Thursday, February 2, 2017

How History Buffs Can Use an Era to Inspire Home Design!

We all want to make our homes a reflection of who we are. So, what does that mean for history buffs? It means you have distinct inspiration for your next remodeling or home décor project.

Living quarters have long been an interest for historians. They give us a glimpse into everyday life from the past, and the construction materials alone can suggest when a home was built. Over the years home décor and architecture trends have evolved, which also helps to establish an era.

You can use your own love of history or a favorite time period to create comfortable living spaces that show off your interests in years past. 

Frame a Piece of History

Artwork is a key element to home décor. It also offers plenty of opportunities for capturing the feel of an era or actual representations of it. However, that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to paintings. There are lots of historical pieces that can be featured on your walls.

Presidential autographs from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln are a popular choice for those who are drawn to the colonial period or the Civil War era. Of course, virtually every American would take pride in owning a small piece of the country’s history.

Handcrafted quilts are another way to give an essence of Americana from the early 1900s. Given that this is a type of artwork that is fading from culture, authentic quilts are becoming more sought after.

Photographs have been a popular way to capture and display a moment in time since the early 1800s. Old postcards and stamps are another trend that can allow you to showcase a specific time and region in a piece of wall art.

Building a home? Incorporate the architecture of an era

You may not be building a log cabin or Greek revival plantation home, but you can incorporate architectural elements that pay homage to an era. If there is a certain period you want to emulate, then study the architecture of that time. Look for styles and accents that you can replicate in your own home.

• Add an identifiable architectural feature, like a fireplace. No matter what room they are in, fireplaces are a focal point and can impact the feel of the space.

• Use the doorways as an opportunity to add elements of an era. The framing, functionality, and look of the door can all suggest it came from a certain time period.

• Windows are another architectural feature that can be used to give a home a more historical feel. Even the glass selection can make a difference.

• Archways and columns can provide infrastructural support while also adding to the style of a home.

Do not forget about the exterior. There are historians who have spent their careers bucketing home styles into various time periods based on when they were first built and when they were most popular.


You will want to use a modern day electrical system for safety reasons, but the lights in your home can be a throw back to the time when the light bulb was first invented.

Lampshades- The decorative shades that go over light bulbs are often the most distinct feature. Consider the material, shape, and patterns of lampshades during the era you are duplicating.

Sconces- Lighting fixtures that are affixed to the wall are known as sconces. They were very popular at different periods in history even before electrical lights were created.

Bulbs- Several years ago, intricate Edison-style light bulbs became very trendy. They are a prefect example of how small details can influence how the whole room feels.

Chandeliers- Another immediate focal point in a room is the chandelier. They are usually dramatic in design, but chandelier styles have varied over the centuries.

Use authentic furniture

Furniture provides a unique opportunity for history-loving homeowners. It is one of the few ways you can take period pieces and actually use them in your own home just as they were used years ago.

An excellent example is mid-century modern furniture. Anyone who loves the “mad men” era can immediately be transported back to that time by filling their living spaces with mid-century modern furniture. But that is just one example of many.

While you are studying the architectural elements of your favorite time period also pay attention to the stylings of the furniture. The shapes, upholstery, materials and even placement can point to a certain place and time in history. Because furniture serves a functional purpose, there are many pieces that were only produced for a short time and have become synonymous with a specific design era.

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