5 Historical Periods for Royal Design Inspiration

designers guild royal design collection arundale wallpaper

Are you designing or redesigning your home but don’t know which style you want to adopt? Sometimes the past is the best place to look for inspiration. The royal design of British interiors and exteriors are a favorite of many decorators and architects because of their timeless charm.

They exemplify luxury and taste when executed well and can fit alongside contemporary styles without clashing. If you’re struggling to decide on a new look, taking a page out of the traditional British stylebook may be your answer. Here are five historical periods for royal design inspiration to explore when redecorating or designing your new home.


5 Historical Periods for Royal Design Inspiration


Elizabethan

Elizabethan architecture takes cues from Greek and Roman styles. You’ll see a lot of symmetry in the buildings from this period, including elegant columns and Gothic motifs. Symmetrical horizontal lines were a design favorite, along with tall, finely decorated chimneys. Glazed windows became widespread because of the availability of glass, and lush gardens with seating areas provided an enjoyable place to relax.

Longleat House is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in Britain - royal design
Longleat House is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in Britain. Construction began in 1567. (Source: Saffron Blaze)

Add an Elizabethan quality to your home by incorporating plenty of wood and stone materials. Elizabethan-style wood-beam ceilings include intricate geometric patterns, which can complement a checkerboard floor.

An Elizabethan Room at Lyme Hall, Cheshire by Joseph Nash, 1872 - royal design
An Elizabethan Room at Lyme Hall, Cheshire by Joseph Nash, 1872

Try traditional lighting options such as candles and natural lighting from large windows — you can even implement sections of stained-glass panes. Introduce detailed wood carving through fireplace and ceiling panels. Rugs and curtains featuring elaborate patterns can add warmth and visual interest to any room.

Victorian

Many people love the Victorian era for its fashionable clothing choices, and the architecture is no different. You’ll find a wide array of stylistic choices throughout Victorian architecture. It’s influenced by numerous other cultures, meaning it doesn’t always define itself by one particular look. This quality gives you a lot of freedom when incorporating Victorian design in your home.

Regency-era dining room inside Hampton Mansion decorated for the holiday season. (Source: NPS Photo / Tim Ervin)
Regency-era dining room inside Hampton Mansion decorated for the holiday season. (Source: NPS Photo / Tim Ervin)

Some commonalities you’ll see include Gothic spires, arched doorframes, oversize furniture, and printed wallpapers. Large furniture works well with roomy homes with considerable open space. If you use large pieces, limit them to a couple in each room to avoid crowding. Go for parquet flooring or choose a patterned area rug to spice up your floors. Muted tones are best when selecting fabrics, but you can still entertain various patterns with these hues.

victorian era royal design annie spratt unsplahs
Photo by Annie Spratt

If you want to go big and bold, a Victorian-style conservatory can be an excellent addition to your home. It provides plenty of natural light for sunbathing, reading or having a cup of tea. Victorian conservatories are recognizable by their bullnose design, which is a rounded shape that gives a panoramic view from the inside. Fill it with your favorite Victorian furniture, and you can have an authentic space for relaxing or hosting guests.

Victorian conservatory at the Horniman Museum (Photo by C Ford / Wikimedia)
Victorian conservatory at the Horniman Museum (Photo by C Ford / Wikimedia)

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Regency

The Holme, a beautiful Grade I listed Regency villa in Regent's Park, London, England, UK, originally designed in 1816-18 by Decimus Burton - royal design
The Holme, a beautiful Grade I listed Regency villa in Regent’s Park, London, England, UK, originally designed in 1816-18 by Decimus Burton.

Regency is an extension of the Georgian aesthetic with additional cues from Egyptian and Greek styles. It’s known for its extravagance in color, material, texture and more. If you choose this style, prepare yourself to make decorating choices different from what you’re used to. Friezes, balconies and fluted columns were markers of this era’s architecture, as well as white stucco exteriors.

The Afternoon Visitor by Frédéric Soulacroix depicts a Regency-era sitting room. (Source: ArtRenewel / Wikimedia)
The Afternoon Visitor by Frédéric Soulacroix depicts a Regency-era sitting room. (Source: ArtRenewel / Wikimedia)

Constructing a bay window or balcony in your home will be a direct throwback to the Regency era. Skirting boards, picture rails, and ornate cornices are also notable style choices you can implement. Add elements of ironwork such as gates and balcony railings. A pair of iron doors leading out to the patio can be a stark but welcome change, especially when framed by white stucco walls. Plus, they hold up well against the weather.

 c1820 wrought iron gate are common elements of the Regency style. (Source: 1stDibs)
Ironwork such as balcony railings and gates like this c1820 wrought iron gate are common elements of the Regency style. (Source: 1stDibs)

Georgian

Georgian Style Mansion
Georgian Style Mansion

Interiors from the Georgian era consist of straightforward but luxurious designs. You don’t always have to go all out to achieve a good look, though — sticking to the classics will take you far. Go for pastel color schemes for your furniture and decor, and incorporate materials such as marble and iron. Sturdy ironwork locks can be a compelling contrast to the lighter pastels. Interior walls often featured detailed molding and trim, and antique decor had an undeniable place in many Georgian homes. 

The Saloon at Saltram House, National Trust, UK - Georgian style - royal design
Pastel colors and detailed moldings as seen in The Saloon at Saltram House, National Trust in the UK are common elements of the Georgian style.

Wildlife imagery was also popular during this period, and you’ll see many decor pieces with animal-shaped handles or symbols. Mythological creatures such as the satyr and griffin were especially favorable. Symmetrical, intricately ornamented windows were a favorite throughout the Georgian era, as well as pediments and gabled roofs.

serpentine snake sconce by koket

Edwardian

Edwardian architecture signaled a move into the modern with lighter hues and clean structural lines. The homes themselves had a more open quality because of the expansion of space — bigger rooms and common areas.

An Edwardian style country house - royal design
An Edwardian style country house

Many artists associate Edwardian style with the Art Nouveau movement, which is known for its nature-based elements and bright colors. Wallpapers, rugs, and curtains began appearing in floral and leaf patterns, and furniture makers made pieces from bamboo and wicker.

Plant-based patterns and large mirrors as seen in this living room are often found in the Edwardian style - royal design
Plant-based patterns and large mirrors as seen in this living room are often found in the Edwardian style.

Choose all-natural materials like wood, stone or bamboo when selecting home decor. Plant-based patterns are excellent for fabrics and bringing in real plants can further enhance a space. Go for light colors instead of the darker hues of the Victorian and Elizabethan periods. New lighting solutions like wall lights and table lamps became staples of Edwardian design — along with large mirrors. Emphasize the lighting to make your rooms feel more spacious.

black velvet chaise with a pleated and curved back - millicent chaise by koket

Place Your Home in History With Royal Design Inspiration

These ideas can help you transform your home into a regal space that all your friends and family will admire. Whichever style you choose can fit perfectly in your house with some design savvy and attention to detail.

Begin your journey to creating a lavish home, and you’ll come across a wealth of royal design ideas.


About the Author:

Holly Welles runs The Estate Update, a home improvement blog with décor & design tips for the newly initiated. You can check out more of her work (and other random thoughts) on Twitter @HollyAWelles.


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