The past is a magical place, made all the more magical by its distance. There is something so reassuring, so familiar and warming, about items that remind us of the past that even the most slavish devotee to the here and now may sometimes feel secretly drawn towards them. The power of things to convey a sense of history cannot be overestimated; often it is possible to feel a particular period vividly evoked simply by being in the vicinity of an object reminiscent of that time. This can even be the case with period we haven’t lived through; find yourself confronted with the gold-coated throne of some long-dead monarch and you may suddenly find it easy to imagine yourself transported back to a room filled with elegant lords and ladies, on their best behaviour as the king holds court. The same effect is, of course, possible on a much less grand scale. Even less historically significant or outwardly impressive items can help conjure up a sense of days gone by – and in your own home, not just in a museum. If you’re not up for embracing a full-on vintage look in your interior, there are plenty of other ways to incorporate nostalgic touches here and there. Here are just a few beautiful pieces to get you started on your adventures in time travel.
Beautifully crafted old-fashioned toys can be so decorative and add so much elegance to your home that, in many cases, you’ll want to keep them around long after your children have outgrown them. This gorgeous Victorian rocking horse is a prime example. Its rich, dark wood, regal facial features and detailed leather accessories make it easy for people of all ages to fall in love with. In place of conventional rockers it also has a more unusual and elaborate structure that means that its motion will be a little different from the standard forward-and-back of most rocking horses.
Let’s be honest, looking at yourself is pretty much an indulgence anyway, and for many (possibly most) people it’s one perhaps slightly too often indulged in. If you’re one of them, why not really push the boat out and make the experience into the fabulous luxury it really is? Not only does a majestic colonial mirror like this one afford due ceremony to the process of checking oneself out, it also brings a very specific glamour into the home; the glamour of floor-sweeping dresses, intricate dances and perhaps even powdered wigs.
Nothing says sophistication like a classic leather armchair. A piece like this would be equally at home behind a mahogany desk in a book-lined study or in front of a roaring fire… or, indeed, in a completely contemporary living room, where it would bring just the right amount of nostalgia with it.
No matter what overall look you’ve gone for in your kitchen, crockery and kitchen accessories are a great place to express some extra personality. These pieces don’t need to perfectly match the vibe of the rest of the room; in fact, keeping things eclectic can make things far more interesting. Pretty vintage style teacups such as these are a perennial kitchen favourite for their sweet charm and nostalgic aura.
For those who are truly willing to commit to a vintage aesthetic, Victorian style patterned wallpaper is a daring but effective way to embrace the look. In this case, it’s been paired with old-fashioned curtains too, for a design history double whammy.