Old English Doors Blog

Victorian homes: Interior and exterior style

Posted on: June 6, 2012

The Victorian architectural period was born during the reign of Queen Victoria and developed into numerous and distinct architectural models, including everything from High Victorian Gothic Revival, Victorian Italianate, Second Empire architecture and Victorian Stick architecture.

victorian interior design

You may recognise some of the stylistic features of the period still in existence today, for example multi-coloured stonework, stone coverings (like gargoyles and leaves), dormer windows, wrought iron decorations, terra cotta panels, corner downers, decorative trim work and ornamental spindles.

Additionally, the special interior design features made these homes truly unique are still very popular in homes across the UK today.

Victorian Interiors:

The interior design and decor of Victorian homes were truly special with an emphasis on richness and timeless elegance, which finished off what were often considered stately homes. The colours of the wallpaper and fabrics — burgundies, magentas, and rich greens and blues — were dark and dramatic, including a considerable use of velvet and damask with decorative fringe, tassels, and dizzy designs. There was considerable deep, dark woodwork highlights around doorframes, skirting boards, and ceilings. Wallpaper was a real favourite, covering all the walls in nearly every room of a house.

Some residences had Victorian interiors where some attempted to be different with white space and muted colours. However, these were often offset with large paintings, gilded frames, and heavy, embellished furniture and draperies.

Overall, the design was busy and rooms had many combinations of patterns and colours – some today might refer to it as a cluttered style. 

Victorian Exteriors:

Victorian HousesThe exterior design of Victorian homes typically looked very similar because they were designed in rows with connecting houses and a terrace design that further linked them together, thereby limiting personal space around the outside of the home. Since there were no cars during this time period, there was no need for a garage structure. What was quite common, however, were chimneys as heating came through fireplaces located in nearly every room.

Despite being somewhat homogenised in terms of overall materials and design characteristics, Victorian homes are still easy to identify due, in large measure, to some distinguishing features. One of the most obvious was a new type of window not previously seen, known as the bay window. Whilst most windows tended to be flush to the house’s exterior, these windows stuck out, often making a great window seat inside the home while offering a more expansive view and greater light. These bay windows often came with their own roofs.

Additional distinctive characteristics of exterior Victorian design include sash windows, slate roofs, stained glass in the doorways and windows, patterned designed in the brickwork and iron railings.  The use of coloured bricks enabled a wide range of patterns and colour combinations on the exteriors of these homes to add a more interesting aesthetic to these row homes. Finally, stained glass found in Victorian doors tended to reflect the interior design scheme and offered a way to personalise the home.

Victorian Front Doors with Stained GlassRenovating your Victorian house?

We can provide you with bespoke exterior doors with stained glass inserts made to your specifications that will finish off any restoration or renovation to your Victorian period home.

 Contact us now on: 01159 588 755

Images courtesy of: jingdianjiaju & ell brown, Flickr.