Pick a period
This may seem obvious, but one of the rookie mistakes that people will make when choosing to channel a period style will be not actually choosing an era and sticking to it. If you don't, you will end up with a real mishmash of styles, which will not only render your house looking like a junk shop, but it will also look very amateur indeed to a trained eye - which aren't we all now that Downton has started again? Do you want Elizabethan, Jacobean, early Georgian, late Georgian, Edwardian or perhaps an immensely popular look that screams Regency Period? Do your research about the interior designs for each period, take your pick of the bunch and remain steadfast within those dates.
Decide on a palette
Once you have chosen your period - and as with any interior design project - you need to have a very clear idea in your mind about the colours you will be using. Pastels tended to be very popular in years gone by, but it will not be enough to go for all shades under the sun, else your house will look like a veritable paint box. Pick a few key hues and make them a focal point for walls and upholstery. However, be careful. If you are going for a Regency look, for example, you will need to combine colours with intricate patterns in order to keep the visually rich ensemble that is representative of the period. So consider your colour scheme along side any motifs, prints and decorative patterns that you will need to incorporate.
Invest in furniture
One of the most important things you should spend money on when conceiving a period-syle interior design is the furniture. Even just one arresting item in the centre of the room can instantly bellow Baroque, serve as a Gothic giveaway or be reminiscent of Regency. The best thing is that you don't even have to cough up your inheritance - or indeed your dowry - to get your hands on pieces. Replica mahogany furniture can look just as fantastic, yet cost a fraction of the amount. For a sitting room, what about a stunning chaise longue, or in the bedroom, have you considered an antiquated dressing screen? A beautiful, antique cabinet in the bathroom or perhaps an intricately upholstered footstool in the sitting room will instantly let people know your house has not come out of an Ikea catalogue - or indeed the 21st century. Similarly, just one eye-catching piece of artwork or a large, cleverly-positioned mirror reminiscent of the era will help to make it obvious what style you are going for.
Once you have a great colour scheme and a few pieces of magnificent furniture, it's the last few hints and suggestions that will tie the look together. What about an oriental rug or cushions with Asian detailing, reminiscent of tokens that wealthier members of society might have brought back from their travels to far away colonies? Have you considered the pots and pans you have around the kitchen? Copper pots were bang on-trend if you're going for post-Edwardian. Beautiful candlesticks can be another welcome addition, as electricity will certainly not have existed in the capacity that it does today all those years ago. Besides, in a sitting room, candlelight can create the perfect ambiance to wind down, while in the bedroom it may help you to relax before going to sleep after a long day.