Highlighting original features is a great way to brighten up a home, to add a wow factor and to also add value. These features might be a fireplace, a bannister and hand rail, or a type of flooring. With a little patience and some love and attention these can become feature elements of the home and the centrepiece of a running theme throughout the house.
A helping factor in restoring elements of the home is if they have period detail, but you can also add period detail to a home, as long as you do it carefully. The key to this is striving for consistency, which will help in establishing an overall look that really stands out. You should also ensure you stick to the right period and stay faithful to the property’s origins and build-date, by not switching between periods in different rooms or corridors. This applies if you are restoring or replacing period detail, but if you are adding it you need to make sure you choose features that will work.
Here are five main tips for adding beautiful period detail:
Skirting done well will really frame a room as well as stopping drafts and protecting plaster work. But you need to make sure you choose the right wood type. This will affect the finish you can create but it will also ensure the boards are robust and long-lasting. Skirting boards take a lot of hammer from vacuum cleaners, the kids playing and even from pets, they may also come into contact with damp and moisture, so they need to be durable. In terms of matching skirting to other existing period features, it is important to date these accurately to ensure you achieve a consistency in design. The curves of a skirting board design might look like it matches some architrave or a picture rail, but subtle differences might put each of them in different design eras, so be careful with your detail.
These are an understated feature which can be crucial in achieving a flow in a house, because they link rooms and corridors with a consistent design and colour. Alternatively you can use architrave on the outside of an internal door to subtly change a colour scheme from the room on the other side of the door. It is important to get the size and design right, and in terms of adding architrave where it wasn’t there previously, you can only really do this if the room is the right size. Architrave in a small room can look bloated and over-the-top and can become a dominant feature that doesn’t work.
A picture rail can look naff in the wrong type of room, but in a large room with plenty of wall space, and painted right with a matching and consistent period design, they can make a very arresting feature. Colour is quite important here as a contrasting design can be over-fussy when you probably have the same colour for your skirting or architrave, so you may have better results with more subtle colour shading which will be more pleasing-on-the-eye.
These can be quite a grand gesture with a highly decorative effect, because they don’t detract too much from the rest of the room. Of course these can complement a nice lighting arrangement, so it is important you get that feature right in terms of choosing a lighting design that matches the ceiling mould. After that, you can paint the ceiling mould, but choosing contrasting colours against the ceiling itself might be at risk of going too far.
Period doors are a wonderful thing and it is worth spending the time on them. You can change the handles to match others in the home. For external doors you can also add accessories such as knockers, handles, letterboxes and numbers or house names. You can also add period doors that are consistent with other designs in the house. Doors really are dramatic features which can set a room off, so consistency of wood finish and period design is very important, particularly if you are matching them with architrave from the same period.