Thirty years ago they were being ripped out, replaced and removed, but thanks to the likes of Kirstie, Phil and Sarah Beeny, we’ve all learnt to love a good period feature in a house. Ceiling roses around pendant shades add a deco touch, original fireplaces are perfect for family photographs and coving breaks up the wall into interesting segments.
But sometimes, they can feel more of a design hindrance, than a help. In many ways, you’re stuck with them – it would be a travesty to have them taken away – and they can feel like they dominate the decorating plans. So here are a few tricks to use them in your favour, to help them work as part of your look, rather than to guide it.
DO...Paint different sections different colours: As in this picture above, the different sections of the fireplace are painted different colours, giving it a very modern feel despite its antique-style mantelpiece. Don’t be afraid to go for really bright shades – a hot pink against a white frame will pop into the room, setting the hearth on fire even when it isn’t lit. Paint two contrasting colours above and below a coving, or two different tones of the same shade if you want a subtler look.
DO....Mismatch ultra-modern accessories: The pop art canvas in this picture works because of the unlikely contrast it creates with the fireplace. If you have a ceiling rose, hang an industrial bulb fitting or a Scandi-style shade to ramp up the clash of time periods.
YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T...Forget to include storage. An unused fireplace makes the perfect place to keep books, or show off a couple of statement vases. Just group them in a cluster to create an easy art installation.
DO...Go for hi shine: Sure, you could spend many a weekend sanding down your original floorboards so they’re as nature intended, or you could just cover them in a shiny black coat of gloss paint, like in this picture. Not only does it create a fun sense of drama but it’s also perfect for parties. Instant dance floor means an instant D.I.S.C.O. in your living room.
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Pip McCormac, Guest Editor
View all posts by Pip McCormac, Guest Editor