How to Pull Off Edwardian Style in the 21st Century

edwardian owo building dining room photo by grain london

Get ready to make Edwardian home decor the inspiration for your next home makeover. Hallmarked by the maximalist decor, opulent flair, and bold statements, while Edwardian style may sound dated, the decor of the era has much to offer the modern designer. Read on for tips to achieve an Edwardian style in the 21st century.

First, What Is Edwardian Decor?

The Edwardian period in design history derives its name from King Edward VII, who served as the United Kingdom’s monarch from 1900 to 1910. It was an exciting time for the country, as seen in the design trends of the era.

Point Ellice House, Victoria, BC, Canada (Photo by Lotus Johnson via Flickr)
Point Ellice House, Victoria, BC, Canada (Photo by Lotus Johnson via Flickr)

There was a strong focus on opulence and luxury and a distinct separation from trends that started in the preceding era. Styles in the Victorian area were known for their stuffiness and heaviness, but Edwardian design aimed to be more light, airy, and less formal.

Inside Edwardian homes, maximalism reigns over all else. Every room in the house is full of as many decorative elements as possible. From ornate light fixtures to stylized drapery and large paintings, every component of an Edwardian room serves a unique design purpose.

millicent chaise edwardian era style furniture

Bring Back Bold Wallpaper

The Victorian houses you see today may feature bright pastel-colored exteriors, but before the 1900s, this wouldn’t be a popular style. Often constructed with bricks, Victorian homes often appear muted and somewhat dull. The interiors typically match with dark colors creating a somber aesthetic.

When the Edwardian era came around, people began experimenting with brighter colors on the exterior and interior of their homes. One popular way to add color was through the wallpaper. Embossed wallpaper styles became all the rage. These wallpapers, known by names like Lincrusta, were embossed with intricate patterns. Many times, they would be used to cover an entire room from floor to ceiling.

Today, you can pay homage to Edwardian luxury with low-key options like textured vinyl wallpaper or 3D wall panels.

Elegant Fabrics Only

With their sights set on luxury, Edwardian denizens adored elegant fabrics. Silk, satin, lace, and chiffon were the ultimate status symbols in Edwardian fashion and home decor. The fabric is seen all over the home, from a heavy silk drapery to a fringed pillow or even a simple sash draped around the windows.

Design trends today prioritize sustainability and environmental awareness. While the Edwardian favorites are generally sustainable, the most eco-conscious designers can opt for organic linen to get the same lightweight charm with a smaller ecological footprint. 

Ultimately, you can choose any fabric style that feels elegant to you. For Edwardian accuracy, heavy, dark-colored materials like leather or wool. Ironically, Edwardian Style in The 21st Century is relative in that dark-colored materials are very popular in modern homes.

Furniture Built for Function & Form

Again, Edwardians may have loved maximalism, but that doesn’t mean they were wasteful. The most popular furniture items had plenty of flairs but were also built to last. Pieces constructed from wicker, oak, and mahogany were famous for their upscale aesthetics and robust durability.

Maximalist Interior by KOKET
Maximalist Interior by KOKET

At the time, the most progressive designers would be proud to show off any bamboo furniture in their homes. Many experts agree that bamboo was introduced in the U.K. in the late 1800s, making it brand-new during the Edwardian era.

Bamboo is a sustainable choice because it multiplies with minimal resources. Furthermore, bamboo is significantly harder than many other furniture-building materials. If you’re looking for the ultimate long-lasting piece of Edwardian furniture, keep your eyes peeled for a winged loveseat made of bamboo.

Orchidea Sculpture by KOKET

Don’t Be Afraid to Embellish

One of the best ways to embellish your home is through millwork. This type of architecture involves adding decorative touches to a room through molding, corbels, and medallions.

Entrance Hall designed by 1508 London in 2021 in the Edwardian style Old War Office building originally designed in 1906 by William Young (Photo by Grain London)
Entrance Hall designed by 1508 London in 2021 in the Edwardian style Old War Office building originally designed in 1906 by William Young (Photo by Grain London) – See the full project!

For a more subtle approach, you can also add embellishments to the hardware in your home. Something as simple as adding an intricate design to your doorknobs or light fixtures can make a big difference.

If you’re going for true Edwardian style, don’t let your windows go bare. Try showy pairing curtains with subtle roller blinds to get the right balance of Edwardian flair and modern functionality.

Celebrate Merging Past & Future Styles With Edwardian Decor

The Edwardian style in the 21st century is a unique design. The history of being bold and progressive in an influential fashion era only makes the look more appealing. Despite its demonstrable differences from Victorian trends, it didn’t reject all elements of the past. However, it blended influences from both periods to create something even better.

Moreover, strive to do the same when decorating your home by incorporating lessons from Edwardian style while making your modern statement.

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