Trending Victorian Interiors

September 24, 2017

Originally, the Victorian Era was named after Queen Victoria of England who reigned 1837-1901.  There were really at least five styles of homes that were used to describe the Victorian Era: Italianate, Gothic Revival, the Second Empire, Stick Style, and Queen Anne Revival.

Common Characteristics

The American farmhouse moved away from its colonial and Georgian predecessors in favor of irregular plans, more vertical proportions and preferred ornate gingerbread decoration.  Interiors included flowery wallpaper, patterned carpet, and dark, carved woodwork.  A popular architectural feature was to make the ceilings unrealistically high and the doors and windows tall and narrow as well.  This gave a sense of grandeur to these homes.

This period of time allowed people to manufacture ornate goods cheaper and faster.  Because of this, the craftsmanship often was not as good as it had been in previous eras, but the middle class didn't mind... they wanted to give the impression that they lived in luxury. 

Italianate Style

This style originally became popular in the 1830s. The style derived from Italy's rambling farmhouses, usually built of masonry, with their characteristic square towers and informal detailing. Our architects began to transform it into something truly American with only hints of its Italian origin.

Gothic Revival Style

The Gothic Revival style originally was part of the mid-1800s picturesque and romantic movement in architecture.  It reflected the public's taste for buildings inspired by medieval design. This was a real departure from the previously popular styles that drew inspiration from the classical forms of ancient Greece and Rome.  Houses in the country, row houses in the city, schools and churches all would be built in this style. 


Second Empire Style

The Second Empire is distinctively French in its history, because it refers to the 2nd Empire of France, and the reign of Napolean Bonaparte’s nephew, Napoleon III, 1852-1870.  It was during his reign that he declared that this look would be THE official look of the Second Empire.  Of course, we Americans seem to love almost anything French, so it’s no surprise that architects soon raised the French flag in their designs. 





Stick Style

The Stick style was a late-19th-century American architectual style, transitional between the Carpenter Gothic of the mid-19th century, and the Queen Anne style of the 1890s. It is named after its use of linear "stickwork" (overlay board strips) on the outside walls to mimic an exposed half-timbered frame.  The shape of the window is rectangular, creating a Box Bay window.  


Queen Anne Revival

The Queen Anne style in Britain refers to either the English Baroque architectural style popular during the reign of Queen Anne (reigned 1702–1714), or a revived form that was popular in the last part of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century (when it is also known as Queen Anne revival.)  

Shaker Style

In contrast to the ornate Victorian Era homes, the interiors of shaker buildings were free of ornamentation.  Furniture included benches, tables, chairs, storage cabinets and work tables. Floors were kept bare for easy cleaning.  The aesthetic pursuit of simplicity and efficiency alone seems to have been the driving principles that influence the design.  Most notable chair is the ladder-back chairs and rockers pictured directly below.








Influence of Gebrüder Thonet (pronounced Tawn’ at)

In conclusion

We hope that the photos, combined with sharing characteristics of each style within the Victorian trend has helped you be able to identify the interior attributes that you particularly love. 

Are you considering building or buying a home in one of these styles?  We can help, as we know the styles and what will work well within the home, in terms of decor.  Contact us via this website and we’ll set up a meeting so that you can share and fulfill your dream of owning one of these beauties in your future.  If you missed the previous blog on exterior styles of Victorian Architecture, you’ll want to go back one entry and read it, as it brings lots of interesting pictures and facts about each of the styles within the Victorian Era.


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