These days many of us get our ideas from television programmes, such as Kirsty Allsop's. But the tradition of decorating advice in magazines and manuals goes back to at least Victorian times. Books such as those by Rhoda and Agnes Garrett, Mrs Panton and Mrs Haweis offered the Victorian homeowner the equivalent of Kirsty's advice for their day. (Deborah Cohen's book Household Gods contains a fascinating chapter about these female home decorating advisors, making clear the importance of the link between their work and their contribution to female suffrage - but that's another story).
In the 1930s, publications like this one promised that "with a few easily contrived alterations [and] a judiciously selected harmony of colour", you could have a, "Jacobean Interior - a Chinese room - an entirely Modern Interior - or what you will".
|'More New Rooms for Old; |
further suggestions for modernising the home interior'
by Grace Lovat Fraser, around 1935
Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (BADDA 394)
In the meantime, if you are interested in the history of domestic advice manuals you might want to come along to a seminar at the Geffrye Museum next week. The programme looks fascinating - maybe we'll see you there...