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There’s no denying that some of the finest houses in the UK were built in the Victorian era and it’s not hard to see why; it was an age of imitation, and styles were influenced by everything from Regency fashions, decorative stucco embellishments and the gothic revival. This eclectic mix resulted in pointed roofs and matching porches, bay windows, slate roofs and gorgeous wooden fire surrounds.
If you’re looking to move into a Victorian property, there are a few notable influences to bear in mind, and we’ve added a few tips on how to optimise this style for your new home:
The industrial revolution greatly inspired the Victorian house-boom. Country folk moved to the city for work, and millions of new houses were needed, not just for the upper-classes but for everybody else as well. There was a surge in the growing middle-classes who took pride in their homes and the decor which they thought reflected their status. This industrial society saw an increase in iron and steel materials being used and wrought and cast-iron frames were popular – so swap that wooden bed frame for a wrought-iron one.
With travel to foreign places such as India and China becoming more viable, there was a notable oriental theme incorporated into Victorian decor. Elaborate floral patterns, animals and prints had a noticeably oriental feel. To get the look, a William Morris wallpaper is perfect, or if your fireplace has tiles then expose these as a key feature for your living room. If you’re looking for a Victorian-inspired fireplace then wrought iron or pine are your go-to materials. Direct Fireplaces range of quality fire surrounds will ensure that you can get that vintage Victorian feel so it’s well worth a look if you want to recreate the look. In addition to your fireplace, keep an eye out for vintage oversized armchairs with button backs, pouffes and other plush furniture for your living room. Velvet was a key fabric for the Victorian era – think rich, deep jewel tones for the winter months and add an airy feel in the summer with muslin, chintz and highly patterned textiles on curtains and throws.
The rococo look was a notorious style for ladies bedrooms and boudoirs. It features elaborate, chintzy floral prints and a flair for gold gilded, heavily embossed mirrors, wall hangings and ornaments. Today you’ll see it represented in the ‘shabby-chic’ style that so many home-owners have commandeered, although the rococo style features decidedly stronger colours. Look out for vintage rococo benches at flea markets – they usually scrub up well and are perfect for the garden.
In your bedroom, a baroque dressing table with elaborate features will enhance the cornices in your room. A luxurious chaise longue will epitomise the rich Victorian theme and add to the rococo theme
The gothic revival was huge in Victorian times and you’ll mostly notice this influence on the exterior, manifested in pointed roofs, scrollwork, imposing bay windows and stain glass windows.
To make the most of your Victorian property once you’ve moved in, it’s a good idea to keep the decor and furniture in a similar vein – it doesn’t have to be in every room, after all this is the 21st century, and it’s safe to say that the Victorian era left a lot to be desired in sanitary standards… so modern bathroom plumbing is a must!