Exquisite Elegance: Unveiling the Best Victorian Decor
Step back in time and enter a world of opulence and elegance as we explore the best Victorian decor ideas. From rich shades and ornate furniture to intricate textiles and mesmerizing chandeliers, this style is all about embracing the past while infusing it with a modern twist. Get ready to be captivated by the sheer beauty and grandeur of Victorian design as we delve into its iconic elements and show you how to create a truly stunning and timeless home.
Enhance your home with wood paneling and flooring
Have you heard of the Dado paneling technique? It's a great way to incorporate a Victorian touch into your beautiful home.
Victorian homes often utilized wainscoting to introduce natural wood elements into the house. This addition brings the beauty of natural materials inside, symbolizing our evolution to live harmoniously in style.
Another excellent option for incorporating wood into your home is Parquet flooring. This flooring system looks flawless and exudes elegance. It creates an ambiance reminiscent of Professor Higgins' home from the movie "My Fair Lady," where Audrey Hepburn's character resided.
Check out our article on Japanese Interior Design to learn more.
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Add Midcentury crown moldings for an elegant touch
Crown moldings and intricate wall and ceiling detailing are prominent features of Victorian architecture. It's rare to find a Victorian home without some form of precise decorative arts.
You can easily incorporate these features into modern homes, Asian interior designs, or even country houses. By adding delicate patterns along beams and walls, you raise the standard of architecture and interiors. This subtle touch adds a hint of wealth and exquisite taste to your space.
Read more about Mid Century Modern Interior Design to discover further inspiration.
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Textiles and window treatments make a difference
Textiles play a significant role in Victorian interior design. With simple touches of inexpensive fabric, you can transform a home from plain to elegant.
Begin by considering window treatments. Victorian homes often use long and thick window coverings in basic colors. One layer is pulled to the sides to allow light in, while another layer, typically a velveteen upholstery in a bold color, adds texture to your design scheme.
Speaking of texture, think about the fabrics used for sofas and ottomans. In most Victorian homes, the colors of these furniture pieces go hand in hand with the curtains, tying the room together. Whether it's the sitting room, the dining room, or the bedroom, these textiles add a special touch.
Furthermore, consider the use of linen. Textiles contribute significantly to the Victorian aesthetic, emphasizing elegance and opulence. Silks and fur go a long way in creating a beautiful space.
Lastly, when it comes to home decorating, hang tapestries along the walls around expensive paintings and furniture pieces. They can help create a focal point in your room without overtly displaying your wealth.
Read more about incorporating modern interior design style in your home in our article on 9 Ways To Incorporate Modern Interior Design Style In Your Home.
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Embrace tasteful clutter for a Victorian ambiance
For Victorians with wealth and time, nothing was too extravagant or tasteless. Their homes were filled with extravagant statements and intended to impress high society. A well-placed suit of armor or sword could serve as a subtle focal point in a Victorian-style home. For those on a budget, vases, throws, cushions, and absinthe bottles can create the desired Victorian ambiance. Stuffed animals, old pianos, and oil paintings of individuals stroking a cat are also must-haves. A bare room was deemed ghastly in the eyes of a well-bred Victorian.
Walls cluttered with pictures, clocks, candelabras, sticks, display cases, and natural curiosities epitomize the Victorian style. According to The Victorian Emporium, Victorian homes showcased natural curiosities, glass ornaments, and elaborate pieces. For instance, one might find items such as a leather glove on a stand, fossils in a glass box, an iridescent butterfly, volcano rocks, a bottle of sand from the Galapagos Islands, and even a vampire cape. Many of these items may be out of reach for the modern consumer, but it is possible to fill your Victorian-themed home with unique pieces using your imagination.
Dress your windows in style
Wealthy Victorian homes used large curtains to block out social concerns. Despite the dirt and pollution of the industrial revolution, big curtains were still favored for their opulent appearance.
While heavy-duty drapery kept out the chill, their luxuriousness made them a hit. According to Homestyle, to achieve a Victorian vibe in your living room, imagine a curtainless window as a sponge cake base without the cream, jam, and assorted toppings. Begin with an under-curtain made of white muslin, silk, or lace, add a contrasting border, and top it off with flowing velvet or silk that gracefully pools on the floor. French rods, valances, and cornices are optional, but no self-respecting Victorian would go without them. For an authentic touch, replace the under-curtain with a canvas blind featuring a natural scene and trimmed fringe.
A well-appointed mantelpiece adds charm
Fireplaces in the Victorian age served not only as a means of heating the house but also as a focal point for gathering and discussion. If you aim to achieve a Victorian-themed home, pay close attention to your mantel.
While genuine Victorian mantels are rare and expensive today, modern reproductions can provide a solution. Victorian mantelpieces were typically made of oak or marble. Nowadays, cast iron replicas are popular, especially since open fireplaces can pose environmental hazards. These reproductions go well with gas or electric fireplaces and still capture the essence of a real mantel. Victorians used mantels to display rare and valuable trinkets, such as original handwritten copies of famous literary works or other treasured possessions. While acquiring such treasures may be difficult today, you can still fill your Victorian-themed mantel with curiosities from far-flung and exotic places to spark conversation with your guests.
Add gold accents and chandeliers for a bold touch
When embracing the Victorian style, going bold is essential. Embrace your inner "Vegas" and adorn your home with gold accents, brass fixtures, and lavish chandeliers. The Victorians loved their bling and over-the-top ornamentation. As Wales Online explains, capturing that elusive 19th-century ambiance in your interiors doesn't require excessive effort. With a few select purchases and a love for the style, you can achieve a classical taste.
Consider a chandelier made of brass, gold, and crystal to make a statement. Assorted paintings with gold-gilded frames also add to the desired effect. In the kitchen, a Belfast sink finished with brass taps can serve as a conversation starter. Don't forget about an old-fashioned, gold-plated telephone.
If you want to maintain a contemporary overall theme in your home while still achieving the Victorian look, consider adding a freestanding style bath with claw feet. These baths can be a statement piece while harmonizing with your modern aesthetic. For an authentic touch, opt for copper or cast iron materials, polish them to a high sheen, and fill them with warm water for a truly luxurious experience.
Combining rich shades with lighter tones
Victorians favored a rich color palette inspired by jewel tones. Deep reds, maroons, dark greens, blues, and browns evoked a sense of abundance, status, and wealth. For a modern twist, balance these intense hues with lighter shades to achieve a harmonious look. In this dressing room, a royal blue wall is brightened by contrasting white painted woodwork, while a glossy marble floor and countertop add a touch of luxuriousness.
Embrace weighty, ornate furniture
When it comes to Victorian interiors, size matters. Victorians loved large, weighty furniture pieces, as demonstrated by this oversized bed. The intricately carved detailing and half-poster style of this solid wood bed make it a simple way to incorporate Victorian influence into a modern home. The decorative display of Victorian hand mirrors and the pleated skirt bedspread further enhances the traditional look.
Make a statement with statement furniture
Victorian furniture was known for its high quality and craftsmanship. While most pieces were brown and wooden in appearance, they possessed a unique charm. From imposing dressers to elegant chaise lounges, the furniture of this era, much like a well-dressed dandy, was made to be admired. As Regent Antiques explains, Victorian furniture exuded an aura of artisan quality and craftsmanship when factory-made and mass-produced pieces were commonplace. During the Victorian era, furniture was hand-crafted, and the idea of self-assembled or DIY furniture would have been met with disdain.
If you're considering filling your home with Victorian statement furniture, be prepared for somber and formal appearances. These pieces draw inspiration from various styles but share common themes. Preferred woods for Victorian furniture were mahogany, rosewood, and walnut, which were shaped, stained, and carved to create intricate designs. Chairs often featured patterned upholstery and had a horseshoe-shaped design. The Victorians had a fondness for frills and anything with tassels. Other popular features included inlaid panels, animal motifs, and elaborately shaped drawer pulls. To make a true statement, invest in well-built Victorian furniture.
Create a modern Victorian gallery wall
Gallery walls have stood the test of time and continue to be a beloved trend today. They were just as popular in the 19th century as they are now. Take an empty wall and fill it with carefully curated paintings, drawings, and prints from both periods to achieve a stylish blend. Mix and match frame styles, incorporating both simple modern black frames and ornate gilded or wooden ones for added visual interest.
Modernize period homes with contemporary light installations
Juxtaposing period architecture with contemporary lighting can create a modern Victorian look. For example, this brass chandelier with matching shades pays homage to the original candlelit chandeliers popular in the 19th century. It also draws attention to high ceilings and decorative moldings, updating the traditional style of the home for a unique and striking appearance. Combine this with other contemporary light features throughout the space for a cohesive look.
Celebrate Victorian and modern culture through art
What better way to honor Victorian and modern culture than through art? Gallery walls are timeless and remain popular today. Fill an empty wall with a carefully curated selection of paintings, drawings, and prints from both periods. The combination of Victorian and modern works creates a blend that adds character and style to any space. For added visual interest, mix and match different frame styles, such as modern black frames and ornate gilded or wooden ones.
Designing a modern Victorian bathroom
While discussing bathrooms, it's worth considering the sink style. Square-shaped porcelain pedestal sinks with ridged edges, like the one featured in this bathroom, are distinctively Victorian. Pay attention to the faucets as well, as they play a significant role in achieving the overall style. The old metal bowl mirror, wall-mounted candle holder, and dark wood floor further reinforce the Victorian influence. And let's not forget the immensely popular blue and white wallpaper of that era.
Highlight your antique collection
Why let your family heirlooms gather dust in the back of a cupboard? Take inspiration from the Victorians and turn your clutter into a stylish decorative feature. In this kitchen, elegant chintz china plates and serving vessels are beautifully combined with everyday crockery and showcased on an open shelving unit. The result is a comforting and welcoming space that tastefully expresses your family history and personal style.
Add an antique mirror to elevate your space
Victorians were vain, but they upheld standards. No respectable Victorian would be caught without a well-groomed mustache or perfectly styled hair. Consequently, lounging around in sweatpants or pajamas was inconceivable to them. This vanity mindset is the reason why large, ornamental mirrors were popular during that era. By incorporating a big, old Victorian mirror in your space, you can achieve a more authentic Victorian look.
As Westland London explains, typical Victorian mirrors were grand, elaborate, and striking. They combined styles from different time periods and were not solely focused on glitz and glamour. They were often made of rosewood or mahogany. Adding a Victorian-style mirror to your home can help you stay ahead of current trends. Look for mirrors adorned with cherubs, gargoyles, nymphs, flowers, or even deer.
Victorian designers pushed boundaries
Victorian interior designers were known for their innovative and unconventional approaches. According to The Victorian Web, some of the top designers of that time included Owen Jones, William Morris, and Walter Crane. Owen Jones, an influential architect and tastemaker, published the "Grammar of Ornament" in 1856. This publication showcased intricate patterns and designs from various cultural eras, igniting new trends.
William Morris also played a significant role in Victorian design. He believed in the philosophy of "having nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Renowned as the most celebrated designer of the 19th century, Morris emphasized handcrafted pieces over the popular industrial trend of mass production. He believed that industrial processes resulted in poor-quality items. Morris's wallpaper designs were heavily detailed and beautiful, with over 50 unique designs created during his lifetime. These Victorian-style wallpapers captivate the eyes, enchant the senses, and stand in stark contrast to plain white walls.
Embrace the beauty of florals
Victorian interiors showcased a love for floral patterns in various forms. Floral wallpaper, framed prints, engraved furniture, and even bedside bouquets were highly favored. Elaborate botanical patterns were as popular then as they are now, making them the perfect decorative element for a modern Victorian interior.
Victorian decor and the maximalist aesthetic
While minimalism has gained popularity in recent years, some may find themselves yearning for ornate, extravagant Victorian interiors. As History explains, the Victorian era produced a mix of styles during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. However, one common thread was the passion for filling every available space with eye-catching splendor. Victorians viewed minimalist homes as a crime. To lounge on a silk and gold-trimmed chaise lounge while reading "The Picture of Dorian Gray," one needed to surround themselves with beautiful objects that cultivated the mind and nurtured the soul.
As designer Maiya Kathryn Dacey said, "The Victorian era is symbolic of what was at the time accessible extravagance, where 'more is more is more' must have been the mantra." With the rich growing wealthier and the rise of an affluent middle-class, people desired to transform their homes into museums that showcased their taste, wealth, and experiences. Victorian living spaces were a reflection of their inhabitants, and this form of expression continues to resonate today. That may explain why many of us choose to incorporate Victorian design elements into our homes.
Display your art collection with a modern Victorian aesthetic
What good is a collection of family heirlooms if they're hidden away in storage? Take a page out of the Victorians' book and turn your clutter into a stylish decorative feature. In this kitchen, exquisite china plates and serving dishes are combined with everyday crockery and artfully showcased on open shelving. This creates a welcoming and comforting atmosphere while tastefully expressing your family history and personal style.
Contrast period architecture with modern lighting
For a modern Victorian look, juxtapose period architecture with contemporary lighting fixtures. This brass chandelier, adorned with matching shades, pays homage to the original candlelit chandeliers of the 19th century. It draws the eye upward, highlighting the high ceilings and decorative moldings. When combined with other contemporary light fixtures, it modernizes the traditional style of the home, resulting in a unique and striking aesthetic.
Combine Victorian and modern styles through art
What better way to celebrate both Victorian and modern culture than through art? Gallery walls are a timeless trend that remains popular today. Fill an empty wall with carefully curated paintings, drawings, and prints from both periods to achieve a stylish blend. Mix and match frame styles, combining simple modern black frames with ornate gilded or wooden ones, for added visual interest and to create a unique gallery wall.
Design a modern Victorian bathroom with a square porcelain pedestal sink
When considering bathroom design, it's essential to think about the sink style. Square-shaped porcelain pedestal sinks with ridged edges, like the one featured in this charming bathroom, evoke a distinctive Victorian feel. Pay attention to the faucets as well, as they play a significant role in achieving the overall style. The old metal bowl mirror, wall-mounted candle holder, and dark wood floor further enhance the Victorian influence. The blue and white wallpaper, a popular choice during the Victorian era, adds an extra touch of authenticity.
Blend period homes with modern light installations
To achieve a modern Victorian look, combine period-style architecture with contemporary lighting fixtures. This brass chandelier, complete with matching shades, offers a modern interpretation of the original candlelit chandeliers popular during the 19th century. This design draws the eye upward, highlighting high ceilings and decorative moldings. By incorporating other contemporary light fixtures throughout the space, you can update the traditional style of your home and create a unique and captivating ambiance.
Victorian decor is all about embracing the grandeur and elegance of a bygone era. From infusing wood paneling and flooring to dressing your windows like a supermodel, each element contributes to creating a truly magnificent space. Don't be afraid to go bold with gold accents and chandeliers or showcase an antique collection that tells a story. And when it comes to colors, rich shades paired with light tones create a harmonious balance. Victorian designers pushed the envelope and embraced florals in all their forms, leaving us with a maximalist aesthetic that's truly awe-inspiring. So why not create your own modern Victorian haven, full of patterned wallpaper, ornate furniture, and statement-making light installations? Let your imagination run wild and discover the magic of this timeless style.
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