For the modern home lover, the Victorian style might seem impractical, excessive and outdated. But some people aren’t fans of the sleek, minimalistic, bright and airy interiors that the modern and contemporary homes offer. If you still love the cozy, romantic and opulent effect of the Victorian style, there’s no reason not to use it for your own home (given that you have the time and budget).
Victorian interiors typically basically scream luxury in every corner. It features soft and rich colors, lots of ornate details, intricate architectural details, overstuffed furniture, rich velvets and fabrics, and plentiful ornamentation. It originated during the Victorian era during the years between 1837 and 1901, when Britain was under Queen Victoria’s rule. Queen Victoria was known for her luxurious taste that influenced the world of architecture and interior design.
The Industrial Revolution, which happened during the Queen’s rule, has also played a great part in why the Victorian style was widely received. During that time, the effects of technological advancements were felt by a lot of people throughout Europe and the United States. Mass production has been made affordable, thus making household items more accessible to the middle class and other people who can’t afford to invest in decorating their homes before. Households began to decorate with countless items to imitate the style of the aristocracy to show off their status and wealth. If we would go back to their time, the usual comfy yet minimalistic style of today would look distasteful and low-class.
If you would like to adapt the classic royal and luxurious style for your interiors, here are some design tips you shouldn’t miss:
1. Steer clear of bright and vivid colors
The Victorian style is warm and rich, nothing bright and vivid. It’s the opposite of the all-white trend minimalists loved. Use bold jewel tones like deep reds, greens, purples, blues, golds, and even black. Dark, rich paint colors are typically used back then, especially in city houses because of the rampant pollution that stains lighter colored walls. If you prefer something softer and warmer, use rose pinks, lavender, orange, gray, sage, mustard yellow, burgundy or teal. The preferred wood is dark and heavy too, like mahogany and walnut.
2. Use wallpaper
Wallpapers are a big thing for Victorian homes. It’s applied from the skirting board up to the dado rails up the wall, or to a picture near the ceiling. But if your home doesn’t have these architectural details (and if you have no plan to add some), just use wallpapers for the whole room, or install it to one and paint the rest with the nearest color. And remember, the Victorian wallpapers are heavily detailed and patterned. Floral or damask are usually used, while wallpapers that feature birds, leaves and other nature-inspired elements are also common. Most of the wallpapers use red, green, blue or tan accents.
3. Add plush and weighty furnishings
Victorian furnishings are weighty and are usually made of hardwood like mahogany, oak or walnut. They are oversized and usually placed close together. For your upholstery, choose overstuffed and comfortable chaise lounges, button-backed chairs, French couches, and ottomans. Furnishings always have intricate details like carvings, curved edges, and scrolls.
4. Embrace rich, heavy and feminine fabrics
In a Victorian style home, the heavier and richer, the better. Rich fabrics like velvet or heavy silk damask, are highly preferred for curtains and draperies. Toile and chintz that are heavily patterned with floral prints are usually used for cushions and seat covers. Tapestries featuring nature scenes are also common, and it is combined with both paint and wallpaper. Lace is also a popular choice, and it is often found on tables, mantelpieces and seat backs.
5. Install polished flooring
There are different flooring options used for Victorian interiors, but the common thing about them is that they are polished and shiny. Parquet flooring and mid-toned polished floorboards are the most common options for flooring. You may also use matting, tiles, floor cloths or oil cloths, then add carpeting or drugget rug to embellish the floors. Carpets used are usually Venetian and broadloom – whatever you use, it has to have an interesting pattern. It should also be large enough to cover most of the middle of the floor, just leaving a polished border.
6. Make it all about the embellishments
Victorian style decorating involves a lot of accessorizing. For a lot of people today, it means clutter, but to Victorian-era homeowners and Victorian-style lovers, it spells a beautiful home. Tastefully embellish wherever possible using bowls, lamps, statues, flowers, framed pictures and art, souvenirs and assorted ornaments. And don’t settle for simple – go for ornate. When adding throw pillows, don’t settle for a pillow in a bold and pretty color. Use pillow covers with lace, beading or embroidery with tassels and even some tufting.
7. Add highly decorative lights
Mood lighting is very essential to Victorian styled interiors, so add multiple highly decorative lamps to achieve a cozy, soft ambient lighting. The Tiffany lamp was popular during that time, so you may adapt an authentic Tiffany lamp, or a lamp with a design inspired by Tiffany, to help you achieve that elegant Victorian atmosphere in your home.
8. Recycle and upcycle
When converting your home to a Victorian theme, recycling and upcycling is a practical and eco-friendly option. Look out for actual Victorian-era relics or accents from flea markets and garage sales. Search for old architectural features you can buy to decorate your interiors. But if you don’t have the time to do it, search online to find antiques that can surely bring that Victorian feel to your property.