Victorian interior design is an approach to interior design inspired by the Victorian Era, a famous period in British history which lasted from 1837 to 1901. The Victorian Era marked huge shifts in British society, and many of these shifts were reflected in interior design. Many people view this era as a very romantic period in history, and they have drawn heavily on the inspirations of the Victorian age when decorating homes, ranging from real Victorian homes maintained in an authentic period style to modern homes with Victorian-influenced interior design.
One of the key developments of the Victorian Era was the Industrial Age, and the Industrial Age had a profound impact on interior design. Before the advent of mass production, everything used to decorate a home was made by hand, and only the truly wealthy could afford opulent interior design schemes. With the advent of mechanization, the middle classes could afford objects traditionally associated with the rich, and authentic Victorian interior design is dense, lavish, and ornate; it can be almost overwhelming for people who are accustomed to more spare modern aesthetics.
The Victorians may be remembered as staid, but they loved rich, deep colors and textures. Victorian homes were often wallpapered with very bold, bright patterns which included flocking, raised designs with a velvety texture. Furnishings were upholstered with equally bright colors and rich textures, and Victorian interior design featured a lot of gilding, ornate carving, and other lavish touches.
Since electricity was absent for much of the Victorian Era, Victorian rooms were filled with an assortment of candles and lamps which provided low, warm light. Victorian rooms in general tended to feel very cozy and warm, if crowded, and flooring was typically covered in lush rugs for those who could afford them, and painted floorcloths for those who could not. Other decorative touches included things like houseplants in ornate pots, sculpture, and paintings. Some Victorian interior design was also infused with Asian-inspired pieces like folding screens, due to the mania for Chinoiserie which swept the public in the 1800s.
Homes decorated with Victorian interior design which is true to the period can sometimes feel ludicrous and over the top to modern eyes. As a result, most people draw from Victorian influences, but choose not to go all-out with their interior design schemes. They may, for example, utilize rich colors on the walls to offset pieces of Victorian furniture, but avoid the clutter associated with decorating schemes in authentic Victorian homes.