How to Decorate Your Living Room in Victorian Style

The Victorian living room is essentially a formal yet busy room, a living space that in its time was a little-used show room, where a family showed off its finest pieces. Following are some trademarks for the look.

Things You'll Need

  • Victorian-type Collectibles
  • Chairs
  • Curtains
  • End Tables
  • Fern Stands
  • Folding Screen (room Divider)
  • Framed Mirrors
  • Grandfather Clocks
  • Lace Doilies
  • Lamps
  • Pictures
  • Sofas
  • Throw Pillows
  • Tiered Victorian Display Shelves And Stands (whatnot Shelf)
  • Wall-hung Candleholders
  • Wallpaper Borders
  • Victorian-style China Plates Or Platters
  • Plate Hangers
  • Wood Mouldings

Mix up the colors in the room, and don't be shy when selecting hues. Victorians' favorite colors included mauve, purple, bottle-green and red, and a single room could use most or all of these colors.

Choose seating pieces that are upholstered in velvet, brocade, needlepoint and/or crewel-embroidered fabrics, and add toss pillows. Exposed wood is typical on the upholstered furnishings; examples would be carved feet and legs, arm rests, and wood trim along the upper backs of chairs and sofas.

Use a variety of occasional tables - carved, bamboo, faux bamboo, marble-topped, spindled - near the seating. Set traditional-style lamps, especially porcelain ginger-jar types, atop the tables, with crocheted doilies underneath.

Drape the windows with elaborate treatments including swags, valances and tiebacks. Trim the draperies (as well as pillows and upholstery in the room) with fringes, tassels, cords and braid.

Hang ancestral portraits, botanical pictures and mirrors on the walls. You may also hang Victorian-style plates or platters (such as Blue Willow and other transfer designs), candle sconces, old family photos (possibly in oval frames) and mirrors in elaborate gold or carved-wood frames.

Embellish the room with tall baseboard moldings and stacked crown moldings. Place a wallpaper border with a scroll, shell or faux-relief motif near the crown molding.

Accessorize the room with a wood-case grandfather clock, a tiered "whatnot" shelf and a fern stand. On tabletops, set out period-style collectibles (silver or brass candleholders, china dishes and glass paperweights).

Place a patterned area rug, with a leaf or scroll design or an Oriental pattern, over the wall-to-wall carpet or hard-surface flooring in the room.


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