Edwardian decor saw a large shift in direction from the previous Victorian era.
Despite the Edwardian era only lasting from 1901-1910, these years had a monumental impact on decor and furniture.
Out of all periods, identifying Edwardian antiques is arguably one of the most challenging.
But fear not, we have put together a helpful guide to equip you with all the knowledge you need to not only recognise Edwardian furniture but perfectly implement it in your home.
From Victorian to Edwardian
Compared to the Victorian era, Edwardian homes were typically lighter, brighter, less cluttered and more spacious.
Favouring light, fresh and simplistic designs, coupled with Edward VII’s love of travel, Edwardian architecture and furniture had strong influences from continental Europe.
Previous eras had seen furniture such as antique fireplaces as possessions exclusively for the rich.
However, thanks to revelations in machinery and the adoption of mass production during the Edwardian era, furniture became more accessible and affordable to middle-class families.
Furniture became more accessible and affordable
Recognising Edwardian furniture
Edwardian furniture doesn’t have its own unique style, but rather takes inspiration from previous eras.
The combination of modern European influence with aspects of Tudor, Georgian and Medieval styles gives Edwardian furniture designs an eclectic look.
Hence, identifying furniture from this era can be difficult and requires a trained eye.
Art Nouveau design
Edwardian interior design heavily features the Art Nouveau design; using natural lines, structures and forms in its design.
The use of bright colours and floral designs became more common, featuring in all aspects of the room including the wallpaper, paintings and curtains; adding floral touches is an easy way to bring Edwardian style into your home.
The Edwardian era was all about creating a fresh feel. When looking to add an Edwardian touch to your home, don’t be afraid to let the light in!
This pair of decorative Edwardian stained glass windows in our collection provides the perfect example of how designers in this era incorporated floral-style motifs into their items.
Note: Art Nouveau windows like these often adorned the front doors of Edwardian houses, surrounded by simple carved details.
Electricity began to circulate through some of the richer households during the Edwardian era, replacing gas lamps with table lamps and ceiling lights.
This contributed to the light, airy feel of an Edwardian room as the walls no longer needed to be painted dark to disguise the discolouration caused by the gas lights.
When adding Edwardian decor to your home, experiment with pastel colours such as olive green, lilac or pale blue.
We have a beautiful set of Edwardian table lamps in our collection, decorated with a profusion of gilt on a cobalt blue fishscale background. Simple Empire-style lamp shades would suit these lamps very well.
Edwardian furniture makers emphasised durability, opting for simple designs. When adding Edwardian decor to your home, keep simplicity in mind.
Mahogany was the most prominently used wood in the Edwardian era, followed by walnut, oak, and satinwood. Lighter materials included wicker and bamboo.
The use of bright colours and floral designs became more common
It wouldn’t be uncommon to see woodwork painted white, emphasising the drastic shift in design from the dark colours of the Victorian era.
Note: wicker furniture is vastly available and is a relatively easy way to bring Edwardian decor into your home.
Edwardian fireplaces boast simplicity with style - only the borders tend to be decorated.
Iron and copper hoods helped to enhance the visual appearance of the fireplace. It was also common to see large glass mirrors positioned on mantelpieces above fireplaces; adding an antique mirror to your home would add a nice Edwardian touch.
Edwardian furniture makers emphasised durability, opting for simple designs
See below an example of an Edwardian fireplace mantel from our collection. This item is made from mahogany with fine inlaid marquetry Art Nouveau detail on the frieze.
Note: an Edwardian living room is the only exception to the light, airy rooms which feature in the rest of an Edwardian house, so make sure to use darker colours here!
Bringing Edwardian decor into your home: conclusion
When it comes to adding Edwardian decor to your home, there’re a few simple steps you can take to create an Edwardian style.
The key take-home message is to keep simplicity in mind. Designs were kept plain, surfaces decluttered, and a sense of freshness circulated rooms.
Make sure to combine old and new styles. We offer a large array of antiques here at Westland London, so be sure to take a look at our collection or get in touch - we’re always happy to chat antiques.