Victorian homes are wonderfully unique, full of character and open to a world of interior design opportunities. If you are lucky enough to own a Victorian cottage or Victorian terraced house, you may be looking for ways to modernise your interiors. The LuxPad spoke to a number of interior experts and bloggers to find out their favourite Victorian home décor ideas. With a mixture of experts’ own home renovations, along with client projects, we share all the Victorian home interior inspiration you need.
Modern schemes can work surprisingly well in Victorian homes, as they tend to have well-proportioned rooms and high ceilings which lend themselves to contemporary colours, furniture and artwork. In our Victorian living room, we’ve fused Scandinavian-style minimalism with period charm by pairing sleek grey walls and clean-lined sofas with the original coving and ceiling roses. We’ve also had bespoke cupboards fitted in the alcoves, which provide plenty of storage space and keep the room looking airy and clutter-free.
For me it’s important to make the décor in our Victorian home as light and bright as possible. The first thing we did was paint everything white, including the original floorboards. We then introduced a mixture of vintage and modern pieces to create a fresh look and bring in different textures to soften the crisp feel.
The traditional fireplace is a classic feature in any Victorian home, and you can add even more character by sourcing a beautiful over mantel mirror. Even if the fireplace itself is no longer functioning, make it a focal point by adding houseplants in reclaimed containers.
My friend, the artist Tessa MacGregor has a brilliant sense of style: walls woodwork, radiators and floor are all painted in ‘Bedford Brown’ an Abigail Ahern paint to unify and envelope the space. Tessa has added a zingy orange velvet classic modular ‘TOGO” sofa unit from the 1970s as a fireside chair.
Victorian homes have the most fantastic floor to ceiling height and it’s a great feature to accentuate. Painting something the same colour as the walls, like these bookshelves, extends the eye upwards and keeps a room looking more open without losing any functionality. The idea is to unify and define a space within a room, which is key for spacious Victorian properties. This method also works for stand-alone furniture; painting units or shelves the same colour as the wall creates the illusion of built in shelving units – great if you are looking for an affordable option or renting.
I live in a small Victorian terraced house in Bristol, so I am always looking for ways of updating or adding decorative touches to the space. The trouble with Victorian terraces is the lack of space, but the owners of this home have cleverly built over the side return to give a bigger more usable family kitchen/dining room. A modern addition to the room, which still retains its period charms. This space was created by Interior Designer Cassandra Ellis who has a great eye for using antique and vintage finds in her designs.
Working with a sophisticated neutral colour palette on the walls can help act as a wonderful canvas from which to accessorise with accents of colour. For example, consider a quality wallpaper with a subtle textural pattern to highlight the tall ceilings in a stylishly understated manner. You may even opt for sumptuous curtains to complement. Accessorise with statement soft furnishings and lighting to draw attention to colour, form, shape and texture to add the wow factor.
I’m obsessed with Victorian architecture and all the extra detail they threw in… just because they could. Big, lofty rooms can carry off dark colours as were traditionally used, but for me, the features look prettier in an all-white scheme. I love to mix up the eras when it comes to styling. Vintage furniture with modern textiles keeps the look fresh. Go for big, bold lighting to accentuate the high ceilings. Simple shapes juxtaposed against ornate ceiling roses is pure magic.
Older properties, like Victorian homes, often have oddly shaped rooms with wonky walls and alcoves. Make the most of these quirky spaces with built-in furniture. Bespoke cupboards and shelves are the best way to utilise every last inch of your space and are perfect for hiding day to day clutter. To make the cupboards fit seamlessly with the style of your home, don’t just build around the period features but instead incorporate them into the design. Little touches like matching the height of the skirting or continuing the level of the picture rail around the shelves can make all the difference.
Regardless of your interior style, a Victorian home will appeal to all. The high ceilings, generous room proportions and large windows can lend themselves to anything your heart desires. You can still give your home a contemporary edge without ripping out all of the architectural features that a Victorian home provides. This bathroom fully utilises the large space by placing the bath in the centre – the placement gives a modern twist to the room. Surrounding the bath with dark traditional rugs are a nod to the travels and collections a wealthy Victorian would have had, yet the deep colour that continues on the walls and woodwork brings the room up to date once more.
This elegant yet suitably homely living room illustrates all of the key characteristics that I love about Victorian interiors. The large windows and high ceilings are synonymous to that architectural period, allowing the room to be airy and wonderfully bright. To achieve this look at home, pair a soft muted colour palette with accents of vibrant floral patterns. Create more light and sparkle by adding a crystal chandelier and a large mantelpiece mirror to make a real impact.
Whether you lust after a palatial Victorian double fronted country pile, the end of the drive lodge house with its distinctive triangular fascia boards or dream of living in a London terrace, I’d bet the windows are one of the items high on your wish list.
Those almost floor to ceiling bays that scream for shutters, flooding the rooms with light and just beg for a window seat for the cat to perch on. There’s something about the long panes that bring a sense of elegance to a space no matter how you dress them. If your style leans towards heavy traditional velvet drapes hung from brass curtain poles or the clean and crisp look of wooden shutters, they are the feature (along with the high ceilings) that all your friends will covet!
I love everything about this Victorian bedroom; the way the home owner has mixed Mid Century with Art Deco – modern with period features shouldn’t work, but it does. This is because they have chosen one colour and followed it throughout creating a calming effect which is much needed in the bedroom. Sometimes we can be nervous of mixing periods together, but by choosing the grey for the large cupboards, walls, bedding and lighting, the contrasting pieces pop out as things to admire rather than things that clash. And as I always say- fill your home with things that you love even if they can span 100 years!
This is a great example of how you can do Victoriana faithfully without your home looking dated or too themed. The dark walls, the classical statuary, the lights and the traditional radiator are all touch-points, but everything has been kept simple and clean. Dark colours work well in expansive hallways – most of the heritage paint brands have information on the history of their paint colours, as well as hints on how to use them, which can be invaluable. If you are nervous about using these colours, consider a dark colour below the dado and a lighter tone above.
I really love this hallway created by designer Amanda at Small Fry & Chips. The monochrome scheme gives a traditional hallway a much cooler edge. The grand stair panelling looks sharp in Farrow & Ball’s Railings, while the floor exudes style with those amazing mosaic tiles. A cool, contemporary and classy take on a Victorian hallway that won’t date, and when you go for a restrained colour palette like this, you can add pops of colour and personality with flowers or perhaps some trendy cactus plants and quirky lights.
Victorian hallways were typically designed to make a fashionable statement, often with the use of dramatic patterns and embellishments. Apply this design principle by using a dark colour on the walls and a bright white on the woodwork and ceiling, this will highlight the detail in the mouldings, and create a sense of theatre.
When it comes to Victorian home décor, I am a bit of a purist for bringing out the classic and elegant charm that the bones of the building hold within. The tall ceilings and large windows allow a lot of natural light to warm the interior, so a sophisticated and muted palette works beautifully.
I came across this house by accident and have fallen head over heels in love with it, all of it. I think I’ll be using this idea in my house. The walls, skirting board and tops of the stairs have been painted white which reflects as much light as possible creating a bright, airy & clean feel. Adding the floral paper adds a splash of colour and using different patterns on each stair gives them a rather shabby chic vibe. I’m in love!
The entrance of a home is important to create good first impressions. I love the décor in this hallway as it combines traditional Victorian details with a modern twist. The mustard colour pop in the tiles and stairway runner create a dramatic entrance that you won’t forget! To create this look, source a similar radiator from an antiques furniture shop, and find some quirky tiles at Fired Earth.
I think this renovated early 20th-century apartment in Madrid, flooded with natural light, achieves the perfect balance between old and new. I love the unexpected mix of an antique table, Eames chairs and a copper geo diamond light fitting. With white walls and monochrome patterned tiles, the room feels fresh and modern, yet somehow in keeping.
If you are lucky enough to have a Victorian Home with the original architectural features such as doors, intricate cornice, skirting and fireplace we would definitely advise on preserving as many as possible. In this formal drawing room we retained as many period features as we could to keep the character and soul of the house, but created a light and classic contemporary scheme to contrast with the Victorian elements. Make the fireplace a feature by adding a lovely mirror and accessories to the mantelpiece.
The details of a Victorian home should be celebrated, and in order to best highlight the wonderful features of such period properties, I love the idea of stripping everything back and designing from a blank canvas. A clean white scheme with beautiful green accents here and stunning parquet flooring makes this spaces completely serene. The furnishings are quite contemporary in style which provides a wonderful contrast to the classic Victorian details. There is nothing nicer than the element of novelty and contrast when you walk into a period property that has a completely modern design with classic architectural details. It is this successful juxtaposition of styles that highlights the original character of the property that makes for a really beautiful design.
From space-enhancing ideas to quirky home accessories, our experts know a thing or two about how to style Victorian home interiors. We hope these ideas have provided you with an abundance of Victorian home décor inspiration.