Even experienced renovators have the same issues often choosing the same colours, styles of kitchen and flooring for all of their renovation projects once they see it has successfully worked once.
There are some basic principles of Victorian interiors and house restoration in general that you should stick to.
For example, for anything that’s damaged beyond repair such as original windows, doors, wooden and plaster mouldings, replace like for like as far as possible. Do not install plastic or aluminium windows – these will devalue your Victorian property, despite what the window salesman might say. Double glazed sash or casement windows in wood are widely available and are not cost prohibitive.
However you cannot get inspired with interior design ideas within a vacuum and the best place to start if you feel stumped is by doing lots of research. This is best done by visiting historic buildings and houses of the same era as your house and taking photographs of anything you like. The more research you can do the better. This will enable you to form an idea of how you want your finished project to look.
There are so many Victorian buildings from which to gain inspiration but here are some of the key properties that are definitely worth a visit and make for an enjoyable day out, even though many of them are not a domestic dwelling and whose interior design features will need to be scaled down to be applied within your project.
Top Victorian Buildings for Interior Design Inspiration
- Blists Hill Victorian Town
- St Pancras Station and the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
- The William Morris Gallery – great for interior design items such as wallpapers, fabrics and knick knacks
- Crystal Palace
- The Victoria and Albert Museum
- The Natural History Museum
- The Ashmolean Museum
- Chatham Docks
- Kew Gardens with its glasshouses
- The numerous Victorian pubs you will find in most towns and cities with their wonderful banquettes, lighting, wooden mouldings and stained glass.
There’s also a plethora of National Trust gems to visit whose décor, whilst on a grander scale, will be highly relevant to your project:
Carlyles House, London
Interiors typical of a19th-century Victorian townhouse, including a cosy parlour and drawing-room with its original upholstered furniture. Are you looking for help and advice for your London house refurbishment renovation project?
The first house in the world to be lit by electricity derived from water power and filled with its original ingenious gadgets and labour-saving devices.
Rebuilt in the 1880s with sumptuous Victorian interiors, complete with labyrinth of fascinating servants’ quarters, attic bedrooms and family rooms.
Red House, Bexleyheath
Includes numerous original features such as furniture designed by William Morris as well as wall paintings and stained glass by Edward Burne-Jones.
Standen, West Sussex
Full of William Morris wallpapers, Arts and Crafts furniture, innovative light fittings by W.A.S. Benson and ceramics and accessories by William de Morgan. Perfect for interior design inspiration!
Some key Victorian features to look out for on your visits to replicate in your own home:
- Decorative ironwork
- Fleurs de lys, heraldic motifs and quatrefoils
- Rich dark colours such as ruby red, forest green, and dark blue
- Wallpapers including flock and damask styles and large bold prints of flowers and foliage
- Heavily carved, or plump, over-stuffed furniture, including button-back armchairs, sofas and ottomans
- Patterned, encaustic floor tiles and stained or etched glass
- Highly patterned fabrics or strongly-coloured velvets, festoon blinds and sumptuous window treatments
- Ornate marble, slate or cast-iron fireplaces, inset with patterned tiles
- Plaster ceiling roses, typically decorative
- Plaster coving in every room and with a design and proportions that will depend on the ceiling height
- Wooden dado rail, picture rail, tall skirting boards, window and door architrave, again in proportion to ceiling heights and room dimensions
- Persian style rugs
- Victorian cast iron radiators and simple column style heating units
- Wall lights
We hope this article has helped with collating your Victorian interior design ideas and re-energising your project. If you need any help or guidance, please enquire about our house refurbishment project management service where we will be able to offer you a helping hand with the interior design of your project. You can read our ultimate guide to period property renovation here.