How to create an impressive Victorian hallway


How to create an impressive Victorian hallway

Hallways were important to the Victorians. They were the area where guests first entered the house and were welcomed. As such the Victorians felt that this was a great opportunity to show off their wealth and good taste. This manifested itself in a number of areas.

What are the key areas for decorating a Victorian hallway?

Victorian Hallway Floors

Victorian hallways usually had an intricate multi coloured mosaic floor, in a variety of different patterns, which often followed through from the garden path (in a town house) and porch. These patterns were usually created by the original builder of the house. These tiles were expensive to lay because of the fiddly nature of getting the pattern perfect, so these tiles were usually limited to the hallway only, less often into a reception room. 

Victorian tile collection - view now

Victorian Hallway Walls

On the walls of a Victorian hallway you would traditionally have found 3 different paint colours – all wood work including dado and skirting would have been one colour, sometimes dark brown or more often a shade of white. Then above the dado would have been a lighter colour than below the dado rail with anglypta textured wallpaper often hung and then painted below the dado rail to cover up any cracks in the plaster and make the walls hard wearing where they were expected to be knocked and brushed against. Anaglypta comes in a variety of designs and is easily painted. The typical Victorian colours used were shades of red, burgundy or terracotta.

Victorian cast iron radiators

Wealthier households would probably have installed the newly invented steam powered cast iron radiator if funds allowed towards the end of the Victorian period. These were large objects, and sculptural, and today many interesting and different designs are available which date from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. These cast iron radiators can be ornate and decorative, or plain and functional echoing designs used historically in churches and schools with beautiful yet functional thermostatic radiator valves and that can be painted in numerous different colours with different paint effects such as metallic or antiqued, where the details of the design are picked out in a highlight paint colour.

Dorchester Radiator with highlights

The Victorian Emporium's Dorchester Radiator with highlights 

Often there would have been a wall hung pendulum clock or a freestanding grandfather clock and a hat and coat rack made from dark wood.

Victorian heating collection - view now

Stair runner carpet

And onto the stairs. Stair runner carpet, a kind of carpet rug, was again used for decorative purposes. The typical design was an ornate Persian style in reds and rich colours, although plain red was also a popular choice. Historically stair rods were used to hold the carpet in place but as these often resulted in accidents, as time went on other fixings were also used for safety. Modern stair runner carpets come in variety of different designs and varying widths to fit all types of staircases, and many also have matching rugs available. These are easy to fit on straight runs even by competent DIYers, but more difficult going around corners. However a professional carpet fitter can make the joins in the corners invisible using a mitre join giving an impressive finish on landings and hallways. This makes the pattern look continuous.

Hall runner carpet

One of The Victorian Emporium's hall runner carpets

The Victorian Emporium sells the a great range of Victorian hallway mosaic tiles for your hallway. We also sell an extensive choice of cast iron radiators, radiator valves, stair runner carpet and stair rods to make your Victorian hallway renovation complete.

For more tips and advice from some of our customers, have a read of our article "Things I wish I'd known before buying my period house". You can read our ultimate guide to period property renovation here.

Categories: Décor   Tags: cast iron radiators, flooring, interior design, tiles