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Creating a Victorian Style

By: Kelly-Rose Bradford - Updated: 1 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Victorian Style Victorian Period Gothic

The Victorian period spanned from 1837 to 1901, and saw many styles in both fashion and interior design go in and out of vogue. What we consider 'Victorian' style is, in the main, an amalgamation of the looks and style of many different periods prior to the mid 1900s and early 20th century; for example, Gothic and Medieval influences are clearly apparent in many examples of 'High Victorian' interior design.


Dark wood, heavy, ornately carved and embossed pieces of furniture were prominent in Victorian homes - and not just the gentry houses and stately homes. The Victorians also liked to display furniture collected on their travels, so oriental and African influences were prevalent in their homes - tribal masks, animal skin rugs, ebonised furniture and chinoiserie, for example being extremely popular.

The Victorians also loved clutter - rooms would be fit to bursting with over stuffed chairs, settees, wooden whatnots, display cases and enormous over-mantles. By today's more minimalist styles, the look could be considered overpowering, so instead of filling your space from top to bottom with Victoriana, look out for one or two pieces to make a statement with, rather than going for full on faithful reproduction!

Soft Furnishing

The Victorians didn't skimp on their window dressings. In towns, many houses would have blinds, lace curtains and heavy velvet drapes, topped with elaborate swags, valances and tie backs. The Victorian style of window dressing is probably one of the easiest looks to copy in the modern home as the swagged and valanced 'look' is still very much in vogue and easy to purchase on the high street.

Bear in mind though, the Victorians kept their houses dark, due in part to relying on gas lamps and candles for light - heavy window dressings in a modern home could impede natural light coming in - so as usual with period style, consider the adage that less is more!


Scrubbed and painted floorboards are a Victorian style feature that has stood the test of time - many homeowners choose stripped and varnished floors over fitted carpets in modern homes. In Victorian houses, floors were painted and rugs were used to add interest and warmth. Hallways would often be decorated with richly patterned floor tiles, or black and white checkerboard effect designs, and in grand and stately homes, marble would adorn areas where visitors were received.

These days, a good quality floorboard effect laminate can replicate the floorboard look if your boards are beyond renovation, or you live in a modern concrete floored house. The use of oriental rugs will add another faithful Victorian vibe!

Decorative Items

The Victorians loved knick-knacks: ornaments, taxidermy, curiosities, trinkets from foreign lands...browse junk and antique shops for small items to display on your shelves and mantles. At the latter end of the period, photography became available to the masses and families would visit studios or have portraits taken at home that they would then display in their parlours.

Have Fun!

Remember your home should be a fun and comfortable place to be! Don't buy items that you consider so precious you can't bear people to sit on them, use them or have children within ten metres of them! Some things belong solely in museums or display cabinets - not family homes!

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