Developed approximately between 1720 and 1840, Georgian style architecture replaced Baroque style architecture in England and draws on a diverse set of architectural features from other architectural schools around the world.
The Georgian style, in being influenced by the Greeks and their classical style, sought to bring order, balance, and logical proportion, or symmetry, to its design. This meant the measurements between windows and doors and interior spaces were as equal as possible due to the introduction of mathematical calculations into the architectural design. The focus was a pure, clean, and ordered appearance to the point that this philosophy even dictated residential planning during this time period.
Unlike other time periods, interior Georgian design looked for harmony and balance, so there was no clutter or heavily embellished rooms to be found. High ceilings abounded as did a geometrical floor plan.
Interior spaces need to be light and airy along with a subdued colour palate, light woodwork accents, and delicate furnishings and decor. However, in early Georgian design, there might have still been some more dramatic colours like burgundy, but typically the colours of the time period were in the vein of Wedgwood Blue, Pea Green, and muted pinks.
Floors included bare floorboards in working class homes while grander homes may have featured stone or marble floors. The walls were either panelled or a combination of panelling and plaster that had been painted or covered in wallpaper. If wallpaper was used, the patterns were ordered and balanced with geometric designs or anything that resembled a chinosierie design. The only things that were slightly ornate in a Georgian interior were the mouldings with ribbons, figures, swags and urns as well as the lighting, which included ornate chandeliers and the fireplaces as a focal point to the room with decorated fronts and fire screens.
Furniture features simple wing back chairs and upholstered armchairs. Draperies were also very simple and light. Decor was ordered and balanced as well with formal organisation to any wall hangings and paintings. There may have also been ornamental items from the Orient in bronze or porcelain.
Within exterior Georgian design, the most common materials were stone or brick wherein the walls were typically found to have red tones and be trimmed with white accent materials. There are many other exterior design features that characterise a Georgian home. These features include large sash windows and shutters to name but just a few.
What is important to remember when considering Georgian exterior design is the fact that there are three main periods – early, mid, and late – where the features became gradually softer and more refined over time. Also over time, the size of the house became noticeably smaller. Other features carried through the whole architectural time period, such as an elegant design and a symmetrical elevation.
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Georgian Exterior image courtesy of: Philip Halling