5 Crucial Elements of Victorian Style

Minimalist. Sleek. Bright and airy. All the hallmarks of modern style.

Not a fan? Victorian style is the perfect antidote, the complete antithesis of modern decor.

For all of you who are anti-modern decorating and all for romantic, cozy, overstuffed spaces, this post’s for you. You’ll learn the ins and outs of Victorian decor to get your home back into another era, one where you feel truly comfortable. (And if you’re torn between styles, we’ll help with that too!)

Victorian-era decorating was the polar opposite of today’s modern styles. It was a time of heavy, ornate furnishings, oversized everything, and a penchant for knickknacks. The resulting style is romantic, complex, warm, and dramatic, dripping with opulence and excess; basically, enough to make any minimalist shudder.

Colors

No bright and airy rooms here. Victorian style is characterized by rich, dark jewel tones: deep reds, blues, greens, purples, golds, even black. It’s heavy on the wood, too, with dark paneling and wood floors and accents in mahogany and walnut.

Dining Room by McQuin Partnership Interior Design
Dining Room by Jon Andersen Interiors
Aquatica Purescape Freestanding Acrylic Bathtub
Home Theater by James McDonald Associate Architects, PC
Living Room by Cochrane Design
Opulence and warmth

The heavier and richer, the better; that’s a crucial element of Victorian style. Marble, sensuous fabrics like velvet and damask, rugs and tapestries, drapery and layered window treatments, and plush upholstery all add to the warmth, richness, and – on a practical note – overall comfort and coziness of a Victorian room.

Bedroom by Katherine Shenaman Interiors
Bathroom by Just Joh
Living Room by Modifica Interiors LLC

 

Ornate details, including moldings, stained glass, carvings, and arched lancet windows (with similar silhouettes on furniture) abound in typical Victorian decor.

Entry by Esther Hershcovich
Staircase by Rikki Snyder
Dining Room by James McDonald Associate Architects, PC
Like other elements, Victorian lighting is warm and inviting; think wrought-iron chandeliers, fireplaces, sconces, lamps, and lots of flickering candlelight (easily replicated with vintage bulbs).
Staircase by Cravotta Interiors
Kitchen by Isler Homes
Pattern & texture

Again, heavy and detailed is best in this style. Wallpaper, drapery, and other textiles should be intricately patterned and textured – if you want to touch it, you’ve achieved your desired effect.

Bathroom by JMA INTERIOR DESIGN
Bedroom by Joey Leicht Design Inc.
Living Room by White Pebble Interiors
Bedroom by Dallas Design Group, Interiors
Furniture

Victorian furnishings are – surprise! – substantially weighty. Furniture and fixtures are oversized and often placed close together, which delicately straddles the fine line between overcrowded and cozy. Chairs and sofas are overstuffed and comfortable.

Victoria and Albert Cheshire Clawfoot Tub
Bedroom by Dallas Design Group, Interiors
Bathroom by Chuck Morris Coastal Homes
Living Room by James McDonald Associate Architects, PC
Accessories

In accordance with the characteristic excess, Victorian-era decorating involves hefty accessorizing – statues, bowls, lamps, and assorted ornaments on nearly every available surface. (Take time to consider this step; again, you can cross from “warm and romantic” to “ready for the next episode of Hoarders” with just a couple of baubles.)

Dining Room by Suzanne Bellehumeur
Photo by Marilynn Kay Photography
Victorian meets modern

If you’re not a diehard Victorian lover but want to heat up your decor with a combo style, good news: Victorian style can easily be modernized. Simply tone it down – include the colors in smaller doses against a lighter backdrop; carefully choose a couple of Victorian-inspired furnishings and fixtures to offset a more contemporary design; cut down on the accessories (or leave them out entirely).

Dining Room by Rikki Snyder
Bathroom by Panageries
Living Room by House of Locations
What’s your style?

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