The Bloomsbury Style in Interior Decor

A colorful style, full of melancholy passion that had the end goal of rejecting middle class customs and of denouncing a society based on vulgarity.
The Bloomsbury Style in Interior Decor

Last update: 01 January, 2020

The Bloomsbury style was born in London during the Victorian Age. It owes its name to a cultural movement that was created by a group of philosophers, writers, and artists known as the Bloomsbury Set. This group of intellectuals was made up of Virginia Woolf, her sister Vanessa Bell, and other friends and relatives.

To give you a bit of context, we’re speaking here of a style that was inspired in the very area of London where you can find the British Museum. This group’s outlook has had a notable influence on literature and aesthetics, as well as the way we understand the world around us.

It was an artistic movement that challenged the current Victorian morality in many ways. The result was a style full of color and art that made its mark in the world.

Art – the cornerstone of the Bloomsbury style

A living room featuring Bloomsbury style walls with paintings

The basis of this style is the paintings on the walls and the books that you see everywhere. Similarly, houses with Bloomsbury style decor become almost like mini-museums where art is a key feature in all the rooms.

What should you do to give a Bloomsbury style touch to a room of your house, such as the living room for instance? Well, start by viewing the room as a giant canvas where you can paint, if possible without leaving any empty spaces without decoration.

The original Bloomsbury style was very elaborate and highly decorated. Don’t forget that it originated in the Victorian Age. The current Bloomsbury style hasn’t lost that essence, although it’s a little less packed and more flowing now.

The colors

An elaborately decorated living room in vibrant colors

The Bloomsbury style uses highly vivid colors. They are brilliant and loud, that you should use without fear. Strong colors are the first element you should utilize to achieve this very theatrical style.

You’ll find fabulous combinations of intense blues with strawberry pinks, on separate walls or mixed in huge floral patterns on the wallpaper. Paprika red, burnt orange, violet, turquoise, bright sea green, rose pinks and warm yellows. The brighter the better.

Fabrics and coverings

The Bloomsbury style uses rich fabrics and floral patterns

The fabrics of this style of decor follow the Victorian trends in textures. Think rich, elaborate fabrics of high quality. What makes them different are the colors, and above all, the patterns that define the Bloomsbury style. Floral patterns with a thick weave take priority, as well as patchwork effects in bright colors.

The presence of patterns in this style is so important that it’s even acceptable to combine different floral fabrics on the same sofa or armchair. Don’t forget this detail if you want to achieve this very distinctive style.

Along the same lines, wallpaper can also play an important role. Pick similar patterns to what’s in the fabrics covering the furniture or that of the curtains.

Bloomsbury style furniture

Varied furniture and paintings

Another defining aspect of this style is the furniture. The basic idea is to use repainted Victorian furniture, without especially restoring the timber. It should give the idea of being repainted on several occasions. You can paint the furniture in any of the strong colors of this decor style.

Don’t try to match up all of the colors, since the ideal would be to use many different colors in the same room. Above all, don’t just stick with two or three, as in the case with other more classic styles in interior decor.

There are some items of furniture that are essentials in this style. For instance, some of these might be free-standing screens, period armchairs, large, comfortable sofas with a mountain of cushions in thick printed floral fabrics, or even with needlepoint designs.

Decor accessories

Make use of paintings and floor lamps

The accessories are really what gives the finishing touches to this particular style. Porcelain and crockery are essentials. Go for white with artistic floral patterns. Also, you could consider big, fluffy rugs in bright colors, as well as some crystal lamps to complete the effect.

One decorative accessory that is key to the Bloomsbury style is the use of mantelpieces above the fireplace. These could be of timber, stone or brick, and are perfect as a blank canvas for decorating with paintings.

You could even paint the chimney and other architectural features of the room as if they were actual canvases.

A style that breaks all the rules

A bowl of fruit and a vase of flowers

Are you looking for a style with a heap of personality, something that’s as far away from traditional and classic as you can get? Well, you’re sure to love this decor style, as it gives a sense of freedom and creativity. It can make any room into a feature.

Remember that it’s still a somewhat rebel version of the Victorian style, which means that a guiding principle of ‘more is more’ applies. With the Bloomsbury style, you just have to keep to these few suggestions and don’t be afraid to go all out.

In short, it’s a style dedicated to art and expression as a way of breaking away from the established model.

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