Victorian and period style lighting – how to achieve the authentic Victorian effect


Victorian and period style lighting – how to achieve the authentic Victorian effect

A very important point to make is that Victorian lighting was not very bright, especially outdoor lighting. A gas street lamp only illuminated a few feet around its post and as they were placed at some distance apart a lot of the outdoors was not illuminated at all. It could be said that any exterior Victorian lighting served the purpose of providing distant points of brightness to aim for. So when choosing exterior lighting for your Victorian property you should not overdo either the quantity of lamp posts and lanterns or the brightness of the bulbs you use in them. To create authentic looking period style lighting you need to be guided by the period to some degree!

What period style lighting should I choose for the interior of my Victorian home?

In Victorian homes lighting was used sparingly. There were several small pools of light created in each room, next to chairs and over tables rather than a large central bright light in every room. The Victorians feared that bright light both natural and artificial would fade fabrics, wallpapers and paints. They used several layers of curtains including nets, voiles and more heavy curtains to keep intense sunlight out of rooms.

Victorian Bracket Lamp

When the sun went in and it was chilly they would have a fire in each room. They also used lamps and lanterns to illuminate the interior of their homes, again with bulbs that were not too bright but that created localized pools of light that enabled them to read, sew and work without difficulty.

victorian lighting

If you wish to recreate the Victorian effect it is best to follow these rules. Keep the wattage of your light bulbs at the level needed for the usage of the room, therefore brighter in kitchens and home offices, and softer in reception rooms and bedrooms. Use several lights that give out relatively small pools of light rather than one central light. And choose fittings that enhance the overall décor of the space.

Victorian Wroght Irion Interior Lamp

In kitchens use more utilitarian lighting styles and more decorative lighting including chandeliers and decorative lanterns in reception rooms. Table lamps should be used next to any chair, settee or bed used for reading and other activities requiring good lighting.

The Victorian Emporium sells a great choice of interior and exterior lighting for your period or Victorian home including historic Victorian lighting from the period. 

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