The Victorian Decorating Style

Victorian houses in Notting Hill in London

The Victorian era ran from 1837 until 1901 and it was a time of great change, which is reflected in the Victorian decor.

While some elements of Victorian interior design would seem stuffy and claustrophobic in some homes, modern Victorian style has come into fashion since the world has moved away from the more minimalist styles that were popular a decade or so ago.

The word that may immediately jump to your mind when thinking about Victorian style is “eclectic”. The Victorian home took a “more is more” approach to interior decorating as a way of showcasing their homeowners’ wealth and status as well as their personal style.

The Victorians were fans of mixing different historical styles as well as displaying as much elaborate ornamentation as possible. And you can use the hallmarks of Victorian interior design ideas to create a modern Victorian home.

Victorian style

Victorian style – colours

In the earlier part of the Victorian era, the dominant colours were dark jewel tones, such as emerald green, navy blue, and burgundy. And these are the colours that most people associate with the period. In the latter part of the Victorian era, however, lighter pastels and bright colours much like the Rococo style furniture by Homes Direct 365 became popular in Victorian decor (potentially because of the advent of gas lighting that wouldn’t stain the interior of a room).

Victorian style – fabrics

The industrial revolution included innovations in the dying, printing, and weaving of fabrics, and this led people to include these textural elements in Victorian interior design. Analine dyes could create stronger colours and these were celebrated in new weaves and prints.

Victorian style classical drawing room

Throughout the home, these fabrics could be seen in heavy drapes around the windows, throws on chairs and sofas, and elaborately embroidered cushions.

Globalisation and Victorian style

Exploring the world became a passion during the Victorian era and this is reflected in the Victorian decor. They were particularly fascinated with the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Asian culture. Elements of these cultures can be seen in the Victorian style of interior design ideas.

Victorian style movements

The Victorian era was a time of creativity and innovation and there was a wealth of different art styles that were born during this period. For example, arts and crafts movement, the Victorian aesthetic movement, and the rococo style. These art movements can be seen in the eclectic options for Victorian furniture that have that typical Victorian charm.

Victorian wall decoration

Wall decoration was an important element of Victorian interior design. Wallpaper was a popular addition to many Victorian homes, and typically included elaborate patterns featuring floral, vine, and leaf elements. Painting walls was also a popular choice, with many Victorian homeowners using faux woodgrain or even marble designs.

Wall art was also very popular in Victorian decor and the “gallery wall” which featured a range of photographs and prints is especially iconic of the time.

Victorian flooring choices

Victorian homes had wooden floors but their floors weren’t immune from the elaboration typical of the Victorian era.

Parquet wood flooring in  stylish flat

Parquet wood patterns were popular as were elaborately patterned woven rugs to add warmth and texture. Later in the period, tiles also became popular and these typically had a repeating geometric design.

Victorian decor

Victorian interior design would not be as iconic without the Victorian decor. Victorian homes were packed full of ornaments on every surface available. The Victorians didn’t think of this as cluttered but instead as a way of showing off their good taste, wealth, and personal style.

Victorian decor included lots of decorative objects and lots of fabrics and drapes of different colours, patterns, and textures. Victorian decor also included greenery as a highlight, in particular ferns and palms.

Ideas for creating a modern Victorian style

Including some elements of Victorian interior design into your home can elevate your style and make it is bang on-trend. With that being said, decorating your interior in an authentic replica of Victorian style wouldn’t work with modern tastes but it is entirely possible to create a modern Victorian interior that will be eye-catching and unique.

The key to creating a modern Victorian interior is to find a balance between a Victorian flair and a more modern style. Because the Victorian design was so eclectic and influenced by such a wide range of art and style movements, there is plenty of scope for including it into different modern styles.

Modern Victorian design – fabrics

Fabrics are a great way of adding texture to an interior and you can take a leaf out of the Victorian’s book by not being afraid of mixing patterns. It can be a good idea to balance a heavily patterned piece with some neutral, light, and modern fabric choices.

Victorian Headboard

You could also re-upholster classic Victorian furniture in a modern fabric or upholster more modern furniture in a Victorian design fabric. And use a mixture of ornate furniture with more minimalist pieces.

Modern Victorian design – wall art

Wall art can show off your personal taste and help to create a truly modern Victorian home. The Victorians were liberal with theirs but to make it more of a modern Victorian take, you could mix modern and traditional art against white walls.

A gallery wall can make a striking addition to modern living and can add a Victorian vibe at the same time. Use a mix of photographs and modern prints with less ornate picture frames to make it more modern Victorian.

Modern Victorian design – prints and colours

One of the best ways to bring a modern Victorian flair to your home is to get bold with prints and colours. Victorian design wallpaper, for example, can work really well when mixed with modern furniture and decor.

Modern Victorian design – lighting

Victorian decor included striking lighting choices. Not all modern lighting will work to bring the room together, especially modern lighting that is designed to be hidden. Instead, choose lighting that is designed to be more of a focal point.

Architectural features

If you already live in a Victorian period home, showcasing the architectural features is a great idea to give it a modern Victorian feel, for example by adding built in bookcases to your alcoves. If you live in a modern home, you can add Victorian style architectural details yourself like an open inglenook fireplace.

The bottom line

Creating a modern Victorian home is the perfect way of showcasing your great taste. The Victorian period had a striking approach to design ideas, many of which will fit well with a modern home. To create a modern Victorian home, mix Victorian influences with fresh and modern design ideas.

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