Georgian interiors: decoration ideas and traditional period features

Ornate and harmonious, Georgian houses and interiors were inspired by classical art and architecture. Take a look at our guide to Georgian decor and the key period features of this sophisticated style

A Georgian-inspired entrance hall
Via OKO
Published: May 10, 2022 at 6:00 am
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Characterised by high ceilings, dramatic columns, delicate wallpaper and pastel colour schemes, Georgian interiors evoke sophistication and elegance.

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If you're looking to restore your period property or fancy tapping into the Georgian style in a new build, we've got you covered. But first things first, what exactly is a Georgian house?

What is a Georgian house?

Georgian houses originate from, you guessed it, the Georgian period. This era spanned from 1714 to 1810 in Britain under the reigns of King George I, II and III. The era can be divided into four periods:

  1. Early (1714–1750)
  2. Middle (1750–1770)
  3. Late (1770–1810)
  4. Regency (1811–1837)

Find out more about the key movements in Georgian design.

Georgian houses are characterised by their highly ornate decoration, dramatic classical-inspired interiors and symmetrical architecture, based on the luxurious villas and temples of Ancient Greece and Rome.

These interior trends trickled down to more modest Georgian houses too, with cottages and smaller homes also keeping to the highly symmetrical designs of grander manor houses.

Key period features of a Georgian house

Symmetry Georgian era houses were either square or rectangular, with windows and doors all designed to be perfectly symmetrical. This created a satisfying, neat and traditional aesthetic

Roman-style columns Corinthian, Ionic and Doric columns were all in favour in the Georgian period. They were most often used by the front door of an affluent Georgian's house to create a dramatic entrance

Classical-inspired sculptures and art Ornate statues, painted vases, urns and wall murals, often depicting scenes from classical myths, were on-trend in the Georgian period and indicated wealth and status

Landscape gardens Pristine lawns and neat hedges were typical of a Georgian garden. Landscape gardening became popular in this period with lakes, grottos and temples especially in favour

Georgian interiors ideas

If you're lucky enough to live in a Georgian period house you've probably realised how pleasurable and easy it is to decorate. The harmonious symmetry of Georgian rooms makes styling a dream, but do not fret, you don't have to have an authentic period house to achieve a Georgian-style interior.

Read on for our tips below to achieve a striking and luxurious interior scheme that Jane Austen herself would feel right at home in.

Georgian architecture

The Royal Crescent in Bath has terraced houses in classic Georgian architecture with Ionic columns. Getty Images.

It was during the Georgian era that many young wealthy men went off on the 'grand tour' (the era's equivalent to a gap year) where they'd visit continental Europe's cultural gems like Pantheon and the Colosseum. This fascination with the classical period become a chief theme of Georgian interiors.

Marble surfaces and stone flooring were used in Georgian houses to emulate the grandeur of an ancient temple. Columns were also used for this purpose, as well as arches and pediments positioned above doors.

Edward Bulmer Natural Paint in Jonquil
This Georgian style room features all the essentials of a Georgian interior; a column plinth showcasing a classical bust, an ornately framed mirror, a decorative vase and a fireplace designed in the style of a Roman temple. From Edward Bulmer Natural Paint

You probably know the phrase 'my body is a temple' but with the Georgians, it was very much 'my house is a temple'. Even Georgian fireplaces received the Pantheon treatment! The fireplace above features columns and projecting cornices, both features you'd find on an ancient Roman temple.

Georgian colour scheme

Green was a popular shade in the Georgian era, particularly pea green. This room is painted in Farrow & Ball's French Gray shade.

Pea-green and burgundy, dramatic shades inspired by the Baroque movement, were favoured by early Georgians. Later Georgians, however, loved a pastel shade.

Pale greys, creams, mauve and pink were particularly popular, and later in the era, pastel blue came into vogue. So much so in fact, that nowadays we call this shade Regency Blue.

Skylight No.205, Farrow & Ball

You can emulate the colours of a Georgian home with modern paint brands that seek to emulate heritage shades - Farrow & Ball, Annie Sloan and Dulux are all brands to try. For authentic Georgian-style walls, install wall panelling or a dado rail and paint them white to contrast with a dusky pastel shade above.

Although not as prominent as in the later Victorian and Edwardian eras, the Georgians did enjoy using wallpaper. Just like our modern-day wallpapers emulating brick walls, tiles and wood, the Georgians used wallpaper to create the illusion of marble and tapestry walls. Landscape scenes and Chinese-inspired prints also appeared on wallpapers towards the end of the era.

Georgian furniture

A Georgian-inspired entrance hall
A Georgian-inspired entrance hall with decorative jars, console tables and dramatic portraits. Via OKA Via OKO

Much like the colour schemes of the early Georgian period, furniture during the Georgian era was dark and rich. Dark red mahogany wood was in style and would be topped with chinaware such as vases, urns, plates and figurines.

Thomas Chippendale, the famous cabinet maker, started his furniture business in the middle of the Georgian era, creating furniture inspired by the Rococo and Neo-classical trends. Chairs and tables were curved (even the legs!) and decorated with motifs.

A Georgian-style hallway with stone flooring, a golden framed portrait, dark wooden furniture and a chandelier. Via Etons of Bath

Even if the bones of your home aren't old, you can emulate the style of a Georgian house with dark wooden chairs, tables and cabinets, accessorised with large statement lamps, vases and ornaments.

Georgian cottage style

Dining room painted in Off-White No.3 & Blue Gray No.91, Farrow & Ball

Much like the recent cottagecore trend, the houses of modest Georgians, such as cottages and country houses, were cosy, light and full of textures, patterns and trinkets.

Stone flooring, pale walls painted in pastel greens, blues, greys or plain white, minimally-styled fireplaces and simple yet functional dark wooden furniture made up the look of a typical Georgian house or cottage.

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Looking for more interior inspiration from history? Check out our style guides to Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco houses!

Authors

Katie is a Staff Writer for HomeStyle magazine and YourHomeStyle.uk. She previously worked on Gardens Illustrated magazine and has written for various other lifestyle magazines and brands. She particularly enjoys writing about indie and eco homeware brands, interior styles through the ages, urban gardening, and decor hacks for small spaces. She is also responsible for HomeStyle's buyer's guides, so you'll often find her testing out the latest homeware gadgets and kitchen appliances.

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