Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Decorating Victorian Style Defined

by Nicole Maddox

The Victorian era was a period of prosperity, optimism and richness. Named due to Victoria occupying the throne during this time, England experienced a huge amount of growth and increase in wealth as did the surrounding areas. This richness inspired an elegant and ornamental decorating style that aimed to boast ones wealth. As Britain experienced the industrial revolution, Victorian style and decor became more accessible to the middle class.
If you’re looking to decorate your home or a room in the Victorian style or add a Victorian flourish or accent, but don’t know where to start, don’t fret...some helpful tips are listed below:
- Colors: Victorian colors can include light colors, however, most Victorian decor includes very rich colors, although subdued and warm.  Colors may include shades like forest greens, wine colors, rust, purples, browns and golds. 
  • Start with a flooring that that represents the ornate look of the Victorian Era. If you opt for hardwood flooring, most traditional wood will work well (as long as you stick to darker or richer colors such as cherry) with the overall look once the room is complete, however, true Victorian style would dictate a hardwood pattern such as a checkerboard or diamond pattern. If you go with a carpet, stay away from really light colors and use a  cut pile carpet or dense, thick carpeting. Oriental carpets/rugs are perfect additions to your Victorian Flooring. A popular Victorian option for wet areas such as a kitchen or bathroom may include black and white tile patterns.
  • Hand-carved ornate dark wood furniture, such as cherry with fabrics such as velvets and embroidered materials are perfect for a Victorian room. Credenzas, side tables and coffee tables with marble tops or accents are also nice additions to this style of decor. Victorian Era furniture was/is often completed with details such as lace doilies, and embellished accent pillows.
  • Wall and window coverings are also very important elements of the Victorian Decor. If you are using paint, be sure to use a Victorian color, but also add a faux pattern or texture, as texture was a very important part of Victorian decor in general. If you decide on a wall paper, pick a floral pattern that also fits the Victorian color palette. A Victorian room should be finished with a crown molding. Window coverings can be fashioned from an embroidered fabric or velvet material. These fabrics may be too heavy depending on selected wall covering and furniture. If this is the case a lighter material such as silk or lace may be used. Braided rope, or embellished ribbon should be used as a tie back.
  • Accent pieces used to finish your Victorian Style Room may include artwork, such as oil paintings of the era (maidens, children, landscapes) framed in dark wood or gold, tapestries, and sculptures. Crystal pieces, ornate candles/candle holders and ambient lighting/lamps with beaded shades and Tiffany style or stained glass lamps will finish the room with an added richness completing your Victorian Look.
As an added word of caution, although the Victorian look is one that includes rich colors, texture and pattern, which creates a beautiful look, beware that you can easily overdo this look and end up with a room that is gaudy and overdone.
Use your own taste and instincts with what works together and you will have a room or house that will be enjoyed for years to come. Good luck and happy decorating!

Nicole Maddox is a Freelance writer, passionate about retro design/decor and is currently the Managing Member of, a division of Mad Market, LLC.

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