Victorian Design Secrets for Ornate, Timeless Interiors 

Updated: July 24, 2024
Use deep, saturated colors like emerald, ruby, sapphire for drama Incorporate ornately carved woods and tufted leather furniture Layer in opulent fabrics like brocade, velvet, and lace Add mood lighting with stained glass, chandeliers, sconces Display collections and antiques in curio cabinets Frame windows with heavy curtains, swags, fringes Roll out patterned rugs with bold florals and fringe Accent with ferns, orchids, taxidermy for organic touches Create a luxe, romantic atmosphere with Victorian style
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The Victorian era conjures images of ornate architecture, rich colors, and dramatic silhouettes. While Victorian style may seem outdated to some, its timeless elegance and allure persist even today. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history, elements, and best practices of Victorian interior design to help you achieve this romantic look in your own home.

The Victorian period spanned Queen Victoria’s rule over England from 1837 to 1901. It was a time of great social and technological change, which influenced architecture and interior design. The Industrial Revolution enabled mass production of decorative items like wallpapers, fabrics, and furnishings. Middle class prosperity also fueled a desire for opulent displays of wealth and status.

What is Victorian Interior Design?

Victorian interior design combines bold patterns, dark colors, and luxurious textures to create an ornate, yet cozy aesthetic. It emerged as a backlash against the reserve of Georgian style. Victorians embraced rich colors, embellishments, and heavy drapery. InteriorxDesign.com notes this as a celebration of all things beautiful, nostalgic, and romantic.

History of Victorian Interior Design

Early Victorian style from 1837-1860 remained influenced by Regency style. Patterns and colors were bolder, but furnishings were still slender and sparse. The late Victorian period from 1860-1901 saw a shift towards over-the-top opulence. This era encompassed several revitalization movements like Neo-Gothic, Neo-Rococo, and the Aesthetic movement. The latter pushed back against industrialization by focusing on handcrafted furniture and simplicity.

The rise of the bourgeoisie meant more people could decorate their homes. Mass production enabled access to fabrics, wallpapers, and trinkets at various price points. Popular influences included Gothic and Rococo revivals, Japonisme from trade with Japan, and Orientalism sparked by colonialism.

Characteristics/Elements of Victorian Interior Design

Patterns: Florals, paisleys, damasks, and eccentric geometric designs cover every surface. Victorians loved dense, overlapping patterns and bold contrasts.

Colors: Deep, saturated jewel tones like ruby red, emerald green, rich blues, and metallic accents. Black is also prevalent.

Textures: Dense, heavy fabrics like velvet, brocade, and lace. Fringes, tassels, and beading for embellishment.

Furniture: Ornately carved woods, embellished with ceramic/glass knobs. Tufted leather and velvet upholstery.

Lighting: Elaborate chandeliers, sconces, and table/floor lamps. Stained, colored glass for mood.

Accessories: Collections like taxidermy, bugs, herbs. Decadent picture frames, vases, and sculptures.

Wallpaper: Busy patterns like florals and geometrics. Flocked velvet, embossed, saturated colors.

Flooring: Polished woods with patterned rugs. Encaustic tile in geometric designs.

How to Achieve the Victorian Interior Design Look

Victorian design creates a lavish, romantic atmosphere. Here are some key tips for bringing this timeless elegance into your home:

Focus on the Entryway

Make a dramatic first impression with an intricate wallpaper pattern or vividly painted walls in the entry. Hang a crystal chandelier and incorporate stained glass or an ornate mirror. Display collected items on accent tables.

Layer in Rich Colors

Stick to a palette of jewel tones like sapphire blue, emerald green, garnet red. Add drama with contrasting colors like purple and yellow. Use this color abundantly in upholstery, rugs, drapes, and accessories. Black is also a classic Victorian accent.

Select Opulent Fabrics

Velvet, brocade, and damask instantly create a luxurious feel. Look for fabrics with sheen, intricate patterns, and elaborate trim. Use heavy curtains, tufted headboards, and fringed lampshades.

Choose Ornate Furniture

Hand-carved woods with claw feet, scrolled arms, and embellishments. Tufted leather chairs and sofas. Add ornamental details like ceramic knobs and marble tops. Curio cabinets to display your collections.

Source Vintage Accessories

Look for Victorian accessories like taxidermy, insects, or skeleton keys to display. Incorporate ornate frames, lamps with beaded fringe, and sculptures.

Add Floral Wallpaper

Bold floral patterns instantly evoke Victorian style. Look for flocked, textured, embossed or beaded wallpapers for maximum impact. Use an accent wall in a dining room or as a backdrop in a bedroom.

Include Lush Window Treatments

Draw the eye upward with voluminous curtains, swags, and jabots framing the windows. Opt for velvet, brocade, or silk with tassel or fringe trim. Hang decorative rods and back with contrasting colors.

Use Patterned Rugs

Roll out rugs with dense florals, ornate medallions, paisleys, or geometrics. Choose ones with fringe edges and vivid colors. Layer them over hardwoods or tile flooring.

Add Mood Lighting

Use lamps with stained glass for an ethereal glow. Black wrought iron candle chandeliers also keep with the gothic vibe. Table lamps with beaded fringe shades provide a soft ambient light.

Incorporate Natural Elements

Botanical prints, ferns, taxidermy, and herbariums are Victorian mainstays. Display insect collections in shadowboxes or under glass cloches. Add a natural touch with dried flowers, feathers, and butterflies.

Best Practices/Tips for Victorian Interior Design

Here are some top tips for executing Victorian interior design flawlessly:

  • Accent with dark colors like black, emerald, ruby to create drama
  • Layer in texture with velvet, leather, brocade, and flocked wallpaper
  • Incorporate ornate carved woods for one-of-a-kind antique style
  • Display collected items like framed butterflies or skeleton keys
  • Light dark spaces with glass lamps, chandeliers, and sconces
  • Frame floral wallpaper with wide, decorative molding
  • Add heavy curtains, swags, fringes and tassels at windows
  • Upholster furniture in tufted leather or velvet for depth
  • Scatter embroidered pillows with trim and tassels throughout
  • Hang gilt-framed mirrors or art prints for reflective light
  • Opt for patterned rugs with fringe and saturated hues
  • Add candelabras, statues, bud vases for refined elegance
  • Include ferns, orchids, roses, and other lush greenery
  • Look for bezelled glass doors on curio cabinets and more


Victorian interior design is having a major resurgence, thanks to its timeless elegance and sense of refinement. By layering in rich colors, luxe fabrics, and ornate accents, you can bring Victorian romance into any space. Focus on creating an intimate yet opulent feel to truly capture the essence of this style. With its bold patterns, moody hues, and dramatic shapes, Victorian decor provides a welcome escape from sterile, minimalist trends. So embrace your inner romantic and get decadent with the iconic Victorian aesthetic.

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Mr. BS Parasher, Founder @ Interior x Design & UrbanDAC, For more than 20 years in the industry, He is the Top Interior Designer in Gurgaon & India's Premier Home Theater and Home Entertainment Designer, A Hi-end AV Expert with a deep passion, vision and knowledge about Interior Design.

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