Classic Victorian interior decorating ideas fetch premium prices in areas such as San Francisco. Decorating the interiors of period Painted Ladies; or of modern-day reproductions lets a homeowner channel the Victorians; taste for ornamentation and detail. An interior decorated to reflect the love of domesticity associated with the Victorian era can appeal to home buyers seeking an oasis of calm in a busy and sometimes chaotic world.
Ideas for Victorian Interior Decorating
Ornate Furniture – Victorians never used a straight line where a curve could suffice. Dark-stained and intricately carved woodwork on chairs and sofas made design statements out of functional seating. Because some vintage furniture is too heavy and large for many contemporary spaces, homeowners can find bargains when they hunt for antiques. Substantial armoires and cabinets are focal points in a Victorian interior–provided they will fit in non-Victorian-size accommodations. Combining wicker furniture and bentwood rockers with potted ferns on a sun porch creates an informal look appropriate to the era–and can increase the market appeal of the property.
Velvets and Chintz – Victorian style engages all the senses; tactile fabrics like silk or cotton velvets look and feel soft. Scarlet, emerald green and purple–preferably all mixed together–make a saturated yet restrained color scheme. Abundant thick fabric helps to absorb sound and recreates the sense of enclosure and comfort associated with the Victorian interior. Chintz covered in old-fashioned cabbage roses is a fabric and pattern typically associated with Victorian decor. Cover walls, windows and beds with the richly detailed fabric, and then set a vase full of heritage roses on the nightstands. Paisley fabric often appears in Victorian decor. The paisley design originated in India, and when British subjects brought it back to England from the then British colony, the country embraced it with enthusiasm. Taking the time to select fabrics that epitomize Victorian style can pay off when the home goes on the market.
Bric-a-Brac – The Victorian passion for preserving and collecting resulted in homes chockablock with domestic and foreign decorations. Citizens returning from the colonies brought back tropical plants, artifacts and decorative items. Ottoman rugs and chinoiserie occupied rooms, along with glass globe lamps, lockets containing hair pressed under glass, and Julia Margaret Cameron's dreamy portraits of young girls. Contemporary homeowners seeking to decorate in the Victorian spirit of more is more; can find mass-produced decorative items at import stores or vintage items at antique shops. Japanese fans look good on mantelpieces, inexpensive painted screens divide open spaces and kimonos retrofitted as sofa throws or pillow covers continue the decorative theme. Layer one kilim rug diagonally atop another to create a riot of texture and color underfoot. Brass lamps, decorative statues and containers from India offer a textural contrast to soft velvet cushions and draperies.
Two historical factors came together to influence the interior decorating style of Victorian England. One was the enormous global reach of the British Empire. By the late 19th century, England had colonized India, Australia, New Zealand and much of Africa. These exotic influences fueled an interest in oriental rugs, sensuous fabrics, brass accessories and even tropical houseplants. Closer to home, the Industrial Revolution brought mass-produced versions of expensive goods within reach of middle-class households. Chemical dyes replaced rare natural pigments for fabrics and paint, making bright, rich colors commonplace in Victorian interior decorating. More than a century later, the opulent elegance of Victorian decorating is still popular.