Back Latest News

Get the Look: Victorian

Monday, March 13, 2017

Do you have a Victorian home (dated between 1837 - 1901) and would like to use the age of the property as inspiration for the decor? Then read on for some great tips on how to get the look.

Victorian decor is actually an eclectic mix of style with excessive ornamentation and plump, heavily upholstered furniture. There are many influences in the style including Gothic which features heavily in the typically masculine preserves such as libraries and billiard rooms. Rococo, another influence, is a frivolous feminine style and was popular for ladies' bedrooms. In addition travel to places like Japan and India brought back an Oriental influence on design.

Get the look


  • Lay patterned carpets with a faded grandeur, leaving a border of polished floorboards. Floorcloths, a canvas painted with oils and many layers of linseed oil, can be used for less grand rooms.
  • Tiles - for areas with heavy traffic, such as halls and kitchens, the best flooring is encaustic tiles (where the pattern is baked on in a kiln). Victorian ones are usually highly patterned. Many original floors still exist today but very good reproduction tiles are also available.
  • Rich dark colours such as ruby reds and forest greens are typical. The Victorian colour palette was quite limited because chemical processes were still developing. Purple and blue came in by the middle of the century. Most of the leading paint companies now produce good heritage ranges.
  • From the 1840s, wallpaper went into mass production. Paper from the skirting board up to the dado rail. Look for flock, damask or water silk papers featuring large blowsy flowers or other recurrent motifs of the time such as birds and animals. A William Morris design would be perfect.
  • Furniture - should literally be overstuffed. Look for plump armchairs with button backs, easy chairs and ottomans.
  • Fabrics - highly patterned. Use velvet and damask for the winter and exchange with muslin, cottons and chintz for the summer.
  • Woodwork - stain it dark. If your skirting boards have been ripped out, replace them with new ones. Victorian skirting boards were particularly deep, about 30cm high and 4cm thick.
  • Fireplaces - ornate and ostentatious and mostly cast iron, although wood can also be used.
  • Mouldings - made from papier maché and stuck on rather than being an integral part of the wall. You can buy them from DIY stores and specialist suppliers. Large ceiling roses are essential but for other decorative mouldings (corbels, cornices, etc) any style goes from Gothic gargoyles to rococo scrolls and feathers to classical urns and swags. Paint them the same shade as, or one tone darker than, the ceiling.
  • Runners suit a Victorian hallway and stairs. Look for ones in plain colours such as red or green or with a contrasting stripe. Paint or stain the outside treads a dark brown.
  • Opt for brass, cast iron, pewter and tin light fittings. If you're hunting for original pieces, look for the lozenge-shaped mark topped with a crown that was stamped on most Victorian designs from 1842 to 1883.
  • Have a roll top bath with claw feet. Buy one new or find an original at a salvage yard.

For more inspiration on how to give your home some eclectic Victorian style you may enjoy these books:

The Home Front Guide To Doing Up Your Period Home by Stewart & Sally Walton (BBC Books)
Victorian House Style by Linda Osband (David & Charles)
How to Restore and Improve Your Victorian House by Alan Johnson (David & Charles)
Victorian Style by Judith and Martin Miller (Mitchell Beazley)
The 1900 House (Channel 4 Books)
Victoriana: A Buyer's Guide to the Decorative Arts 1837-1901 by Rachael Field (Macdonald Orbis)

Article taken in part from

Important Information
All property sales and the financial advice that surrounds them are as unique as the people engaging in the transaction. It is important to not make a decision without seeking professional advice. If you want to sell your home and are considering redecorating before marketing, speak to one of our Property Professionals to get the best advice for presenting your home for sale before making any investment.

Contact Us
Property Search Hide
Please use the selections below to narrow down your search.
Please use the selections below to narrow down your search.
Browse Property Browser our entire property portfolio Show all properties