Nowadays interiors can feel quite cookie-cutter or stale and without real character, because well, they’re new. It takes time to create a story and therefore integrate history and warmth into a building or space. However, there are some tried and true techniques that help a home look more authentic, rustic, or “old-fashioned” as some might say. Today we’re pinning down some ways that you can bring an old-world flare into space in order to add in detail, personality, and je ne sais quoi (French for a quality that cannot be described or named easily) to your interiors!
Up first, we have moldings. Whether it’s a ceiling molding, a baseboard, a picture rail, dado rail, wainscoting or ceiling rose - decorative “cornices'' (as they are technically called) bring in a high level of attention to detail. People have been using moldings in architecture since Ancient Grecian times. Most notably in royal French interiors where they signified wealth because of the intense labor and cost of hand carving each piece individually. Moldings add formal tailoring to a space that makes things feel thought about, finalized, and ultimately formal, like the olden days.
Rugs are like the artwork but for the floor of the home. When not made by a modern machine, they are intricately handwoven by a person and therefore that person transmits their soul into a tangible object and then later that energy and warmth can be felt in the home, providing character and a story. Vintage rugs are a great way to take note of the past, or a place in the world, where a certain pattern or coloring speaks to that culture and shows a worldliness to the owner of that space.
Just like rugs, when a piece of decor for the walls is a hand-painted artwork with visible brush strokes made by a real person (versus a machine print), you are able to see and feel the distinctive quality of paint texture that provides a space with dimension and uniqueness. Add in an ornately carved frame and you will again contribute to the authenticity of your home or space’s personality because of how personal a detail like this can be, and how it shows a person’s preference in style as well. Character! Take it a step further and create a gallery wall full of artwork like the great salon exhibitions of the past.
Textures & Prints
Depending on which old-world or vintage interior you look to, you will find a variety of different fabrics and patterns. Generally speaking, a royal or upper-class interior was full of velvets, silks, high-quality linens, wallpapers, elaborate paints, gold gilding, intricate embroidery, and floral patterns galore. Whereas if you looked at, say, a local English farm cottage you would find lime-washed walls, and much more basic textiles, without a pattern, like cotton and linen fabrics, and animal hides. So, again, depending on which of these old-world elements you want your space’s character to have, is up to you and therefore will create the authenticity in that interior! To try vintage textures on your future interiors use Planner 5D - you can upload any texture and see if it fits.
Back when, a lot of the materials used in homes were much more basic and extracted from the earth, and therefore usually had a sturdier and rustic persona to them. For example, a home’s walls could be made of rock and mortar, or brick. Flooring would be unpolished stone, brick, or hardwood planks. Paint could be a plaster that overtime would chip and fall away, and therefore all of these elements together would create a space that felt occupied, used, lived-in, and ultimately created warmth. That said, by using more organic materials like woods, stones, natural fibers, native metals, and earth soils like clay and sand into the construction of the space and/or finishes throughout the interior, you can create a more old-world and rustic feeling.
Since the lightbulb was invented, lighting in the home has seen some extremely interesting forms throughout the different eras of design styles. By choosing a vintage light fixture that harks back to one of those periods in time you automatically boost the amount of charm and character a space can have. Whether it’s a mid-century sputnik chandelier or a fancy French-country chandelier, the addition of this personally selected piece will make a statement of authenticity and personalization that old-fashioned (not cookie-cutter!) homes had.
Like lighting, furniture too has gone through an incredibly fascinating journey of fabrication and form. By using a piece - or pieces! - of furniture that is of a certain period in time, you can mix in a lot of history into your home’s interior. Whether it’s a British Chesterfield tufted leather sofa or an Eames mid-century recliner chair or an ornate Baroque cabinet, you can create a unique mixture of eclecticism by carefully selecting furniture that withholds its own history. Just be careful though, you don’t want your home to turn into a musty vintage warehouse!
Hardware and Plumbing Fixtures
Again, like everything old-fashioned - design is in the details! Add or replace hardware like doorknobs, drawer pulls/knobs, cabinet hardware, etc., and plumbing fixtures like sink faucets and showerheads with more ornate pieces. Unique fixtures will help speak to another day and age which will bring impact into space right down to the very small objects that are touched and thought to be more utilitarian these days. Even the type of metal you choose could elicit a more rustic and old-world feeling like copper or antique bronze. Extra points for knobs that have a pearl or jade in-lay. Those would make your grandmother drool!
We may be living in a modernized time where technology is changing how we live, and design, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add in decor or finishes or architectural features that help an interior set itself apart from the rest and feel authentic or have a little bit of old-fashioned flare! By using a few of these methods to authenticate your home, you’ll undoubtedly introduce an old-fashioned character - but - be sure not to use too many of these elements altogether. If too many pieces are vintage or the space looks quite aged a room may feel stuffy, stale, shabby, antiquated, dirty, or worse, badly designed! & While good design is subjective, we think you’ll make some great decisions on avoiding a home that looks dated and rather has just the right amount of personality thanks to these timeless details.
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