Picture rail in a new build? Period features v modern?

19 March, 2019

Hi folks!

So I am looking at purchasing my first home, but a used to (and love) period features. What are peoples thoughts on features like a picture rail in a newer property?

Any examples of it would be a massive help

So for context, I am looking at this space below (lounge diner) and introducing a picture rail, a real wood (reclaimed parquet perhaps - open to thoughts) floor rather than laminate and obviously redecorating. Possibly, but not certainly, introduce a fire place fitting the new style if needed too

Thoughts and ideas welcomed!

Comments (25)

  • forzaitalia

    Lovely room, and it does have a traditional feel about it. I think adding picture rails would be fine and a parquet floor always looks stylish. Is the current fireplace a working one? Nothing to stop you getting a fireplace that is more to your taste If you want to. People put modern decor in a period home all the time, so why not the other way? :-)

    James thanked forzaitalia
  • chloeloves
    Personally I don’t think you have the height in this room for picture rails but how about a simple cornice and higher quality traditional skirting boards? Totally agree nice flooring and a traditional fire surround also would look great.
    James thanked chloeloves
  • James

    Hi Chloe - yes I did wonder about the height. I'm viewing again tomorrow so can check that sort of thing out. Agree with you about the skirting; if I'm doing the rest, then don't want a skinny little skirting looking out of place

  • minnie101

    I agree with Chloe re the height for a picture rail. Also agree re skirting boards but personally would then paint them in the wall colour! Parquet sounds nice but I probably wouldn't go reclaimed. You could introduce some panelling, maybe behind the dining table for more of a traditional feel? I don't mind the fireplace but if you want a working one then would change it. They're not the cheapest but chesneys have a contemporary range which is just a twist on a traditional, some of these may suit

    James thanked minnie101
  • James

    Thanks Minnie, will have to look them up later on

  • minnie101

    I've just seen your other post, I wouldn't go too high on the skirting though as features should be in proportion to the wall height

  • PRO

    I would live in it first and see what happens. I don't think it is possible to impose a style on a room until you occupy it.

  • James
    thanks ColourHappy. I was having that debate myself but am also thinking if there's a period where I am decorating and buying furniture then it is a good chance to make changes. Noted though and I'm early in the process so decisions can be mulled over and made in good time

    appreciate the input from everyone!
  • Jonathan
    I would add a Victorian style cornice swap the skirting boards for something a little fancier and then paint everything in a flat Matt finish. You could also build a fake chimney breast to give the room that period feel.
    I like your floor idea too and if you add skirting after you won’t see edges.
  • carocat24
    Or, embrace its newness - adding ‘Victorian style’ is going to look faux (as it would be). Search Houzz contemporary living room photos for lots of inspiration. You have a lovely light room to work with.
    James thanked carocat24
  • R Hughes
    Hi James, this looks like a nice bright room. My advice would be to live in the house for a time before you make decisions on decor and lighting. How a room is lit at different times makes the difference between a space you can enjoy at all times and one that only looks good at certain times. It is is best and easiest to have the wiring done before you make alterations and decor choices. You will also be able to consider how to ‘zone’ the space to create, not just your dining area, but also potentially some work space. It will also give you time to consider how to dress the window to again optimise light. A trip to the library would also allow you to cheaply pick up some books on design and how to do your own mood board. Best of luck.
    James thanked R Hughes
  • PRO
    Carrie Cotton Design

    Hello - so exciting you are looking to buy a home...this space is lovely. Sounds to me like you would like to add a bit of character the space and maybe try to add some visual height to the room. Parquet flooring is always a win in my book. I also think a 2- to 4-inch-width molding is appropriate and would look great! But like others have said, paint it the same colour as the walls. Little things to add visual height to the room...make sure the fireplace finish goes up to the top of the ceiling...hang mirrors higher....use low profile furniture...and if you want to make a statement, think about adding something unique to your ceiling such as a colour, gloss paint, or wallpaper. I love adding a statement ceiling to a room with normal height ceilings...draws your eye right up! Here are a few examples of statement ceilings at work (their ceilings are higher but gives you some ideas). Good luck! Carrie

    James thanked Carrie Cotton Design
  • Jonathan
    I think in the absence of other features coving is great. Plus you can get something that is not tall but looks bigger because of a bigger projection across the ceiling. An Victorian style coving is not too fancy, fitting into either a contemporary or period style scheme
    James thanked Jonathan
  • Soraya
    Hi! I would add coving as I think it always improves a room as do ceiling roses. You don't have to go for something fussy but it will add some of the character that you are missing. I agree with the other comments on changing the skirting for a larger size. Good luck with your renovation plans!
    James thanked Soraya
  • James

    Carocat – That’s my concern, but will look at examples of projects and get a feel for furniture I like too – it may be that the two tastes will need to be carefully woven together. Thoughts are all massively appreciated though, so thank you

    R Hughes – Thanks for the advice. I am seeing the property at different times / in different light to get an idea. No deal has gone through yet, so I could be jumping the gun! Point taken on getting a feel for the place, absolutely. Thank you

    Carrie – Amazing, thank you so much for the examples. I’ll definitely be adding those to mood boards and exploring those ideas. Coving/Moulding seems to be a popular idea, so I’ll explore different sizes and designs of this more too J

    Jonathan / Soraya – Again, thanks for the advice. I certainly will be exploring coving options – the projection in to the ceiling on yours Jonathan I like and would be effective with the wall heights I think. I’d be careful with the skirting to get dimensions to vaguely mirror each other, so I don’t end up with an imbalance. Certainly will be exploring. Cheers!

  • PRO

    I would disagree about coving. It can look good in the right properties, but wrong in some modern ones. I ripped out all of my naff coving that a builder had put in our house and it improved it instantly. I found this image and thought the colours and proportions may be of interest to you.

    James thanked colourhappy
  • James

    I do like the shadow gap there in lieu of coving, but that would be a bigger job to create that. Increasingly agree that I perhaps would have to live int he space for a while first and try a few samples out in situ to see how the various ideas would look.

    Excited to see what could develop though!

  • Emmanuelle
    I personally wouldn’t touch the main bones of the house -ie: adding period features- in a brand new property. It risks looking too ‘themed’. However, there are other ways to add character: putting reclaimed flooring would be the most efficient way to add charm instantly! Sourcing some vintage/ antique furniture is also a good way, or using fabrics like linen, leather...
    I love the photo from @colourhappy! That green wall is fab!
    James thanked Emmanuelle
  • PRO

    Plus, the amount of money you could spend on coving etc you could splurge on a characterful rug, art etc.

  • James

    Decisions, decisions...

    Shall keep researching and working out mood boards and see what happens if the sale goes through!

  • Ann Jones

    Keep looking until something makes you say wow, it could be a colour, a piece of furniture, an accessory, texture, anything you really like and work from there.

  • mattweeksdj
    Likely going to come down to your personal preference. We brought a 70’s mid terrace, standard height rooms (IMO) and they had put up picture rails.

    Personally I wouldn’t have done but for the way we have recently decorated it, it actually adds height to the room, which I think is down to a trick of the eye, so they have grown on me.

    Just keep in mind if you put them up you may struggle to get them off if you change your mind down the line without having the risk of needing to replaster.
  • E D

    I’m in the ‘no Victorian features in your new build house’ camp.
    There are some interesting modern picture hanging systems around these days that may work for your home. Maybe worth exploring.

    On a completely unrelated note, why do some people say “brought” instead of bought?
    Is this a posh way of saying it?

  • Victoria
    No, ED, likely an autocorrect error
  • mattweeksdj
    Haha posh way of saying it. To be fair I wrote that the way I said it, so purely down to my poor use of language.

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