“Tudor” is a style of both architecture and decor that was commonly used from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The style uses elements from late Medieval and early Renaissance architecture, and so Tudor decor is heavily reminiscent of Medieval times. If your home is not built in the Tudor style but you’d like a room to resemble one in a traditional Tudor home, there are many techniques that you can use. Because Tudor is heavily incorporated into the architecture, some options will be more difficult than others.
For a truly Tudor style, you need wood or stone floors, or floors that look as though they are made from wood or stone. Brick can also be suitable for Tudor. The Tudor style is based in part on the styles of the late Medieval period, so think about the materials and styles available then when selecting your floor. Dark floors are best, and you should consider using a stain if you already have wooden floors that are light in color. Wall-to-wall carpeting is unsuitable for the style, but area rugs can go well in a Tudor style home, particularly Oriental-style rugs.
Walls and Ceiling
There are two typical materials for the walls of a Tudor home: plaster and wood. Dark or weathered wooden panels are common for the style, and are good if you want a strong, distinctive or heavy look. Plaster is the better choice if you want something a little lighter. It’s best if you can use real plaster or a similar material as a wall covering, but you can also imitate the look by painting the walls with a light, neutral, natural color.
Using decorative half-timbers is a way to get the benefits of both materials, since you will be using wood and you can use plaster or plaster-colored paint between the timbers. Half-timbers are structural beams used to support the walls; in a modern home, they do not actually have to be structural, and you can add wooden timbers to the walls to make it seem as though the house was built in the half-timber method. Half-timbers are also useful for decorating the ceiling.
There are distinctive features of a Tudor style room that are more architectural in nature, one of these being arches. Arches revolutionized the way buildings were constructed in Medieval times, and so the arch is a feature of the style that is repeated in Tudor. Arches in doorways or windows are both suitable. Adding an arch to a more modern room may be too difficult, but you can add the feel of an arched doorway with paint or by adding arched trim over the door frame if your walls are tall enough.
Fireplaces are another Tudor feature. Wall fireplaces, rather than fireplaces that sit in the middle of a room, were introduced in the 16th century and became a common feature in buildings of all kinds from that time on. You don’t have to have a functional fireplace to enjoy the stylistic benefits. If you have a fireplace already and want to make it more Tudor in style, be sure that the bricks or stone are a natural color. You can add a mantle that is made from dark and ornate wood to enhance the look.
The windows on a Tudor home are typically casement windows hung in rows rather than double-hung windows. Because large glass panes were difficult to produce in the past, these windows typically have small leaded panes in a diamond or rectangular pattern. Modern homes often have double-hung windows with a single pane in each half; you can add fake leading to make it look more like a Tudor window using glass paint or fake leading for painted “stained” glass or even thin wood strips. (see Reference 4)
Heaviness and luxuriousness are terms that describe the Tudor style well. While stone, plaster and wood have more natural colors, the decor can be much more bright and richly colored. Gold or silver thread and leafing are at home in the style, and luxurious patterned fabrics lend themselves well to the Tudor home. Rather than using paintings, hang tapestries or fabrics that resemble tapestries on your walls, which call back to Medieval times. There are several symbols that commonly repeat in Tudor style homes, such as the Tudor rose, the fleur-de-lis and the thistle. Heraldic devices, coats-of-arms and images associated with Biblical stories or scenes from folklore will also go well in the room. Choose furnishings that would be at home in a room from Medieval or Renaissance times. Heavy, dark, ornately carved woods are typical for furniture; oak was typically the primary wood for furniture of this time period, sometimes decorated with carved, more costly woods.