Everything You Need to Know About Victorian-Style Decor

In this article, we're going to show you how to recreate the warmth and balance of one of the most iconic English styles of all time. Let's take a look!
Everything You Need to Know About Victorian-Style Decor

Last update: 21 July, 2020

As you’ve probably already guessed, Victorian-style decor is inspired by the era of Queen Victoria, who ruled England from 1837 until she died in 1901.

This lengthy period in English history has a very distinctive decorative style. The Victorian design was characterized by its attention detail, which took into account every aspect of a space.

A brief history of Victorian-style decor

19th Century interior design.

Before we do anything else, it’s important to discuss the historical context behind the Victorian style, to help you understand the typical themes and features that characterize these interiors.

The 19th Century marked the beginning of English colonial expansion and was a time of great prosperity for the English aristocracy and upper-middle classes. This was reflected in the architecture and decoration found in buildings and homes of the time.

The English had proclaimed their Queen Empress of India and had just conquered the Chinese market following the First Opium War.

In Parliament, British lords often debated ways to stop popular uprisings, although they also devoted much of their time to listening to Mendelssohn’s concertos, reading the works of Lord Byron, and taking their wives to the opera.

According to strict Victorian moral codes, women were expected to remain chaste until marriage. After that, they were duty-bound to become attentive mothers and devoted housewives. They dedicated much of their spare time to hobbies such as needlepoint and lacework.

Drinking tea and tending to small improvised greenhouses (which they often used to grow a variety of exotic plants) took up a lot of the rest of their spare time.

Victorian style interiors – characteristics

Victorian style bedroom.

While women did not, Victorian houses benefited hugely from the fact that wives were usually confined to the four walls of their family home. English ladies were in charge of choosing the furniture and decorations for their interiors.

Any room could be used to display large collections of porcelain (which came to be seen as a symbol of the era), as well as silverware, snuff boxes, and glassware. The Victorians developed a real obsession with shiny things.

It was the Victorians who started making use of plants in interior design, growing exotic species such as water lilies. Brightly colored flowering plants were also a common feature.

Fabrics were an essential part of Victorian interiors. Even the walls were upholstered in dark, somber fabrics. However, they never went so far as to cover every wall in the house.

Victorians typically decorated their windows with thick, sumptuous curtains. Quilted or tufted upholstery was one of the features of Victorian design, although textiles also displayed decorative motifs inspired by flora and fauna.

Recreating Victorian-style decor in modern homes

Victorian-style decor.

If you want to know how to recreate authentic Victorian-style decor in your home, then you’re in luck! In this next section, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.


When it comes to decorating the walls, try to use dark tones that are warm and inviting. We recommend colors such as burgundy, terracotta, dark green, and ocher.


Here, you can use English-style pieces with round, curved designs, such as klismos chairs, balloon backed chairs, or a classic Morris Chair. You can combine these with a more robust writing desk or console table, along with a variety of side tables.


Try to use fabrics with richly decorated patterns featuring floral or bird motifs. Similarly, incorporating plenty of upholstered and tufted furniture is a must if you want to create that authentic Victorian feel.

Decorative objects

Here, we recommend choosing Chinese porcelain plates and vases, small collectibles and antiques such as perfume bottles and snuff boxes, as well as needlepoint cushions. You could also include small pieces of red and black lacquered furniture, typical of the oriental style.


Don’t hold back when it comes to using plants in your Victorian-style home. Try to use those with brightly colored flowers. You can then display them in your favorite porcelain vases, and place them on your side tables.

And remember…

All-white interiors.

You might want to make a note of these last few pieces of advice. These are some of the best ways to create a Victorian-style interior that looks and feels authentic.

  • Somber-colored walls and richly decorated furniture are two things that every Victorian style home has to have. These features are easy to incorporate into living rooms, although you do have to be careful not to go overboard.
  • Create your own still life compositions. This is easy. All you need to do is arrange a series of porcelain vases and houseplants of varying sizes. You can then use an elegant table lamp to highlight your display.
  • If you enjoy scouring antique stores for unique pieces of furniture, why not keep an eye out for authentic Victorian chairs? Elegant and inviting, they will make a great addition to your dining or living room.

Now all you need to do is put these tips into practice.