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6 Design Elements of Victorian house interior

Victorian house interior, featuring eclectic and ornamental style, became popular in the nineteenth century.

An Introduction to Victorian Interior Design

victorian house interior is an ornamental and lavish style that represented high status during the Victorian era.

Rooms could contain a mix of historical styles, like pulling decorative ironwork from Gothic revival architecture or fleurs-de-lis drawn from medieval influences for decoration.

This eclectic nature of the design combated the idea that, when it came to Victorian decorating, an undecorated or bare room was an indication of a lack of taste.

Therefore, these highly decorated Victorian rooms contained opulent furnishings, tapestries, patterned wallpaper, rich colors, flowers, and sentimental pictures and drawings.

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A Brief History of Victorian-Era Interior Design

victorian house interior, along with the Victorian era, owes its name to Queen Victoria, who was on the United Kingdom’s throne when this style rose to prominence.

Here are other key points in the timeline of this design style:

Prosperity in the Victorian era

The Victorian era aligns with the reign of the UK’s Queen Victoria and refers to the period between roughly the 1830s and early 1900s.

The Victorian era came on the heels of the Industrial Revolution (from 1760 to around 1840), and throughout the nineteenth century and twentieth century,

technology advancements continued to make it possible for many household items, including decorations, to become cheaply mass-produced.

Opulence among the middle class

With furniture, art, fabric, and decorative arts suddenly accessible to common people, for the first time many middle-class homeowners were able to invest in the decor and design of their residences.

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People stuffed living spaces with beautiful objects—wall art, shelves of trinkets, and furniture—contributing to a “busy” look that became characteristic of Victorian design, particularly in contrast to modern, minimalistic styles.

Emergence of individual style:

More than a simple show of wealth, Victorian-era style was a way people could showcase their own personal tastes and incorporate trends from Asia, Northern Africa, and other continents.

victorian house interior gained popularity because it presented the opportunity to showcase one’s uniqueness and allowed for distinctive design choices.

Kaleidoscope of colors and patterns:

The era was defined by rich colors that came from new painting and dying techniques. Previously, colors were created from vegetable-based dyes, resulting in muted, earthy hues.

With the invention of aniline dyes, the Victorian era featured bold colors that people were eager to use in beautiful plaids, stripes, damask, and florals in the form of wallpapers, curtains, and upholstery.

The Queen Anne style:

One of the popular architectural styles that came from this era was the Queen Anne style, a revived form of architecture from the time of England’s Queen Anne, who ruled from 1702 to 1714.

The style was distinctive in North America for its decorative details, corner towers, expansive porches, and patterned walls. The style evolved from early English designs into a variety of forms and regional variations.

6 Elements of Victorian Interior Design

Rich, dark colors and an abundance of opulent design choices highlight the most important elements of Victorian interior design.

1. Colors:

The early Victorian period featured darker tones like burgundy, ruby red, forest green, navy blue, and deep brown, while the later parts of the era featured brighter hues and pastels.

The era is more closely associated with those darker, more muted colors, which were necessary during that time period when most homes were heated by coal—darker colors hid the effects of the smoke and ash.

2. Furniture:

A single furniture style didn’t dominate the era, but furniture was defined by an excess of ornamentation. Victorian furniture was generally decoratively carved and over-stuffed, with pieces like button-back armchairs, chaise lounges, and ottomans.

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3. Lighting:

Essential to this design style are light fixtures and candles, especially in areas such as dining rooms, living rooms, sitting rooms, and entryways.

Tiffany lamps (with lampshades made of glass) were a popular style of the era for not only table or standing lamps but also for wall sconces and chandeliers.

4. Home decor:

Accessories and decorations are prominently displayed and cover every surface in Victorian interior design.

Examples include a gallery wall of framed pictures, displayed china, souvenirs, vases, and lace doilies, the latter of which could be used on the backs of furniture, on tables, or on mantels.

Additionally, embroidered cushions decorated couches, and potted plants like palms and ferns were popular. Stained glass was also a common way to add color to rooms.

5. Window and wall coverings:

Windows featured heavy fabric drapes and opulent window treatments, such as curtains lined with silk or wool.

Walls were typically covered with the rich, dark paint colors of the era or covered by tapestries or wallpaper with bold floral, leaf, or vine motifs.

Walls were sometimes painted to look like marble or wood-grained finishings.

6. Flooring:

Wood, specifically parquet patterns, is one of the most common flooring of the era.

Other common floor types were matting, floor cloths similar to linoleum, carpeting (including broad loom, Venetian, and reversible), and toward the second half of the era, tiled floors with a repeating geometric design in the middle.

6 Tips for Creating a Modern Victorian Interior

Whether you want to add Victorian style to your modern home or want to update a Victorian-era house, these design tips will help you turn your place into a modern Victorian home:

1. Start with research.

If you’re looking for design inspiration, browse the web to find room examples.

These can give you a sense of what colors, furniture, and decor appeal to you before you start your home interior makeover.

Design ideas can be drawn from other modern Victorian homes or from pictures of classic Victorian living rooms or master bedrooms.

When it comes to interior decorating for modern Victorian style, you have a lot of freedom, so it’s best to plan ahead to remain focused.

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2. Variety is key.

Mix different periods and stylings carefully.

Opt for tasteful embellishments whenever possible, adding embroidery or lace to pieces to add something special, but ensure all choices are well thought out.

Allow yourself to lean into the eclectic nature of the Victorian style,

mixing and matching to find what appeals to you and slowly adding Victorian-style pieces to rooms to see what works well.

Decorating tips can help, but in the end, you will have to find your own home’s balance between the stark interiors of minimalist, modern living and the busy interior of Victorian homes.

3. Embrace color and decorative woodwork.

Color is everywhere in Victorian style, so forgo white walls in favor of richer colors.

If you live in a home with small rooms, consider giving each room its own color scheme.

If you have a modern home with a more open floor plan, a strong accent wall could give the room the boost it needs.

Also, look to add carved wood pieces to your rooms, including mirror frames and picture frames as well as lamps.

4. Upcycle and spend.

The repurposing of old windows, mantels, trims, doors, and decor will lend a Victorian feel to your modern home.

That said, investing in high-quality furniture is key to achieving the feel of an era that was defined by showcasing one’s status and wealth.

5. Use modern (but not too modern) lighting.

Since not all modern lighting will work, try looking for lighting fixtures made in the early or mid-1900s.

Some options could be pieces that feel inspired by midcentury or Scandinavian modern influences, or French fixtures from around the 1930s to the 1960s.

6. Go above and beyond.

If you’re really looking to put in some work, remodel to add architectural details such as built-in bookcases,

crown molding, dado rails (another type of molding), cornices, wainscoting, or paneling, to your rooms.

While complicated to undertake, a remodel can make your overall vision a reality.