Tudor-style interior design ideas

Written by elizabeth nickelaid
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Tudor-style interior design ideas
Wood strapwork is a distinctive feature of Tudor homes. (medieval house detail 5 image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com)

The Tudor design style takes its cues from 16th-century England, when prosperity brought new ideas for comfortable living, according to a decorating style guide produced by the National Association of Realtors. Even if you know little about the style, you probably have seen its familiar light-coloured stucco buildings clad with dark wood strapwork in decorative patterns.

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A Tudor-style room should have plaster walls and plenty of rich wood. To add interest to plain walls, install interior strapwork similar to that on the outside of Tudor buildings or use wood panelling. In grand period homes, panelling went all the way to the ceiling or left only enough room for a small frieze above it, says Realtor.com. Get the same look in your home by installing panelling up to about 8 inches below the ceiling. If a carved plaster frieze is beyond your abilities, stencil a decorative pattern above the panelling for a similar effect. Choose a Tudor-inspired pattern, such as trefoils, fleur de lis or a Tudor rose.

For a different look, use half-height panelling and hang tapestries or install strapwork above. To create a less expensive version of a tapestry, look for fabric with a classical or biblical pattern and make a wall hanging using batting and a backing fabric. If you don't sew, hang the fabric on the wall with tacks or brads and then hide the fasteners with mouldings, forming a frame around the fabric.


Brick, wood or stone flooring all suit Tudor-style homes. Wood floors should have wide boards with a distressed or rough-hewn appearance. Stone choices include granite, marble and slate, among others. Ceramic or porcelain tiles can approximate the look of stone at a lower cost. Authentic Tudor homes often had plaster floors covered or even embedded with woven rush matting, Realtor.com says. Today's sisal rugs offer a similar look. You can warm up and soften wood or stone floors with rugs as well, using anything from Orientals to striped or patterned woollen rugs.

Colours and Accents

With all the wood and stone in Tudor design, it's easy to imagine a dark, cold interior with sombre colour choices. But history tells a different story, according to Realtor.com, which says the Tudor period was groundbreaking in the use of colour. Earth tones and crimson were common, but they were punctuated with bolder choices, such as purple, orange, pink, turquoise and yellow. Such a wide-ranging palette allows plenty of choice for Tudor-style rooms, which should make use of the bright colours in textiles and wall hangings to counteract any coldness.

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