Victorian era bridges allot of different design styles and
sensibilities. It is generally considered that the Victorian period
found it’s beginnings with the demise of Napoleon’s expansionist
policies, continuing thru the reign of Queen Victoria, and
culminating up to WW1 in 1914. The styles developed from each other
not only as an extension of the current political situation but also
to the needs of the rising middle class during the industrial
|When we speak of the ‘Victorian Style’, distinct images come
to mind as an overall feeling develops. The ‘gingerbread’ house
with eaves and gables. A verandah with turned porch posts, spindles
and fan-like brackets become characteristic of the style. Steeply
pitched roofs and turrets are sometimes seen. The use of color
played an important role, both on the exterior as well as the
interior. Multiple colors on the exteriors, now have become known as
|The interiors were rich and exciting. Entering into a home you
could enjoy decorative plaster moldings or cornices.
Intricately patterned friezes, ceiling medallions, even
mirror frames were highly embellished. Wonderfully turned balusters
to support your stair railing reminds us of the grand entrance. Parquet
floors might call for our attention as well as inlayed wood
patterns or painted/stenciled borders. Rich carpets were freely
Damask patterned wall
paper with raised texture became the
norm for upscale Victorian homes.
Tile was not overlooked and early
linoleum found it’s start in this era. The
decorative elements of the home might
begin with color. With stronger, darker
colors becoming more fashionable by the
second half of the 19th century.
Decorative paint finishes can be seen
liberally. Graining, marbling, gilding,
distressed lacquer-red walls contrast
marble fireplace. Influences from around
the world become prevalent with animal
prints being very popular in the Victorian
Victorian Style architectural details and
Ceiling medallions, cornices
and moldings. Authentic Period and Historic Home
All crafted in genuine plaster.
For commercial and residential environments.
Because of the new revolution in mass
production methods the textile industry
flourished with developments such as the
power-loom weaving and machine-printing.
Richly textured and colored, often finding
elaborate floral designs. Heavier fabrics
such as Velvet became more common.
Wallpaper became a source of decorating.
and paper borders become fashionable
William Morris and his studio became leading
examples fro these new styles. Paisley prints abound.
Asian/Indian influences in fabrics and furnishings mark a distinct
style in the Victorian era known as Japonisme.
Armoires. Styles varied greatly, often ‘reviving’ older styles.
Couches and sofas become quite plump, with
soft upholstery. A heavy pedestal mahogany dining table might be
found, exemplifying a growing feeling that solid, weighty furniture
reinforces the wealth and status of the home owner. Butler trays
and side tables help fill unused spaces. Collections of all kinds
become popular, from
Straffordshire figurines to doll houses to china-ware.
fixtures, iron chandeliers and wonderfully shaped shades for the
many table and standing lamps become a renewed source of interest,
with artisans such as Tiffany and his workshop creating wonderful
stained glass lamps and other decorative objects. China and dishware
find a new resurgence, showing off wonderful patterns and intricate
Gilding objects, ceilings or
furniture in Silver leaf can be just the right touch to create
the Modern look you are after.
More gilding tutorials
This wonderfully sandy texture
is great for doors and trim.
Design Style features
a question? Ask artSparx
paint and glazing techniques
A complete resource for gold, silver, copper leaf,
gilder's supplies and expert advice!
Architectural ornamentation, plaster
restoration and installation,
decorative plaster and fresco
techniques and much more.