Edwardian wallpaper styles brought color into the 1900s home
Text from Home Decorative Interior Suggestions, by Benjamin Moore & Co. (1910)
Most important to the harmony and happiness, and even to the health of the home, is color. And yet color, as it relates to these, is all too little understood.
The possible influence of a color scheme in making a house more “livable” is only beginning to be widely appreciated, while the actual effect of color beauty and tone harmony in the making of a “homey” home is never so well-realized as when, perhaps, some ill-chosen interior decoration gives way to a well-selected and successfully carried out plan of design.
To decorate a house properly requires serious thought and some knowledge of color and color harmony.
The color treatment of a house interior must begin with the walls. They form the atmosphere, as it were, which makes a room pleasant or otherwise. Neither floor coverings, draperies nor furniture can minimize the influence of the walls that shut out the world and enclose the home.
Your home is yourself
As each home must express the individuality of the homemaker, so the wall colors must always follow personal preference. In a very real way, your home is yourself.
Few of us realize how color affects one. People suffer from living against unsympathetic backgrounds, so to speak. They are nerve-worn by jarring colors, yet do not know what is the matter with them. Select, therefore, only such colors as are pleasing to you and be sure you get them in those soft tones that are so essential to the restful enjoyment of a room.
Choose your colors carefully
As a rule, dark and gloomy colors depress one, while bright, sunshiny tones bring cheerfulness.
Colors should always be chosen with reference to the quantity and quality of light which enters the room. When going into a new house, where the walls are not y r et decorated, it is often difficult to get a correct impression of how light or how dark the walls will be when treated with design and color.
If a room is dark, sunshiny yellows or warm rose tints will make it brightest and most cheerful. Yellows, reds or golden browns are the rule for a north room as it has but little sunshine.
A room with a southern exposure requires cool, light colors — blues, greens and grays as it receives a flood of sunlight.
Olive green is best suited to a northern exposure. As this color is likely to take on a brownish tone at night, it should be considered by both daylight and artificial light. Rooms that face east and west will take practically any color.
Color makes for contentment
If one is to live in the same house all the year round, one must not choose colorings of so much warmth that they will prove unpleasant during the hot months. While a brilliant red in the living room is certainly cheerful and attractive on winter evenings when everything is lighted up, by daylight it seems to contract the size of the room. And it is most assertive when the weather is warm.
Red walls should never be used with mahogany furniture as the walls kill the color of the mahogany. Wine color, however, is a most satisfactory color to live with as it has none of the assertive qualities of a really bright red. Probably buff or tan with white woodwork makes the ideal wall tint for a living room.
It is well to remember that moldings and plate rails break up the wall spaces and are valuable factors m wall treatment. The ceiling in all cases must be lighter in tone than the walls.
Color has also much to do with the apparent size of the room. Generally speaking, red and the darker tones cause the walls seemingly to contract, whereas light shades lend breadth and height.
How to make rooms larger
In a room where the ceiling is much too high, the wall decoration can be divided into three sections. The ceiling tone can run down one or two feet, level with the top of the doors and windows. Its termination should always carry out some architectural line already in the room.
Another deeper tone below this could cover the wall to within seven feet of the floor, and a wood paneling would then make a suitable base. Unless the walls are over eleven feet high which is seldom the case — it would not be necessary to bring the ceiling paper down. If a ceiling is so low as to be depressing, use a white ceiling and a very light-toned wall.
Never make the mistake of carrying the design of the side walls up to the ceiling. It has the effect of bringing the ceiling down almost on one’s head — and this is most burdensome and unrestful.
In rooms where something other than plain walls are desired, a stenciled design in contrasting color or shade may be used. This is often suitable in the hall as a border below the molding, and in the child’s bedroom as a dado or just below the molding. The bolder stenciled designs are often used as dados in dining rooms.
The keynote of the plan
To secure color harmony throughout the house, the hall must be considered first, as it is the keynote of the whole color scheme.
In the first place, let the hall look inviting. If it is narrow and poorly lighted, yellow is a good color to choose as it will introduce an atmosphere of sunshine. Side walls of Roman yellow or buff’, above a dado of russet or tan, would harmonize with a dining-room of brown and copper, and a living-room of buff, warm gray or green.
An effective color scheme for a square hall is one of ivory having a dado of warm, permanent red.
If the walls of a hall are very high, they must be broken by molding and a contrasting dado of darker color. This should be in proportion to the height of the wall on the staircase. If a dado is used here, let it end where it meets the stairs. Never follow the slant of the stairs.
Many rooms but one home
The library must be restful. No color must be chosen that tends to distract the eye or thought. Any of the darker shades of green, russet, tan or wine color would be excellent here.
Russet walls with cream ceiling, or buff walls with a russet dado and cream ceiling would prove delightful. When using several tones, it is best to make them the varying shades of one color.
For the living room, where we like to have our favorite pictures, the softest colors such as buff, tan or warm gray would be the most satisfactory. A darker base may be used here, with the upper walls light.
The dining room, as elsewhere suggested, may have darker-toned walls if it is a sunny room. Wine color, russet, olive, elm green, or tan would be excellent; and not infrequently a very delightful dining room with southern exposure has been done in Delft blue on the walls with a pale blue ceiling, paneling and plate rail of mahogany or walnut adding a rich contrast.
For the bedroom, colors should be chosen for their soft and restful tones. Remember your furniture and floor coverings, select the colors that harmonize best with them, and try to harmonize all of these with yourself.
40 Edwardian wallpaper samples
These are authentic examples of antique wallpaper from sample books that came out in 1906.
24 Edwardian wallpaper styles, paint and wall color scheme examples
Below, see a classic collection of wall, border and ceiling suggestions for vintage home decor that was popular during the Edwardian age.