Do you have a room in your period property that you need to use for work or household administration purposes? It can be a wonderful space to transform into a Victorian style study. There are a few essential elements to look out for and if you can accommodate all of these, your room can become a sophisticated and calm place - ideal for working productively.
In order to transform your room into a Victorian style study, first of all, you need to carry out any remedial work:
- Remove any wallpaper and loose plaster from walls and ceilings. Make sure all the walls are sound and smooth. If they are not, you may need to get the room replastered or skimmed ready for painting or wallpapering.
- Check over any wooden mouldings and if rotten or damaged, repair or replace with like for like. Check over plaster moulding. If damage to it is slight, you may be able to fill in any cracks or chips with plaster mouldings filler. If the ceiling has been damaged by a leak or flood, you may need to remove and replace parts or even all of your coving. If there is no ceiling rose in the room, install a ceiling rose where your central light will be located.
- Check over the flooring to see if the condition of it is good enough to leave exposed. If the floor consists of floorboards, consider whether these would make a good floor once sanded, stained and revarnished to create a rich oak colour and deep sheen worth of a sumptuous study.
- Once the walls, wooden mouldings and flooring have been checked and any remedial work done and the bones of the room are all in good condition, you can then decide on your decorative scheme.
How should you decorate your study walls?
Studies look wonderful with dark wood panelling on the walls. Although it is a lot of work to construct panelling and more expensive than simple paint or wallpaper, panelling can really make a study something wonderful with an authentic period feel. Although oak panelling is the first choice for a genuine Victorian study, panelling made from MDF and pine painted a dark colour can create just as dramatic an effect. Find out how to make and install wood panelling here.
As well as (or instead of) panelling, you could create dark or painted wood bookshelves or book cabinets. These look great in the alcoves either side of a fireplace or covering one whole wall. If you want a short cut, you could buy wallpaper designed to mimic bookshelves filled with old hardback books.
If you are painting your room, choose dark, sumptuous colours, typical of a Victorian style study. These include deep blue, green or red - darker shades should be below the dado line instead of above it. Farrow and Ball do a great range of genuine deep rich Victorian hues, perfect for this style of study. However, if you're not panelling the room, it would be traditional to use a dark rich-patterned wallpaper, such as Amicia in Cochineal - above the dado line, with a deep complementary paint shade below the dado. This will help to achieve a business-like feel to the room,
How should you furnish a study?
A Victorian style study is the perfect setting for a large antique oak or hardwood desk with a leather top with matching leather upholstered Captain’s chair. This sort of period furniture can be picked up cheaply on auction websites or in antique/bric-a-brac shops as it’s gone through a long period of being unfashionable and is too large for the small rooms common in modern houses. No antique desk is complete without a desk lamp in the traditional style – think of a green bankers lamp as an obvious choice, however, a Tiffany style lamp would be a wonderful complement to a really masculine Victorian desk.
Other furniture that you may wish to include in your study, space permitting, is:
- A sideboard or filing cabinet to hold paperwork which will not fit into your antique desk.
- Twin leather wing chairs either side of the fireplace both with a small table by the side on which to put drinks. On these tables, a Tiffany style lamp is the perfect accompaniment.
- For the floor area in front of the desk, choose a Persian-style rug. This can be either a genuine antique for that aged look, or a new wool rug with a design based on Persian rug designs from the 1900s.
- For a central main light, choose a bronze chandelier with amber shades for a sumptuous and elegant feel, with a dimmer switch to create softness with your lighting.
We hope our guide has inspired your home renovation project. A Victorian style study can form the perfect sanctuary, not just for work, but for thoughtful time spent at home, pondering the dilemmas of the world or as a perfect retreat.