started to become commonly available, and some homes even had electricity. Although the new king definitely had a taste for lighter shades, perhaps some of the new interior lightness also came from the newly available indoor illumination. Regardless of the reasons for the change, the previously dark color palette was replaced by one that was much lighter. Lighter colors were used in furniture pieces, on walls, and decorating accessories. White enameled woodwork and a focus on basic patterns in lieu of the complex Victorian patterns previously used help to highlight this marked switch in Home & Domestic styles.