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9 Inspiring Colour Updates For Your Period Property

Renovating a listed, heritage or period property? Be inspired by these paint and wallpaper transformations. With its intricate woodwork, historic features and often high ceilings, a period property interior cries out for colour. And whether you want to relish in the rich shades and patterns of days gone by, create elegance with neutrals or give your period property a modern design twist altogether, we’ve got you covered with the following paint and wallpaper ideas.

Discover our lookbook of gorgeous heritage colour ideas for classic and contemporary schemes that’ll bring your period property to life…

Dive Into the Blues

Arguably the most influential design statement of the Victorian era was their use of rich, dramatic colours that set a decadent backdrop for statement ornaments and bold patterns. While deep blues – such as the colour used in this Victorian terrace renovation – nod to the past, especially when teamed with brass fittings, it can take on a more modern look when mixed with contemporary cabinets, lighter wood tones, fun lighting and modern artwork.

Timber flooring laid in a herringbone pattern will create a timelessly elegant base for any room in the house, adding warmth and pattern in equal measure.

Add a dramatic colour combo

‘Fern wallpaper’ by Little Greene

It’s not just the colour you use in your period property, but the way in which you use it. The living room walls in this Victorian conversion were painted floor-to-ceiling in this natural blue shade – including the alcoves, shelving and cabinetry – giving it a modern feel and also letting the marble
feature fireplace take centre stage.

Why choose one rich colour when you can choose two? Here a contrasting accent colour, a rich emerald green, calls attention to the velvet sofa upholstery and giving the overall scheme the extra wow-factor.

Break the mould

Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball

The rich tone of teal has all the restful qualities of green and blue in one beautiful hue, making it a popular colour for both period properties and more contemporary homes.

In this Grade II listed property in Kensington, decorative wall panels add subtle interest to the walls and the green/blue paint tone adds drama all the way up to the picture rail. By keeping the space above the picture rail (and the ceiling) white in contrast, it allows the beautiful cornicing of the ceiling to stand out. Hardwood oak floors add warmth to the palette.

Lead with lead

Paint in ‘Lead’ by Little Greene

If dark moody hues are not your thing, update your period property interior with neutral colour shades. This fully bespoke, Shaker-style kitchen is finished with a soothing grey paint colour that was inspired by a former residence of composer George Frederick Handel and harks back to a popular colour for Georgian homes; perfectly suited to this red brick Art Nouveau property.

A glass pendant light and range add an industrial-style feel, while antique picture frames celebrate the property’s history.

Bring Berry Tones to the Bedroom

Paint in ‘Theatre Land’ by Mylands

Dramatic in the dining room, cosy and intimate in the bedroom, berry tones are a hit in period properties.

Darker paint colours such as this playful bedroom hue work really well when offset with natural, earthy hues in the surrounding scheme. Choose paler colours for the bedlinen, furniture, flooring, ceiling and window treatment, especially if you don’t get a lot of light in there.

To add warmth, harness the richness and grandeur of bygone eras with hints of gold or metallics.

Create a Living Wall

Wallpaper in ‘Green Sanctuary’ by Mind the Gap; Paint in ‘Skimming Stone’ by Farrow & Ball.

The botanical trend continues to be popular in British homes, with a wide range of wallpaper prints available – from palms to trees to grasses – that capture nature’s enduring beauty and bring walls to life.

A bold, leafy green wallpaper brings this grade II listed townhouse extension to life. It adds colour in an otherwise neutral space (complemented by a couple of accent cushions); plays on the indoor-outdoor feel of the scheme; and is not a bad backdrop for the home office video call, either.

Release Your Powder Room’s Potential

Paint in ‘Kensington Rose’ by Mylands

Paint in ‘Squid Ink’ by Paint & Paper Library

It might be a smaller space in the home, but when it comes to colour a powder room is the perfect place to pack a punch.

Nothing dramatizes a powder room like a dark, rich colour. Moody greens, blues or blackberries, for example, are a sophisticated way to bring a bold pop of color into a small space. Here, an inky, charcoal blue is teamed with stainless steel for a period feel.

Or if you want something with a bit more pep, the retro tone in this powder room proves that a little pink goes a long way.

Play With Period Wallpaper Patterns

Carlton House Terrace wallpaper by Little Greene

The Victorians had a passion for French design. With its elaborate and ornate patterns (such as toile and damask), confident adornments and rich colours, all-things French had swept across Great Britain since the French revolution as a symbol of luxury and elegance.

In this mews house bedroom, a damask patterned wallpaper in a striking and exotic colour palette takes centre stage to create a feature wall reminiscent of Georgian decadence. Pulling out the main colours for the red wardrobe, blue headboard and green lamp creates a coordinated look and modern twist.

Choose soothing neutral paint tones

Walls painted in ‘Manor House Gray’ by Farrow & Ball

Neutrals get a bad rap and tend to merit a more evocative word than their name suggests. Used to describe a palette that’s been at the top of the colour charts for decades, these earthy, gentle colours (from warm leather browns to stone greys and whites) are easy to live with, elegant and undemanding.
Plus, as this elegant living room in Wandsworth proves, neutral shades can be the perfect way to highlight beautiful period-style interior woodwork such as the cornicing and fireplace.

Not all greys are alike. A large heritage living room scheme like this can take a cool grey such as this one, but if you’re looking for a cosier scheme you might want to choose a paint shade with warmer undertones. Just stick to one lane – if you use a cool grey for the walls, choose a cool white for the
ceiling – or the colours may cancel each other out.

Be inspired by more of Huntsmore’s latest projects in our photo gallery. Plus, if you’re looking to start your own unique project, we invite you to book a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced design experts who will advise you on how to turn your ideas into reality.