There’s been a renaissance in the popularity of Victorian interior decoration, with designers successfully incorporating beautiful heirlooms into modern homes. Creating a Victorian-inspired parlour can be remarkably easy as it only requires one or two key pieces of furniture. These can be enhanced with Victorian-inspired decorative features and statement houseplants that were so loved in that era!
The Victorian years were important ones for Britain, as they marked a period of great change. The Industrial Revolution brought wealth to many people and with it, a love of lavish and ornate properties. Large Victorian houses often had solariums, greenhouses and atriums as the Victorians loved plants – especially exotic ones such as palms, ferns, beautiful jasmine, hibiscus and fuchsia.
For the first time, furniture was no longer made by individual craftsmen but by numerous workers and machines in factories. Rooms were spacious with high ceilings. Styles were large and curvaceous with carved detail and button embellishments on the fabric. The classic examples of Victorian furniture include the leather Chesterfield sofa, large mahogany sideboards and dining tables with claw and ball feet.
Victorian Interior Ideas
In a Victorian parlour, the walls were often painted in dark colours such as forest green or claret. A feature wall in one of these colours works well in a modern house, with the other walls covered with period floral wallpaper. In keeping with the period, using decorated cornicing that featured patterns of fleur-de-lys, garlands, wreaths and ovals will complete the look.
Curtains in the Victorian home were voluminous, floor-length and pleated. Sumptuous fabrics such as velvet and damask were in rich plain colours. Curtains were also extravagantly lined in silk or fine wool and hung on gilded curtain rails or complemented by pelmets covered in the same fabric. Layered closest to the windows were the first mass-produced Scottish lace.
You can mirror the colour and fabric of the curtains as well as the floral designed wallpaper by scattering cushions. Tassels can be added as trims on curtain ties and cushions as these were much loved by the Victorians too!
There were plenty of ornaments on display including pretty chintz china tea sets. These were felt to be the sign of good taste – and wealth. In complete contrast to the modern minimalism… more was definitely more!
With lofty ceilings, large paintings, sizeable wall tapestries and grandfather clocks were popular. To garner the flooring of that period use either a beautiful wooden parquet floor or smart tiling.
No Victorian parlour was complete without magnificent plants. The Victorians loved large lush houseplants which were usually placed in metal and wicker pots and sometimes displayed in tiers. Palms and ferns of all kinds were popular and so was the Aspidistra (Cast Iron plant) as it was deemed a ‘good-natured’ plant that refused to die! More exotic and equally popular plants included the Abutilon from Brazil with large, vibrant, bell-shaped flowers. The Jerusalem Cherry, with its pretty white flowers that turn into reddish-orange berries, was also much-loved.
The Victorians adored ivy and encouraged them to grow up walls and along bannister rails.
In Victorian times, the lady of the house or her servants had plenty of time to tend to the houseplants to ensure they always looked perfect. Today, life is much busier, so choosing gorgeous faux plants is the ideal way to complete ‘the look’ without all the hard work!