The Victorian design style emerged during the Victorian era in the 1830’s to the 1900’s. The style is defined by the indulgence in grand excess of ornamentation, as opposed to the simple Edwardian style. The Victorian design style is characterized by orderliness and embellishment, with rooms idealistically divided where public and private space is carefully separated. In a Victorian home, every room is very elaborately decorated. During the Victorian era, many design styles developed, including the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles.
Victorian homes in the present day setting represent an eclectic mix of styles from the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau, with influences from Europe. The look is generally luxurious and dramatic.
Victorian interior design is known for its rich, dark colors – usually burgundy, plum, ruby, emerald, forest green, and navy. To give the look a feel of royalty and indulgence, a touch of gold is added. The right balance of color and texture between the walls, molding, ceiling, and woodwork is considered when selecting a Victorian color scheme. In Victorian homes, the choice of color depends on the use of the room. Hallways are painted gray to give emphasis to the bolder colors of the surrounding rooms.
Common wallpapers for Victorian interiors often have damask, large floral, or bird motifs on water silk paper. Embossed paper is used on ceilings and panels to counterbalance the busy wallpapers on the walls. Otherwise, plain, flat painted walls also work brilliantly and can create a charismatic vibe. Most Victorian homes have marbleized walls and woodwork. It is also common to apply wet plaster that resembles the blocks of stones found in homes during the Victorian era. Finishes that were either marbled or grained are usually found on doors and woodwork.
Decorated ceilings are common in Victorian interiors and they are painted three shades lighter than the color of the walls. Mid-toned floor boards or parquet flooring are complemented by large rugs or patterned carpets. The carpet should be smaller than the width and length of the floor to leave a border around the edges to show polished floor boards.
Victorian furniture pieces do not have one dominant style as they are mostly modified from many styles from various time periods. Victorian furniture pieces are often influenced by the Gothic, Tudor, Elizabethan, English Rococo, and Neoclassical styles. Detailed woodwork is found on chairs and sofas, which are usually button-backed.
Marble-top tables are normally the focal points. To perfectly embody the Victorian concept, the rooms are ornately decorated, to create fuss and clutter. Victorian homes are represented by crowded rooms.
A home can still achieve the functional contemporary appeal, combined with the classic lavishness of the Victorian style by using bright, clean colors to create a sense of optimism and calmness. This will bring a balanced contrast to the ornate and cluttered furniture and will add to the dramatic flair. Today’s trend emphasizes fewer colors. Most modern Victorian homes have two or three colors, as opposed to the usual five paint colors. To add more practicality, wallpapers can have simpler color schemes to allow for a wider range of decoration and for easier upgrading.
For the old world and gothic feel, highly decorative lamps are used. One example is a Tiffany lamp, which adds a splash of color into the room. Atmospheric lights are most appropriate for dining, using chandeliers, wall sconces, and candles.