Decorate Your Home Greek Revival Style

We are purchasing a beautiful old Greek Revival home that desperately needs work! I want it to look somewhat formal, but comfortable as well. The rooms are fabulously large, but there is very little wall space due to the numerous windows. Can you help us decorate in a style that's traditional and fun? --iVillager be4time

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Liberate yourself and have a good time decorating your new house. Our suggestion for your Greek Revival home is a style you might refer to as "Relaxed Formal" -- a not-so-serious mix of comfortable "formal" furnishings and decor that makes you smile. In Breaking the Rules: Home Style for the Way We Live Today (Simon & Schuster), see examples like a playful crown on the head of a serious statue, a beaded "eggplant" purse nestling in a bowl of fruit, the Duchess of Windsor's gloves worn on hand mannequins, and an antique secretary housing towels.

You'll have more fun outfitting your home if you mix in some antiques, some reproductions, and even some out-of-period "unexpected" pieces (placed in "unexpected" places -- groupings in the center of a room, catercorner, or in front of a window -- not everything has to go on a wall) adapting them to your decor for a style that is truly your own and, hopefully, one that makes you smile! Here are some great tips.

  • If you're intent on period decorating, be prepared to do research and study everything you can about the cultural history of that time.
  • Pay visits to and ask lots of questions at museums, auctions, antique shops and traditional reproduction furniture stores.
  • Also, take a look at Slavin's Opulent Textiles, an American textile history book, which includes 250 full-color photographs from the archival collection of the F. Schumacher fabric company. Of course, refer to many other archival/period stylebooks, and page through traditional-style shelter magazines for ideas and looks that you love.
  • Most of all, take your time and enjoy the search. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day -- neither was Greek Revival Style.
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