One in five houses in England were built before 1919, while less than a quarter have been built since 1980. The numbers are similar across the rest of the UK, so there’s a fair chance you’re living in a house that’s a lot older than you are. If you’ve got a decidedly modern style and a life to match, how can you decorate your home to suit both its character and yours?
Use timeless materials
We admit to being biased, but stones like marble and granite have been in use for thousands of years and can still top the list of must-have trends making them a great choice for blending the modern and traditional. Homes around Britain traditionally used local materials, including stone, so a granite kitchen worktop or a marble staircase can be a great way to create a modern look which remains in keeping with the character of a period property. Consider choosing stones which are similar to traditional local materials if you really want to add to the charm.
Put a modern twist on a classic piece
Engineered stones, such as Arena stone, are a great way to add a flash of on-trend colour to a classic material. Made from natural quartz, Arena stone is tough as rock yet available in bright colours including red, blue and yellow, as well as more classic stone shades from white to black. By mixing a traditional material with up-to-the-minute technology, you can create a décor that bridges the gap between old and new.
Traditional underneath, modern on top
Worried about preserving the value of your home? Making alterations to a period property can be fraught as Brits value the character of a house, which includes antique wood panelling, vintage floorboards and historic windows. Replacing these period features with modern ones can cost you thousands of pounds when it comes time to sell – but living with them can cost you your sanity. As a compromise, consider maintaining traditional features that are structural and focussing your own modern taste on furniture, soft furnishings and other items you’d take with you when you left.
Play with scale
Another way to create a harmony between old and new is to reuse an old item or a traditional technique to create something new and different. Beanbag chairs and footstools made from giant knitting are very much on trend at the moment and suit a modern interior aesthetic without clashing with a period building. You might also consider using colour in non-traditional ways, such as painting a moulded ceiling a bright colour or fitting a bright Arena stone vanity in your bathroom.
Focus on the elements you enjoy
Despite what we see on TV history programmes, no one era had a uniform style. If you want to develop the character of your home without compromising on your own aesthetic style by picking and choosing pieces or design styles from the appropriate period which suit your own style.