Contemporary interiors for buildings of heritage

One of the first elements to consider when working on a building of heritage is the restrictions around structural changes, which for some buildings are limited and others prohibited due to conservation laws.  Therefore, personalisation of the building is achieved through clever interior design – the choice of palettes, furnishing, and finishes.


When choosing the actual furniture, it is important that the pieces chosen are considerate of the surroundings, is the furniture fit for purpose in terms of how the space is to be used, be that in the welcome areas, designated workspace areas or communal and break-out spaces.  The simplistic and modern design of furniture from Scandinavian and Nordic brands like DeVorm and Icons of Denmark offers the perfect backdrop in a historic setting, complimenting the old architecture but not taking away from it. Italian design styles also sit beautifully in these buildings.  Both styles albeit different in their own right really do complement the spaces well.  Modern with low impact and luxurious and timeless.

The less is more approach we often find has the most impact on these spaces.

Soft Seating

Soft lines, smooth corners, warm neutral tones, and cleverly chosen fabrics are guaranteed to let your building sing.  A common feature in older architecture is the absence of harsh angles and straight lines, perfect harmony can be achieved through carefully selected furniture that echoes the same design features.

Industrial design and over-engineered furniture have their place in certain settings and look amazing, however, this is not often the case in older buildings.

Palettes of Perfection

Complimentary or contrasting tones depending on the backdrop can work really well with a Georgian-style building. Colour schemes create more than an atmosphere, the use of warm neutral tones is a hugely successful design choice in older architecture as it allows you to highlight the history, not overpower it.


The limitations placed on the design with the restrictions around structural work mean that modular furniture can often be the most successful approach. Free-standing acoustic panels from companies like Friends of Wilson and Abstracta can assist with enhancing the acoustic performance of a space, resulting in effective video conferencing facilities in spaces with high ceilings. They also offer the opportunity to define spaces and create areas of privacy.

Framing your furniture

When considering the frame of the furniture for a historical site, warm metals can complement old features and bring in a luxurious feeling of times past.  Black contrasting features on the other hand will give a more contemporary and modern edge to a design.  These buildings with their symmetrical design, feature fireplaces, high ceilings, and decorative cornice and ceiling designs make a beautiful backdrop for in our opinion, clean lines and understated furniture.  Finishes would be the most important feature for whatever concept is decided.


In Georgian times, softness and warmth were created with the introduction of colours and fabrics and this approach is as important today as it was then.  Apart from the obvious approaches to creating softness and warmth as discussed earlier in this article, biophilia is a real winning addition to any historic site.  Companies like Mummie Plants are experts at matching the right plants and planting for each and every site – making sure that planting chosen is sympathetic to the environment it is in, but also offers the most healing properties of biophilia.

Statement Lighting

There is so much fun to be had with the introduction of lighting in projects like these and the large rooms and high ceilings offer the perfect setting for statement pieces that draw your attention to features in the room such as the stucco, grand spaces and much more.  A design favorite of mine when it comes to lighting design is the wonderful Quadrifoglio and also Tom Dixon

Attention to detail

Attention to detail, observing the building’s design, history, and heritage, and using it as the canvas to which you will add your personality is what will make your space your own, whilst ensuring that the history and architecture of your historic building are nurtured and embraced. As the custodian of the space today, your approach to your interior is what will bring your building into a new phase of its history and will see your office space sing a new song, preserving it for another period, a new chapter.

Given our extensive experience working with clients in their buildings of historic value, we would be delighted to speak to you about how we can help you create a warm, inviting, stylish contemporary interior for your workplace. Paying homage to the past and creating an innovative office with your now and your future in mind. 

Contact Lynne or any of our interiors team via or 01 217 8000

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