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Designers carefully calculate proportions of rooms, chimneypieces, door and window surrounds, and other details with complex formulas given by pattern book writers or the masters, such as Palladio, or derived from antique models.  Rooms are decorated according to their significance; the more important the room, the larger the scale and the more extravagant its decoration. The most lavish spaces are state apartments, reception rooms, and saloons, which reflect a formal way of life. With more emphasis on culture and learning, collectors display their assemblages in galleries or the traditional closet (a small, private room), and libraries become more common.

By mid-century, Rococo, Chinese, and Gothic forms and motifs appear more frequently on walls, ceilings, chimneypieces, textiles, wallpapers, and furniture. Rococo ornamentation mixes freely with Chinese and Gothic ornamentation, and some houses feature each public room in a different style.


Colors: various intensities and values become available, including pea green, olive green, gray green, gray, sky blue, straw yellow, and a variety of gray or brown stone colors .

Floors. Floor materials are wood or masonry. Oak, pine, or fir board floors have random dimensions. Wood floors are not varnished, but they are scrubbed with sand or limewash that produces a silvery sheen. Parquet distinguishes the grandest rooms. Paint, in solids or patterns, disguises cheaper woods. Stone and marble floors are limited to entrances and ground-floor rooms because of their weight. They follow a variety of geometric patterns and colors, but black and white or grays are especially favored.




Lighting. Artificial lighting, generally minimal, comes primarily from fireplaces, rushlights, or candles; oil lamps are rare before the 1780s. Light fixtures  include candlesticks, candelabra, and/or wall sconces. To increase light, candlesticks and candelabra are placed in front of mirrors, and sconces have mirrored or shiny metal backs. Shiny textures and glossy finishes also reflect and increase light. Although chandeliers of glass, wood, or metal are available, they remain rare in most homes.



Furniture: The 18th century is a golden age in English furniture. People have more money to spend on furniture and demand higher standards in craftsmanship and comfort, as well as new types for special purposes. In response, several styles of furniture rapidly succeed each other during the Georgian period, and cabinetmaking becomes a profitable business.

Furniture selection and arrangements support room function with an emphasis on formality, harmony, and stylistic integration. Symmetry usually defines the placement of major pieces of furniture. The finest furniture occupies the best drawing room and is arranged around the perimeter of the room when not in use. Common furniture pieces include chairs, sofas, tables, secretaries, high chests of drawers, dressing tables, tall case clocks, fire screens, and beds. Card tables are introduced during Queen Anne’s reign, and their numbers increase with the popularity of card playing throughout the 18th century. 

Queen Anne (1702–1714):  Queen Anne style relies on silhouette and wood grain for beauty rather than applied decoration.  Curves dominate forms, and proportions are slender and elongated. Chairs, which are definitive of the style, have a curving hoop back with plain crest. The back may be spoon-shaped to fit the body. 


Seating includes side chairs and armchairs , many forms of armchairs and armless chairs with upholstered seats and backs, easie chairs, settees and sofas. Side chairs and armchairs are more numerous and more common than settees and wing chairs. Sets of matching upholstered furniture fill important rooms in grand houses. The large, upholstered sofa, now an icon of the Chippendale style, is rare before mid-century.



Written by callawayinteriordesign

May 30, 2012 at 1:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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