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Decorating: Victorian Style

 

The Victorian era lends itself to ornate furnishings and lush fabrics for interior decor

Victorian decor may be most associated with the holidays as that is when our finer senses want to enjoy the excesses of the late Victorian era. Rather than an actual "style," Victorian is a period of time - and named in honor of Queen Victoria. The years between 1837 and 1901 underwent three basic phases: early, mid, and late Victorian. The first was the most simple, the second more masculine, and only in the third did frilly, over-the-edge decorating gain popularity.

Wealthy British owners believed that a bare space conveyed poor taste. To compensate, no space, wall, or window was spared of some type of decoration or placement of object. Each piece was carefully selected with the high standards of the owner in mind.

Today's Victorian homes may not be on the historical register, but the style of the era remains popular. It is easy to achieve a cluttered look when working with a Victorian theme, so be prepared to group your bric-a-brac and other numerous objects carefully. The traditional Victorian look is overcrowded, but tasteful.

Colors are deep and rich while wood tones are dark. There was a tendency toward somberness in this era and it is up to you to add a few bright touches here and there. Wallpaper is typically patterned with large florals or ornate motifs and broken up by moulding and cornices. Paint, if used, can be in a faux finish simulating distressed or ragged.

Furniture is heavy and large as people of the Victorian era believed such pieces were a sign of wealth. If you have space, don't be afraid to add plenty of side tables, hutches, and other items of dark woods. Fill them with your favorite objects and supplement the space with throws and pillows.

Also, furniture of the era will reflect ornate scrolling, outwardly curved legs, and pictorial carvings. Fringes, tassels, and velvet should be incorporated into well-upholstered furniture, which will be supported by sturdy inner springs. You can use hat and coat stands to fill in any remaining tight spaces.

Oriental rugs fit very nicely into a Victorian-styled home. Wood floors with a dark stain are appropriate in all but the kitchen where stone floors might work.

Fabric is used with abandon in a Victorian home. Satin and damask are popular. Florals and scenic designs can be mixed and should be embellished with the ever-popular tassels.

Oil paintings should be in gilded frames and, again, the larger the better if you have the wall space.

Candelabra, rather than single candlesticks, should be arranged to set the mood of your Victorian home. Lamp shades with elaborate beaded fringe topping painted porcelain bases finish out the textures and forms.

If you love to mix and match designs, and want to play with putting everything together so that it works, then the Victorian-era style may just be for you.

 

 


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