“With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on.”
As quoted in William Morris and Red House (2005) by Jan Marsh..
• Study William Morris’s decorative patterns. Official Morris-print home decor and fabric is worth the investment, but sometimes you can find lookalikes by searching generic florals. Knowing his designs will help you spot less expensive options.
• Don’t be afraid of color: burnt umber walls and crimson couches, plum velvet throw pillows and emerald green blankets.
• Pre-Raphaelite art tells a story with every symbol and detail. Your home can too. Just bought a new intricate pen set? Display it on a half-written letter from Ophelia to Hamlet. Hang your beautiful velvet capelet on a hook by the door instead of consigning it to the closet on a hanger. Let the romance of your home speak through the objects inside.
• Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great sources for finding local used heavy wood furniture that add to that “wandering around an ancient castle” feel.
• Truth to nature—the idea of going out into the wild and re-creating the details of what they saw—was a big part of the Brotherhood’s creed. Look to nature for your own home decor as well. Explore, experience, and come back home with respectfully harvested items. If you live in the city and have no way of obtaining such things yourself, big box stores sell bundles of birch logs and bags of pinecones, among other things.
• Even if you’re not an artist, be inspired by how the Brotherhood would invite friends over to decorate their homes together, integrating those memories into the mortar and paint.
Remember, the thing that makes your home the most Pre-Raphaelite is you! Whole essays were written about Jane Burden Morris swooning about her chaise lounge in her home. Be the monarch of your own castle!