Adding Value to Your Property Project by Keeping Period Features

Period features, if they were fitted when the property was built, will not only fit it’s style but generally add to it’s value. Salvaging what you have cannot only save you money but it will also appeal to your market. So think before you rip out any original features.

If they are damaged, find out if they can be restored. Check what is waiting to be rediscovered beneath ‘modern improvements’.

The following are all the items that would probably be worth keeping.


If the original cornice is damaged, you can hire a specialist to make a mould of a good part of it and repeat the pattern in plaster to replace the damaged area. You can replace the cornicing with a traditional standard moulding, but don’t replace it with a cheap, mass-produced coving.

Dado And Picture Rails

Dado (or chair) rails were devised to prevent the backs of chairs from damaging the wall and are placed about 90 cm up the wall. They make an attractive visual break, particularly in rooms with high ceilings, and offer opportunities for using a combination of colours in the decoration. Picture rails are also decorative in their own right. Fixed to the wall about three-quarters of the way up, they were designed to hang pictures from.


Even if it has central heating, a fireplace in a period house can act as a rather more attractive focal point than a television.

Good stonemasons or marble restorers can restore chipped or broken surrounds (Remember to always get a quote). In general, wooden fire surrounds were originally painted. If you think yours would look better with a wood finish, the surround can be carefully stripped and treated.

After alterations, if you end up with two fireplaces in a sitting room, but need one elsewhere, move the secondary one into a new position.


Exposing and restoring original flooring can add real value to a property. To revive hardwood floors give them a vigorous scrub with a mix of one part turpentine, one part methylated spirits and one part vinegar. Finish with floor polish.

If pine or deal floorboards are worn you can sand them and finish with a sealant clear varnish. Beware, though, that sanding will remove the distinctive colour achieved by decades of wear.


If you want to make your period doors comply with fire regulations, use intumescent paint, which id fire resistant, together with door closures, larger door stops and intumescent smoke seals.

Victorian houses and some 1930s houses may still have original stained-glass surrounds to the front door. These can be very attractive.

The Bath

Think before you rip out a tatty cast iron or roll top bath sitting on decorative feet. The original is more desirable than modern plastic. A tatty bath can look like new again with either a professional polish or re-enamelling, and new taps.


Keep original shutters as they are now seen as a valuable asset for both security and aesthetics (even if they need to be restored).


The staircase will be very characteristic of the period of your house. If you alter an original staircase not only will you alter the proportions of the interior but also your new staircase will have to comply with building regulations.

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