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How To Create A Georgian Colonial Home Interior

"Old colonial house in North America, front elevation"
Sisoje/ Getty Images
"Old colonial house in North America,  front elevation"

Sisoje/ Getty Images

Colonial decorating began as a rustic, hand-built and sturdy design which evolved over 300 years into an extremely ornate and lavish decor. This interior style began with rustic tastes because it originates back to the first American settlers in the 17th Century—settlers who were carpenters and made their own furniture. These settlers mostly originated from England where a lot of their tastes were heavily influenced.

Fast forward to today’s Colonial decor and you have a vast range of decor tastes that vary from simple wooden designs all the way to rich,  lavish interior decor that is filled with Chippendale and Queen Anne antiques. The latter is the main influence driving Georgian Colonial interior design. Georgian Colonial design dates back to the reigns of King George I through to IV—as you can imagine there are a lot of different design influences that factor into this vast time period.

To sum it up simply, Georgian Colonial is a traditional and timeless style that is well worth replicating. Its antique-filled, elegant homes with windows draped in opulent silks, and tables set with the best sterling silver would make Queen Anne herself feel elegantly at home.

Let’s take a peek inside this gorgeous Georgian Colonial home design to see if we can mimic the craftsmanship and elegance of this time period in our own homes:

dinning room colonial

Cavan Images/ Getty Images

Formal dining rooms such as this one can be found in all Georgian Colonial designs.

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Georgian Antique-Filled Rooms

Georgian Colonial homes were filled with high-quality antiquities. Queen Anne, Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton furniture styles were among the most popular.  Furniture gleamed of well-polished wood and rooms were put together in a formal style where clutter was not common.

Everything had a place and styles were not mixed— they were all of the same high-quality era.  Some of the less rich designs may feature more rustic, cottage-style antiques, but will remain elegant in a cozy manner.

Naturally, since wood was so plentiful, it was used to make all these fine furnishings. For the high-end furniture, walnut, cherry and maple woods were used. For the simpler furnishings, pine and birch woods were the go-to textile. The higher-quality styles featured ornate carved and curved legs, while the more rustic styles featured large rectangular plank boards. Either way, these historic homes had wood everywhere and the furnishings were always well-crafted.

antique furniture, traditional living room

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This is a lovely example of an antique-filled Georgian Colonial sitting room. Image Source: David Jones Architects

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Colonial Colors

Colors of Colonial times were soft and muted. It was common for colors to be whitewashed, resulting in a very airy feeling. Pale peaches or pinks, muted greens, soft blues, yellows , browns and taupes were among the most common colors.

In order to achieve this look in your own home, we suggest choosing colors that are not saturated. Instead, choose soft, elegant colors that can be found in nature. It may help to ask your local paint store if they have a line of heritage paints, and tell them the style you are trying to achieve. Essentially find the color you love, but choose the lightest, softest shade in that range (usually the first shade on the color swatch).

Take a cue from the image featured below. The curtains are a soft, elegant peach, and the walls are a pretty off-white with a hint of pale yellow. In this cozy cottage style, the wooden furniture is simpler and more rustic in styling. Have fun choosing feminine, soft colors to achieve your personal Georgian Colonial design.

Contemporary  lounge / living room seating area, with ormaments

Onzeg/ Getty Images

The soft color palette is commonly seen in Colonial Interiors. Image Source: Sara Tuttle

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Colonial Architectural Arches and Trims

French aristocratic style and classical Greek architecture had a heavy influence on Georgian Colonial architecture. Plaster and painted wood molding was used in abundance throughout these homes. The walls were literally covered from floor to ceiling in some form of trim.

Orante dado rails, panelling, picture rails, cornices, and crown molding were all common wall elements. Elaborate door archways, as seen in the image below, were also a common feature —possibly a nod to a Greek design element.

Most trims were painted an off-white color and wall paper also became common in the later years.  Cover your walls in these elaborate trims in order to achieve a true Georgian Colonial home. You will be surprised at how well these ornate architectural features can complete a room.

colonial Georgian home

John Elk/ Getty Images

The trim work in Georgian Colonial homes was always elaborate. Image Source: Images Publishing

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Georgian Colonial Design Features and Accessories

As you can probably tell from the images above, Georgian Colonial homes were predominantly subtle and soft in design. Everything had a delicate nature through ornate carvings, curves, and trims.

Windows were covered in floor-draping panels that featured trims and tassels. Walls were covered in ornate wood work and oil paintings in gilt frames.  Furniture had curved legs, carved claw feet, and elegant lines. Fabrics were decidedly delicate, featuring crewel work and embroidery work. Lighting was ornate and was draped in crystals.

All of these finespun features should be added in order to achieve a realistic Georgian Colonial home.  The image below is a nice way to make a more modern kitchen appear feminine and somewhat Georgian Colonial in design.

Traditional style custom kitchen with hardwood floors.

David Papazian/ Getty Images

This lovely kitchen has the soft features of Georgian Colonial Design. image Source: IBD NJ

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Georgian Colonial design covers centuries of influence and world-wide design elements. From Aristocratic French design to Greek design — there are a lot of design elements that you can use to suit your individual tastes. Whether you love an opulent interior or a more rustic cottage style—you can have a Georgian Colonial home interior.

Simply follow the design elements stated above: colonial antiques (rustic or elegant), soft muted color, architectural trims and arches, and feminine accessories. When combined, these elements of design will result in a lovely Georgian Colonial home whose style will outlast any trend.

Do you love Georgian Colonial design? Or are you still struggling to decide what interior decorating style belongs to you? If so, consider reading How To Identify Your Own Decorating Style for some helpful advice.

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