Decorating in a Victorian Style? Don’t Forget the Old Prints!
Although Victorian interior design doesn’t suit everyone’s tastes, the Victorian style can be adapted and implemented in a variety of pleasing ways. Whether you decide to replicate a true Victorian drawing room, or simply wish to add a Victorian touch here and there, the following general themes can serve as a guide.
With color, you can go one of two ways. Light colorwashes typify rural homes in the early Victorian era, while deeply vibrant colors reflect the more upscale Victorian home. Bright colors, including reds, greens, oranges, and blues, are appropriate, as are deep, dark earth colors.
But the Victorian color story doesn’t stop there. Victorian rooms most often used one central color, but incorporated many other colors as well. The Victorians were not known for their tone-on-tone sensibilities. Green, blue, and yellow may be the palette of one room, while red, orange, and brown might be incorporated into another.
Color is only the first chapter in Victorian decorating, as the use of texture in Victorian rooms is key. Texture is achieved in a wide variety of ways. Moldings, for example, are a central element in Victorian design. Wallpaper is also used extensively, particularly floral, scrolled patterns and embossed wallpaper. Similarly, texture is achieved through techniques used in the application of paint, such as sponging, stenciling, and even painted leaves and trellises.
Texture is also expressed in Victorian interior design through the use of fabric. During the Victorian era, fabric was key, and was incorporated into heavy, ornate draperies that often featured elaborate valances with fringe and tassels. Furniture was covered in rich fabrications and upholstered in such a way as to add even more texture to the room.
A Modern Twist
Today’s eclectic decorating styles enable you to successfully bring a Victorian flair into your room or home without having to mimic every element of color, texture, and fabric. You can borrow from the rich color palette while maintaining modern furnishings, for example, or simply carry a Victorian theme throughout a single room or your home by using Victorian old prints.
Victorian Old Prints
Victorian old prints come from publications, such as magazines, newspapers, and books, from the 1800s. The antique prints are originals (as opposed to reproductions), and are prints made from either wood engravings or copper engravings. Many are in black in white, but others are hand colored.
Victorian old prints can reflect the social history of the era, with themes like architectural structures, fine art, and the theatre. They can also reflect historical events, such as war and battle ships. Many old prints depict the Victorian interest in classifying and cataloguing natural history, so you can find amazing botanical, bird, and animal prints.
Decorating with old prints is as simple as matting, framing, and hanging the art in your Victorian room or throughout your home. Victorian old prints bring a sense of authenticity and immediacy to your decorating efforts in a way that today’s fabrics, textures, and colors cannot.
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