One of the most visually stunning styles of decorating can be classified as Victorian. This style comes about from a time period known as the Victorian Era, which was named after Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 to 1901. This era also coincides with the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. It was an exciting time of cultural, artistic, political, scientific and technological change and advancement.
Victorian style lighting comprised of elaborate designs and included everything from candles, oil lamps, gas and electric lights. Perhaps one of the most famous designers of Victorian style lighting was Louis Comfort Tiffany. Not only well known for stunning stained glass designs, Tiffany lamps can also have fabric and glass beaded fringe shades, a popular style for Victorian decor. These feminine yet elegant lamps are typically less expensive than their stained glass counterparts. These table and desk lamps were commonly used for bedroom night stands or sofa end tables. Dining rooms and parlors usually had some type of formal chandelier or hanging pendant light. Hallways and foyers were good places for some type of fancy wall sconce.
Victorian architecture was at one time considered by critics over indulgent. In Europe, much of the Victorian architecture was considered Gothic Revival Architecture because of the similarity these stone buildings shared with Medieval cathedrals and castles. In the United States, ornately decorated houses became known as gingerbread houses. Examples of Victorian style homes can be found in cities throughout the country, one of the most notable being San Francisco. Of all the different Victorian architecture styles, Queen Anne is known as the most elaborate with classic characteristics such as round or square towers, wrap around, fanciful porches, large bay windows, steep roofs and extremely asymmetrical shapes. Many of these exquisite homes have been refurbished into bed and breakfasts, inns, museums or even offices.
Victorian decor is known for its intricate carvings and embellishments, whether its made from wood, wrought iron, brass, glass or cast iron. Sometimes Victorian decorating is associated with being cluttered. However, when its done right, Victorian style is rich in culture, color and art. Much of the art in the Victorian era was inspired by the natural world and exotic places. Victorian decor will often include images of flowers, vines, trees, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies and more. Exotic cultures and places are often reflected in Victorian decorating, such as Oriental art, Middle Eastern and African decor and furniture made from tropical wood such as teak and rattan. Beautiful, dark hardwood floors covered by colorful rugs, heavily draped windows, crown moldings and intricately designed wallpaper are common elements in Victorian decorating.
Victorian style does not stop with the home. A Victorian yard will consist of hanging decorative baskets filled with delicately flowering plants, flower beds and pots filled with an assortment of flowers. Trellises and arbors covered with ivy or vines are common. Cast iron fences, yard stakes, bird baths, fountains and garden benches as well as gazing balls, wind chimes, sun catchers, garden stepping stones and birdhouses are all decorative embellishments one would find in a Victorian garden.