Period features or Modern Minimalism?

Antique fireplace in our current flat
Antique fireplace in our current flat

When it comes to your style, do you prefer period features or a more modern aesthetic? And once you know what you like, how do you work with it to make sure your home doesn’t become a slave to that style?

As you’ve probably noticed, I tend to do a lot of mixing and matching. So while our current living room is dominated by a massive antique marble fireplace (just under 5 ft tall) we’ve definitely veered away from a traditional look with our furniture and artwork. Instead, we’ve found understated Danish furniture in teak wood to lighten the room, and complimented that with a comfortable couch and armchair. We’ve actually kept most of the room quite sparse so that the fireplace is the hero, and the room doesn’t feel too cramped or cluttered. And we’ve looked for ways to introduce more modern touches to the room. So our framed Batman poster, a photograph I found in Paris, our whisky collection displayed on a bookcase, and some sepia, purple and cream tweed cushions I picked up at TK Maxx. If we were buying this place, we would have sanded and white-washed the floors ages ago, just to give it a bit of a face lift and really let the brown and blue tiling pop.

Modern spaces, while slick and new, can sometimes feel quite cold, generic and sterile. So I would recommend upping the character of the space with more relaxed colours, and warm lighting – lamps dotted around the room instead of ceiling lights, for instance. Look for furniture that is really unique and comfortable to create a more inviting feel whilst also injecting a bit of personality. And if you have large feature windows or an amazing view, make the most of it through the way you set up the room. A feature chair just by the window, or some understated curtains that give way to a sweeping cityscape. Try not to leave walls too bare; instead add a photo wall or find an oversized piece of artwork that will be the star of the room. The key here is to make it feel inviting, and not too ‘off-the-shelf’.

No matter what your preference, look for ways to draw the eye towards the features that drew you to your home in the first place, and let them do the talking. And where possible, find ways to give your home a little twist, so that it doesn’t feel like a dusty old museum or a freshly-painted hotel.


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