So many of the home design features we see today originated from the Victorian era, and these have become so ingrained in our culture and our everyday lives, that it is easy to forget that. The Victorian era is still so prominent, firstly because so much housing was built at that time, as families moved away from living and working in towns and less populous suburbs were created. Secondly, many styling techniques were popularised in the Victorian era, as standard family homes became bigger and with more rooms. So we still see many Victorian interior design influences today, such as furniture, staircases, skirting, door mouldings and architrave, as well as exterior design features such as Victorian doors and bay windows.
Living in, or thinking about moving into, a traditional Victorian home means you will inevitably be faced with some restoration and refurbishment projects. There will be some features that it would be criminal not to make prominent and display in all their finery, so it makes sense to study Victorian interior design, and learn about techniques and features that can help make the most of the unique elements and characteristics you have inherited. To help, there are some vital things you need to know about Victorian interior design:
- Be careful when restoring features
You are likely to unearth some beautiful and criminally disguised features such as parquet flooring under carpet or a feature fireplace that has been boxed off. It is absolutely the right thing to do to attempt to restore these items, but you need to be careful not to damage them. They may have been covered up for a reason, or their condition might be in a delicate state, so inspect carefully, make a plan and reveal them methodically before making any long term decisions on a restoration project.
- Choose your paints carefully
It is common to want to paint over Victorian interior design features such as skirting boards, dado rails or door and window architraves, but you need to check what type of wood you are dealing with. Choose the wrong paint or varnish and you may ruin the feature, create a poor finish or need to re-cover it again in a few months’ time. To make an effective covering check whether you have a hard or softwood and find a paint or varnish that is suitable.
- Strive for consistency
When you have Victorian styling going from room-to-room it is very tempting to continue this throughout the home, particularly in linking corridors and passageways. However, you need to make sure you are being consistent with the period detail. Previous owners may have used detail from a different era, such as Edwardian or Georgian, and it can sometimes be difficult to identify the difference. But get this wrong and you will soon find you have different era styling in different rooms and this can upset the natural flow you are trying to create.
- Don’t be afraid of wallpaper
Wallpaper was a big favourite in Victorian times, and whilst it is not to everybody’s tastes, this is a traditional style that has made a comeback in recent years. Bold designs for feature walls have really come into fashion and help to bring a room to life. So don’t be afraid of getting the pasting table out and leaving your comfort zone for a quirky wallpaper design.
- Lighting is important
Bigger, more spacious and airy rooms were typical in Victorian homes, and hence lighting could be quite dramatic and elaborate. Of course this was oil and gas lit at the time, but you can replicate this using LED lighting and some great designs which mimic this traditional detail. As long as you find a design that compliments the scale of the room, you can install a great lighting feature and also make the most of existing, restored or replaced ceiling mouldings. But make sure they are consistent with the style of your door or wall architraves.
As with any home improvement project, making the most of your Victorian interior design requires you to stick to a budget, plan your work carefully and get advice where it is needed. In this respect, Period Mouldings are always at hand to help with your period design project.