Cochrane Design Victorian Villa, ClaphamVictorian Living Room, London
Paul Craig ©Paul Craig 2014 All Rights Reserved. Interior Design - Cochrane Design
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Check the sizeUpholstery tends to involve large pieces of furniture, and while I usually say ‘bigger is better’, there is such a thing as too big. Note the size of your chosen piece and make sure it looks appropriate in your room. Make a template of it out of newspaper and lay it on the floor to help you understand where it will go and how much room you’ll have around it. Bear in mind that back cushions on sofas add to the overall depth and reduce the size of your seat. If you want a deep seat with big, squishy back cushions to curl up on, then the overall depth of your sofa or chair could be larger than expected. Similarly, a headboard and footboard will increase the length of a bed, so when you measure it out, make sure you allow for them as well as the mattress.
Create instant period grandeurInstalling period-look panelling from floor to ceiling is a fast track to an elegant, country manor look, as shown in this living room in a Victorian villa. The panelling and beading might look original, but here it’s actually a well-crafted imitation. When considering panelling, think about the proportions of your room: in a smaller space, panelling half a wall might help it feel less cramped.Look for companies online that sell special, period-specific panels, either made to measure or off the peg. You can buy Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian designs, so consider the era of your property and what would be most sympathetic to its design. Check out how to make the most of your Victorian mouldings
Give them a good cleanMouldings with intricate details are real dust magnets. The best way to keep them looking their best is by wiping them over with soapy water after giving them a vacuum at least once a month. Due to their nature, function and location, skirting boards, architraves and dado rails get lots of wear and tear that can often result in chipped paint. Ideally, once a year these damaged areas should be retouched. Many people do this just before Christmas when guests are due to stay. Start by giving the entire section a good clean followed by a light sand, so the surface is smooth. Then repaint that entire section. It may need two thin coats. Top tip Every time you paint an area of your house, save some leftover paint. Label each tin with the room name and area in which it was used. If you don’t do this, you risk making a total hash of touch-up paint jobs by using the wrong colour, as paint looks different in the tin from how it appears on the wall.
Don’t rule out downlightersAdding functional contemporary downlighters to a traditional room – shown here discreetly set into the ceiling – gives the space added flexibility, and is a great way to draw attention to features (in this case, artwork). Take care to match the quality and colour across your different lighting fittings, as a cool LED downlighter can look a little harsh next to a warmer chandelier.Discover a beginner’s guide to LED lighting
Admire a ceiling roseAlong with cornicing and architraves (the mouldings around doors and windows), ceiling roses add that subtle period feel that makes a Victorian property sing. As with cornicing, seek specialists to help you restore or replace damaged ones. If you can, though, avoid cheap-looking, mass-market plaster mouldings that can potentially drag a room down if you’re not careful. Think about the right kind of light fitting to give your period rose the attention it deserves – it should complement but not fight it. Chandeliers always look good, as here, but a simple shade can also work.
‘That’s the designated adult area,’ Eleanor says of the formal living room – in which not all is as it seems. The large regal mirror above the fireplace is in fact a TV that has a reflective surface when it’s turned off. Eleanor fitted classic chandeliers throughout the house, but gave them a personal touch by covering the chains in ruched silk. ‘It’s a warmer look than having an exposed chain,’ she explains. The panelling throughout the home looks original, but all of it is a carefully crafted imitation, streamlined across the entire property. Fireplace, Chesney’s. Sofa and ottoman, Cochrane Design.