Victorian interior design guide

Victorian interior design guide

Back to Owner advice

The reign of Queen Victoria was a long one - 63 years in which fashions and styles came and went and travel to far flung destinations such as Japan and India saw exotic influences in interior design.

It was an exciting period for textiles and furniture and it is no surprise that the patterns, colours and styles of this era are still highly desirable in our day and age.

Whether you’re going all out to renovate a period Victorian property to its former glory, or are looking to pepper a modern home with Victorian touches, our style tips below should help you emulate that opulent look.

Pattern

The mass production of wallpaper and textiles during the Victorian period enabled ordinary people to introduce printed pattern and colour into their homes. William Morris was a key figure of this era, and his beautiful designs can still be bought today.

An original button-backed chair or ottoman re-upholstered in these elaborate fabrics makes for a wonderful eye-catching focus piece for a room. Morris’ designs can also be found on wallpaper – the floral patterns in primary colours are as effective today as they were back then. Think about creating a wallpapered accent wall, with the rest of the room decorated in subdued rose pinks, greys or soft greens, colours which are evocative of the period.

Add a touch of Victorian to your modern furniture with William Morris inspired scatter cushions or a large patterned rug.

Furniture

While you may not wish to go all out and invest in original hand-carved Victorian furniture masterpieces, the odd nod to Victorian design is a great way to subtly incorporate the best features of this era into your modern holiday home. The trend was for accessories and furniture to be in abundance, which is perhaps an element you should pare back for the sake of cleaning on changeover days and risk of breakages!

Carved mahogany, oak and walnut furniture was popular, and as a relatively modern era of history you can often pick up pieces which are in need of some TLC on auction websites, antique shops and car boot sales. With some time and patience, they can be brought back to their original glory and are far more authentic than replicas or modern-day equivalents.

Plump, overstuffed chairs, footstools, ottoman’s and chaise longues were a staple of the era and again, these can often be found online.

Walls should be adorned with carved mirrors, frames and lamps to add to that feeling of opulence. A marble fireplace or side table will further enhance the Victorian feel. Marbling was often used on walls or woodwork, but make sure that your home is able to carry this off as it could end up looking out of place.

A single, carefully selected piece of furniture with Victorian influences can make a stunning statement in an otherwise minimalist room.

Take a look at our top tips for designing your holiday property layout for ideas on how to arrange your Victorian-style furniture.

Lighting

A Victorian-style room requires ambient lighting achieved with lots of highly decorative lamps. Of course, if you’re going all out, a ‘Tiffany’ lamp would be a perfect option, adding the vibrant colours so typical of the time.

Chandeliers and wall sconces were popular when gas was the energy source, so electric versions of these would be the ideal modern-day solution. Keep an eye out for details such as gas valve handles which will lend authenticity to your lighting. The key to achieving a harmonious selection is making sure that the fixtures will sit comfortably alongside each other.

Find out how to make your stylish lighting and appliances as economic as possible in our article 'How to save money on your energy bill'.

It’s all in the detail

Victorian homes were all about masses of accessories and ornaments, to the point of being cluttered. This isn't a recommended approach to decorating your holiday home, but you can use carefully selected accessories to enhance that Victorian feel.

Heavy, layered curtains were favoured by the Victorians, which allowed them to flaunt their wealth with luxurious fabrics and patterns. Floor to ceiling curtains in your choice of Victorian print with matching tie backs will make the room feel cosy, or opt for a toned-down version to achieve a more modern look.

Fresh flowers on the table when your guests arrive will not only make your property feel homely, but will also help contribute to the floral, Victorian style.

Other accessories to consider are cast iron wall brackets, ornate toilet roll holders, scroll door handles, polished round knobs, authentic fireside companion sets and street-lamp style lighting for the garden.

If you are in the process of renovating your holiday home and have any questions regarding anything from décor to legislation, our friendly team would be happy to help. Simply give us a call on 01237 459951 or send us a message.

Posted by Clare on 26 April 2017

To get your free comprehensive owner's guide or to talk to one of our local experts