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Decorating tips for a 1910 home

In 1910 two major styles represented a tasteful middle class home: Victorian and Arts and Crafts. Decorating a home from 1910 is a challenge if previous owners have tried to change or over modify the home, but redecorating is worth the effort. Your exterior and rooms were not built to remain plain Janes; focus on your home's original character, and you are presented with a vibrant canvas to turn into an individualised, attractive space.

Walls

The walls in Victorian and Arts and Crafts homes are often made of plaster and painted or wallpapered in rich colours. White is not a common interior colour in homes. The Victorian palette focuses on jewel tone colours from sapphire and emerald to rich browns and deep reds. Dusty rose, creamy off-whites and mossy shades of green make up the Arts and Crafts palette.

Both styles incorporate wallpaper on the walls and ceilings and use wainscoting on the bottom half or third of the wall. Common wallpaper motifs for Arts and Crafts homes include oriental and Gothic in big, repetitive designs. Victorians use wallpaper patterned with flowers, birds or feathers on the top third of the wall. Decorators often painted the centre of the wall and would hang paintings and artwork in silver frames at eye level with either hooks or decorative cords.

Furniture and accessories

Victorian and Arts and Crafts homes feature hardwood furniture with upholstery. Oriental and other patterned area rugs are laid against dark, hardwood floors. Built-in bookcases, cabinets and nooks are common in Arts and Crafts homes while Victorians prefer mixed styles of hand-carved wood furniture. Balloon-back chairs and fainting couches upholstered in velor or silk with lace doilies on the arms are balanced with small tables and small framed photographs.

Ceilings and lighting

Victorians loved decorative ceilings. Get this look with small-patterned wallpaper in a lighter shade than your walls, or paint Lincrusta in a metallic shade to imitate ceiling tiles. You can also find reproductions of original Victorian wallpaper or modern interpretations of Victorian design for a fresh, modernised feel. Though chandeliers are common in dining rooms, interior lighting should come mostly from lamps. Tiffany style glass lamp shades with a hammered copper base or slender curved neck create a soft glow in many Arts and Crafts homes.

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About the Author

Aurora LaJambre is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. For over five years she's covered topics in culture, lifestyle, travel, DIY design and green living for print and online media. Her publication credits include "WOW Women on Writing," "Six States" and Catalogs.com. She graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.