Ever wished you could channel your inner Victorian-era enthusiast and decorate your place with all the frills and finery of the time? You’ve come to the right place. Achieving an authentic Victorian house interior design aesthetic in your own home is easier than you might think. All it takes is a little know-how and a few key touches here and there to transport yourself back to the days of horse-drawn carriages and afternoon tea.
In this article, DeCasa Collections will present tips and tricks to help you nail the Victorian vibe. We’ve got you covered, from patterned wallpapers and dark wood accents to plush upholstery and decorative accouterments galore. By the time you’ve incorporated a few of these elements into your decor, your space will look like it was plucked straight from the pages of history. So grab your calling cards, straighten your corset, and let’s get started, shall we? The Victorian era awaits!
What Defines the Victorian Interior Design Esthetic
The Victorian era in interior design spanned from 1837 to 1901, coinciding with the reign of Queen Victoria. Some key characteristics define this opulent and lavish design style.
Rich, dark colors. Deep red, green, and blue hues were popular, as were jewel tones like ruby and sapphire. These dramatic colors were often used for walls, upholstery, and carpets.
Ornate decor. The Victorian style featured intricate patterns, embellishments, and an abundance of accessories. Think carved wood furniture, stained glass, decorative tiles, and wallpaper with elaborate prints. Rooms were filled with curiosities, knickknacks, and objects d’art.
Floral influence: Florals were a major motif on wallpaper, upholstery, carpets, curtains, and accessories. Patterns incorporated roses, lilies, chrysanthemums, and other flowers, symbolizing nature, beauty, and romance.
Tufted furniture: Overstuffed armchairs, sofas, and lounge chairs with deep button tufting, rolled arms, and wooden trim were popular and created an inviting look. Velvet and brocade were preferred upholstery fabrics.
Natural light: Large windows, bay windows, and skylights were used to maximize natural light. Patterned curtains, drapes, shades, and shutters helped control light and create an intimate ambiance.
The hallmarks of Victorian design—a richness of color, love of ornamentation, and hints of nature—came together to create opulent, cozy, stylish, yet whimsical interiors. By incorporating some of these elements into your home, you, too, can achieve an authentic Victorian look and vibe.
Incorporating Antiques and Vintage Furnishings
You’ll want to hunt for antiques and vintage pieces from the era to get an authentic Victorian vibe in your home.
Look for ornate, dark wood furniture like intricately carved chairs, velvet couches, and clawfoot tables. Oak, Mahogany, and rosewood were popular, often featuring curved lines, spindles, and reliefs. Check estate sales, auctions, and antique stores to find original Victorian furnishings in good condition. Quality reproductions can also work well if that’s not in your budget.
Victorian lighting included gas lamps, candle sconces, and early electric fixtures with decorative shades. Search for converted gas lamps, brass or crystal chandeliers, wall sconces, and table and floor lamps with fringed silk or lace shades for ambient light.
Don’t forget accents that bring the space together! Look for vintage oil paintings in gilded frames, antique clocks, glass vases, porcelain figurines, and stuffed taxidermy. Framed botanical prints, star charts, and world maps also make great wall art.
Layer in plush Persian rugs, embroidered table linens, lace curtains, and velvet throws. Include a variety of greenery like ferns, palms, and orchids. And fill decorative bowls with items from the era, like antique keys, postage stamps, spectacles, or watches.
By thoughtfully combining high-quality antiques, vintage-inspired reproductions, and the right decorative touches, you’ll have an interior with all the elegance and opulence of the Victorian age. With time and patience, you can craft an authentic Victorian home perfect for you.
Using Patterned Wallpaper and Rich Colors
To achieve an authentic Victorian interior design style in your home, rich colors and patterned wallpaper are a must. The Victorians loved their bold patterns and dark, saturated hues.
Wallpaper was all the rage during the Victorian era, with intricate floral patterns, flocking, and embossed designs. Choose a colorful patterned wallpaper with a botanical or floral print for an accent wall or room for an authentic look. William Morris’s designs from brands like Morris & Co. and Sanderson are classic. Apply the wallpaper to just one wall to create a dramatic focal point.
The Victorians were not afraid of dark, rich colors. Colors like burgundy, navy, forest green, and eggplant were popular for walls, upholstery, and accents. Consider painting your walls a deep shade of red, green, or blue for a dramatic look. You can also incorporate dark colors through upholstery, curtains, rugs, and accessories. The Victorians also prized Mahogany and rosewood, so wood accents and furnishings in these tones will complete the look.
Another signature of Victorian design was pattern mixing and layering. Combining complementary patterns and prints of different scales in the same room was common. For example, you might pair a large-scale trellis wallpaper with a Persian-inspired rug, striped upholstery fabric, and a paisley throw pillow. The key is to choose patterns with similar color palettes so they work together harmoniously.
A few final touches will make your Victorian room design complete:
- Ornate lighting fixtures like chandeliers or wall sconces with decorative shades.
- Heavy, draped curtains made of plush velvet or damask fabric.
- A fireplace – if you don’t have a working one, consider adding an antique-style fireplace mantel.
- Natural elements like taxidermy, a globe, or a terrarium.
- A tufted sofa, settee, or armchair upholstered in a rich fabric like velvet, silk, or damask.
- Portraits and still life paintings in gilded frames.
- Decorative accessories like vases, candlesticks, mirrors, clocks, etc.
By layering in dark, dramatic colors, opulent patterns, and ornate furnishings and accents, you’ll have an authentically Victorian interior space in no time.
You now have valuable tips and tricks to get that coveted authentic Victorian house look in your home. Start by choosing a color palette of rich, deep hues like burgundy, navy, and forest green. Layer in pattern through wallpaper, rugs, upholstery, and drapery fabrics. Include dark wood accents and antique-inspired furniture with lots of ornate details. Accessorize with items that evoke the era, like oil lamps, taxidermy, and gilded mirrors. Finally, display personal items and collectibles that showcase your interests and hobbies. With the right combination of colors, patterns, furnishings, and accessories, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a Victorian interior style that is uniquely you.