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When I decided to redo my living room in a medieval/fantasy motif, I did research on the web.  Although there are thousands of medieval/gothic/fantasy sites and tens of thousands of products, I spent too much time filtering through them with too little results.  On these Medieval Home Decor pages I hope to offer a "straight to the meat of the matter" approach with project ideas, illustrations, suggestions, links, and photos.  Using these pages and your own creativity, you will find you can create your own escape, a doorway through time, leading to a more chivalrous age.
These pages are designed for us serfs, us fuedal working common folk on a budget.  The ideas herein will lead to creating an overall design and feel for a room that can be created on a budget of 100 to a couple thousand dollars at most.  So to begin...
Firmly fix in your mind the designs, shapes, colors, textures, and images of the medieval period.  If you are like me you cannot afford to spend $50,000 at Design Toscano or run down to antique row to furnish your home.  Therefore, when shopping anywhere from Swap Meets to Target to Yard Sales, Goodwill or Salvation Army to Joe's Trash and Treasure, you'll need to look at objects you see with an eye to what they CAN be, not necessarily what they currently are.   You'd be surpised what you can transform with a screwdriver and a bit of paint. To get you started, here are the basic foundations of medieval decor (and pictures are worth thousands of words):
SHAPES, PATTERNS, STENCILS, TEMPLATES-
keep these in mind when shopping for everything from collectables to fabrics to architectural items... you can also use these as templates for painting windows to make stained glass, or for fabric painting, banners, appliques, wall or furniture stencilling, or, using a borrowed overhead projector, these designs can be painted directly on walls...they serve a wide variety of uses.  Also note that it is wise to keep a look out for celtic knotwork, a commonly used adornment in the gothic period.  Recently I have seen pre-cut stamps for paint and ink in several knotwork, fluer di lis, and other "gothic" designs.  Stampers are invaluable tools for wall and fabric effects.

To use these templates you can print them onto iron-on transfer paper for fabric or trace them onto heavy plastic or aluminum sheet for wall stenciling.  Some of these would make great pillows, and I used fluer di lis on a lampshade and  wall sconce, and gothic arches for my stained glass (painted, leaded) front window. 
Don't be overly concerned about the quality of the printout as it is used for the shape only-you'll be painting any stencils you use. See links for original stencil products you can purchase.
I used this lion (left) as an iron on template for painting then silver leafing a large blue banner I hung over my armoire.  I have gotten so many compliments!  The detail on the lion was a bear to paint but it was worth it!
pelmet shapes for over windows, doors, and sofa draping
Sheet metal can be cut with metal shears and shaped into shields which can then be painted and hung on walls.  Here are some painting ideas:
Heraldry enlivens any medieval motif and can be used in so many ways.  You can even create your own personal coat of arms as I did.  See the My Choices section for the wall shield I made.  To the right is the heraldry of Richard the Lionheart.
I used a simple gothic arc with a circle in it to do my repeated pattern "stained glass" front window.  But if you have the patience, a variation of these patterns could be effectively used on a window panel.
This design can be found in sheet metal fretwork at many hardware and home improvement stores.  I have seen sheets of cross or quatrefoil fretwork put to good use as headboards, table tops, and room dividers. Have large modern stereo speakers as I do?  Build "ancient" wood chests and cover one side with quaterfoil fretwork for the sound to come through.
If you are reading this in Europe there is a good chance you have wonderful built in architectural features, especially if your home is over a century old.  For us North Americans, medieval isn't so easy to come by, as we all live in smooth drywall squares and rectangles over here.  Unlike the wonderful wood, tile, and stone floors of Europe, most of us have wall to wall carpet.

But with imagination even North Americans can come up with a comfortable compromise to obtain a medieval feel.  I myself have berber carpet, a year old, so have to use rugs to dress up the floor in an old world style.  I have been lucky to find several persian style rugs at yard sales over the last few years for reasonable prices.

Here are some ideas for creating the medieval look on your walls, windows and doors:
To create faux gothic arch "paneling" simply mask off the arcs with tape and paint a slightly darker color on one side and a slightly lighter color line on the other.  It's actually as easy as it sounds!  As for this room, I thought the shields were a bit much but each to his own...they sure add plenty of color all around the room.
Rich medieval colors, duplicated plaster gargoyle heads, an ornate medieval border applied along the picture rail height...the result is pure opulence.
Three weeks ago I finally painted my first faux stone wall.  It was so easy and it came out wonderful.  Visitors say it's like walking into a castle.  I used masking tape and two colors of gray, with two colors of tan, with an antique cream colorwash over top to mute the "veins" and "moss" of the large stone blocks.  Did the whole thing in a weekend too.

Here are some variations on the faux stone wall theme:
Instructions
You can do thick or thin lines, light or dark lines, with smaller or larger blocks in squares or irregular shapes
Wall Instruction by Rosemarie Colombraro
Wall Instructions by Debbie Travis
Here (right) is my personal favorite.  On my  first try I went with a simpler design but when I do my next faux stone wall, this >>>> is how I will create it.
I discovered the trick early into the project, don't strive for perfection.  Mix it up, keep it irregular, splotchy, and natural.  In the My Choices section you'll see how mine turned out.  If I can do it, YOU can do it!
You don't have to be Rembrandt to create some of the trompe l'oil art that I have seen.  You can even buy templates these days and rent...an overhead projector (have I said that?)....easy as paint by numbers.
Glass painting for "stained glass" is very easy and inexpensive.  See My Choices for the front window I painted/leaded with adhesive and liquid leading.
For windows and doors seek out heavy fabrics and dark woods with ironwork.  Use plank or plank effects, and age, distress, and faux paint the wood or metal for effect.  There are also some good quality door size gothic murals that can be ordered through Home Depot or wallpaper stores for reasonable prices.  Again, you can paint your own for less money if you can get use of an overhead projector.  For windows, pelmets work wonderfully and are easy and inexpensive to make.  Always keep the curtains themselves simple, gothic style did not incorporate swags, sheer undercurtains, lace, or frills.  Stained glass created with liquid leading or adhesive leading kits adds color to windows and lends privacy as well. Below you can see how the faux stone, the painted glass and the heavy furniture combine to create a wonderful gothic bedroom.
Believe it or not, this bedroom is in a modern, drywalled home.  With shutters on the windows, a faux stone wall and faux tudor beams, this room is one we could all escape the modern world in.
The owners of the room above went to the last detail and this room is a museum quality reproduction....that one can LIVE in!
Heavy fabrics simply hung with iron rods or wood pelmets...seek out damasks, brocades, jacquards, velvets, tapestry fabrics...
A standard rectangular door can have an arch-shaped panel applied on the wall above, with a painted faux stone arch framing the door, to give a wonderful gothic feel to an otherwise modern foyer.
Crown canopies can be used over beds, chairs, open doorways, even a sofa, as you will see in My Choices on page two.
I used a rod set with tie backs similar to these, which you will see in the My Choices section.  My drapes, console and cushions are a plum purple satan damask scroll pattern and the fabric to the right is what I chose as large "tapestries" I hung on one side of the room.  My colors, as mentioned, are not the traditional medieval golds, umbers, and red...but royal blue and purple, with silver leaf, pewter, and wrought iron.
I hope this page has gotten your creative juices flowing and given you some ideas for your windows, walls, doors and floors....but now comes the really fun part....Furniture and Accessories....so join me on Page Two for more
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