How do you decorate like a rich person

Yes you heard that right – what rich people know about decorating.

What do they know? They know that antiques give a room depth, richness, and a soul. They know that antiques give a room something – class.

Gilt, Stucco, Marble

  1. Oriental rugs are always appropriate, but they must be antique since their quality deteriorated when the rug makers started using aniline dyes.

    An Oriental rug at the Louvre, presumably without those nasty aniline dyes.

  2. If andirons are gilt, they should be of ormolu. Fire screens should use French designs, but the wood box should be Italian.

    A recommended wood box

  3. Hardwood floors are a necessity in a ballroom, but marble floors are preferable in the vestibule, dining room and staircase. And, after all, marble is easy to clean!

    The easy-to-clean Great Hall at The Breakers in Newport

  4. Renaissance stucco designs are appropriate for ceilings. But for smaller rooms, use designs in arabesques from the reign of Louis XIV.

    Arabesques from the appropriate era at Wharton’s The Mount

  5. The design of shovel and tongs should accord with that of the andirons. In France such details are never disregarded.

    Matching fireplace utensils? Check. Madame Pompadour’s apartment at Versailles.

  6. Spiral staircases are a no-no unless used for secret communication or servants.

    Oh, the horror! Spiral staircase at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, former home of James Deering in Cocoanut Grove, Fla.

    Bedrooms and Ballrooms

  7. Bedrooms should be suites that include boudoir, dressing room and bathroom.bedroom furniture

    Walls should be plain and paneled with chintz or cotton hangings. Furniture should be 18th century antique, with slipcovers that match the curtains.

    Gertrude Vanderbilt’s bedroom at the Breakers with appropriate chintz.

  8. Framed prints look well in small entranceways if hung on plain walls; Mantegna’s “Triumph of Julius Caesar” is recommended, but NOT Durer’s etchings.
  9. An 18th-century bergere is appropriate for the family drawing room, and 18th-century English furniture is not out of place, despite its poverty of ornament.

    Wharton would have been OK with this Queen Anne-style furniture in the Governor’s Chambers at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

  10. Ballrooms should have mirrored walls like the Borghese Palace in Rome, with pilasters of marble separated by marble niches containing statues. The ceiling should be domed and frescoed in bright colors. The floor should be inlaid marble and the room should ALWAYS be lit from the ceiling and NEVER from the walls, for no ballroom is complete without its chandeliers.

    Make sure your ballroom looks something like this.

    Lustrous Color and Imposing Vases

  11. In the library, built-in bookcases are preferable to movable ones, and all books should have ordinary bindings of half morocco or vellum. The goal: “to form an expanse of warm lustrous color.”

    Edith Wharton’s library at The Mount.

  12. The guest parlor should have a light wall, handsome cabinets and imposing vases and candelabra. The room should also be lit with wax candles to flatter the antique furniture.

    The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, by John Singer Sargent. Are those vases imposing enough?

Choose Sculptural Statement Pieces


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