Decorating Ideas for a Victorian Theme

Decorating Ideas for a Victorian Theme

Floral wall and windown treatments and period furniture complete your Victorian theme

By Theresa Leschmann

Red Victorian Armchairs and Table
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The Victorian period is delineated by the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. The Industrial Revolution propelled the middle class to new prosperity and fostered interest in the decorative arts. Newfound monetary resources allowed the middle class to enrich their homes and display their cultural interest and improved status. Bold fabrics, an abundance of knickknacks and extravagant, floral-patterned wallpaper adorned their homes.


Use wallpaper with small floral designs. Draperies should also contain floral patterns and have lace under panels. Hand-painted borders outlined Victorian window frames. Use a stencil to achieve this look. Finish wood floors with stain, and adorn with colorful area rugs. Dark wood furniture such as mahogany, rosewood and walnut beds, washstands, armoires and dressing tables completed a Victorian room. A four-poster bed with a canopy was predominant early in the period. Continue the pattern of the wallpaper through the draperies, canopy and bed linens. Add a dust ruffle to complete the bed. A lace or muslin table runner should cover the dressing table. Accessories often displayed included silver or tortoise shell brushes and combs.

Living Room

The drawing room, or parlor, as it was called in Victorian times, was the most extravagant room in the house and was decorated with a feminine flair. Wallpaper contained intricate details of birds, scrolls and vines. Crown moldings should be elaborate and can be built up by adding additional layers of detailed trim. Add ceiling medallions to the center of a ceiling to add interest. These can be painted to bring out the details or matched to the ceiling color. Heavy draperies of velvet or brocade should be tied back with heavy ropes sporting ornate tassels. Tie the ropes to scrolled fittings attached to the walls. Use valances with scalloped or trimmed edges to complete the draperies. Upholstered furniture should be button tufted, reminiscent of the Queen Anne-style sofa. Add footstools and chairs with button tufting.


Victorian kitchens had cabinets. Floors can be brick, marble or hardwood. Tile can emulate this look. Add wainscoting around any open walls of the kitchen. Top the wainscoting with simple trim and paint in simple colors such as chocolate brown or an antiqued green. Affix a decorative plate rail so you may display platters. Use a large table in the center of the room as a workspace. Open shelving on the walls to display antique utensils and cookware will lend an authentic Victorian feel to a modern kitchen. Add a dresser or buffet for storing china and silver. Muslin drapes can be hung and a stenciled border painted around window openings.

About the Author

Theresa Leschmann is a regular contributor to DexKnows.

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