How To Renovate Your Home, Victorian Style

How To Renovate Your Home, Victorian Style
  • Opening Intro -

    Have you noticed the recent obsession with the nineteenth century or the Victorian period?

    Since the success of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley, the film industry practically throws a new adaptation of a Jane Austen novel or other Classic at us every year.

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Although they didn’t bring back the traditional deerstalker-wearing and pipe-smoking Sherlock Holmes, he is nevertheless back in all his glory. He just uses his Smartphone to get relevant data and quits the bad habit of smoking with nicotine patches. Despite the loss of the Victorian style, it shows that everyone still loves the stories and the feel of the era.

It provides for an ornamented and artistic flair, which is missing in the cold and clean-lined modern style. Every style produces a counter movement and many people aim at refurbishing their home in a more traditional way. Instead of cold chrome they want to go back to the cosy and warm feeling of the fireplace and armchair.

If you think you’re one of these people, check these tips out to turn your home into a comfy Victorian place.

Flooring

If you want to do the complete deal, you need to start with the flooring. Ornaments of all kinds and shapes were very popular and with colonialism a lot of Persian and Oriental rugs came into the country. You have two options here that bring back the era of Queen Victoria’s reign. You can choose between just having a huge Persian carpet cover your hardwood floor, or, if you get the whole floor carpeted, be sure to get it done in the typical rich ornate style.

Colors

Next to the characteristic patterns, be sure to paint the room in deep rich colours, particularly red, dark green, gold or amber. Neutral colours were only used for hallways. If you can’t get enough of ornaments get wallpapers in rich colours or gold. When you’re finished painting or putting the wallpaper up, you can cover walls with mirrors or portraits with heavy golden frames.

Furniture And Accessories

The heavy wooden and adorned furniture showed off the wealth in the aristocratic Victorian home. Dark woods, especially oak, mahogany, teak, walnut and rosewood were popular. Today you might get the furniture cheaper at your local antiquarian or flea market. After all, it is not the latest fashion, so should be affordable. Good replicas that might fit your budget better are also available.

When you have successfully selected your furniture, cover every inch of the room with the essential accessories and knickknacks that reflect other cultures, science and knowledge. Rooms in the Victorian period were jam-packed with all kinds of this “clutter”. Again, best to consult your local antiquarian or flea market to get an old-fashioned globe, decorative china, an African mask or Indian elephant statue.

For an even more authentic look, you should think about getting a library or at least a bookshelf full of old leather bound books. The era saw great new inventions and there was a growing interest in science, which should be reflected in your home.

You can often find old Classics and nineteenth century science books in second hand book shops or markets. You might have to dig a bit, but it will be worth it, when you can show your old school library of to your friends.

Lighting

Lighting is a factor that is often forgotten, but needs to be considered to complete the picture. It would be weird to have all the ornaments, heavy wooden furniture and golden frames illuminated by modern chrome light.

Chandeliers in brass or cut glass or even with crystal decoration should become the source of light in your new Victorian room. For the hall, you can try a ceiling lantern, which will be reminiscent of candleholders that were used to light passageways.

Most homes were still lit with candles and gas or oil lamps, though electricity had already been established. So, you might want to dim the light a bit or just use lamps to get the same effect.

Look out for the decorative patterns! Tiffany lamps with their coloured glass lamp shades were also very popular in Victorian times. If you’re still struggling with your lighting ideas, you can get more inspiration here.

Can you think of any other ways to recreate the Victorian style in the comfort of your own home? Share in the comments.  

Bio: Elisabeth Strasser is a freelance writer passionate about all things Victorian. She is currently remodelling her home.

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