Pride and Prejudice is set in the late 18th century to the early 19th century and therefore has a wealth of decorating inspiration for period homes – in particular the English Regency and Georgian styles. As seen throughout the film, this style of décor was very fashionable although the wealth of the household determined how far they could go with the style – take Mr. Darcy with gilded furnishings, brocade, marble and damasks in a predominantly cream and gold colour palette – very luxurious indeed. Let us take a look at how we can achieve this decorating style in our homes today – without needing Mr. Darcy’s wealth!
· The Georgian style was in fact a collaboration of many styles such as the Rococo style of nearby France; this was evident in furniture bearing scrolls, elaborate carving, leaves and other natural motifs. You could look for furniture that has been designed with elements of this style or decorate with detailed ceramics and silver. You would also see evidence of the Palladianism style that was inspired by ancient Rome – rich decoration, symmetry, decorative masks and so forth. There was even a hint at Asian inspired décor with rich textiles and dark lacquered furniture.
· Wall decoration was very important in the Georgian home and they tended to have walls split into three sections. Wainscoting would be used from the floor up to the dado rail, then there would be a mid wall section with intricate mouldings at the very top. It was popular too, to decorate with paintings and tapestries.
· Colours used were muted – pea greens, Wedgwood blue, soft greys, creams, dusky pinks and pale yellows. You might choose to paint the walls in this colour or look for damask wallpaper in muted colours – perhaps a touch of silver or gold in the details to give it a richer look.
· Just as we do now, the people living in the Georgian era wanted lots of warmth and light in the home, which is why they they tended to have large windows and fancy window treatments to draw attention to this area of the room. The fireplace was also a key addition to rooms and was often highly decorative to draw focus to it and enhance the warmth. If you have period features in the home then you might want to use them as the focal point to the room. Dress up fireplaces with beautiful silver candlesticks, flower arrangements and family photos. At bay windows, use special curtain poles for bay windows to hang floor length ready made curtains in a rich damask fabric and look for ornate curtain pole finials.
· With soft furnishings and textiles, the Georgians liked to co-ordinate and were quite orderly – popular fabrics included silk, velvet, damask and chintz. Slip-covers were used in some homes in classic white at the dining table; you could also use damask fabric to change the look of existing furnishings.