When most people hear the words, Victorian Gothic, their minds immediately envision black walls and decrepit, creepy, haunted-looking homes.
In fact, Victorian Gothic is an architectural movement that dates all the way back to the 1740s. This era boasts gorgeous, ornate architectural designs that current homeowner’s want to replicate, for good reason.
The Gothic-revival movement is full of amazing, ornate and elegant details that can be created in your own home today. If you desire a home that is well-decorated with opulent details and decorative patterns, then read these 10 tips to achieve a Victorian Gothic-inspired home today.
1) Dramatic Elegance
Victorian Gothic decor is all about drama and elegance. This style is not for the faint of heart— it is all about making a statement. The lavish interiors of a Victorian Gothic home will be draped in high-end fabrics, curved ornate furniture, and plenty of decorative details.
Take some online tours of Victorian Gothic homes to get a taste of the styling options that this era offers. If the high-end drama is too much for you, then consider just adding a small sampling of this dramatic style —it can be as simple as adding a few bold colors combined with a large elegant chandelier.
Or you could go all out by adding all 10 of the spectacular Victorian Gothic elements that are listed here. Read on to see what dramatic elements you would like to add to your future Victorian mansion.
2) Wall Paper Adds Victorian Styling
Wallpaper is a must-have item if you desire a true Victorian Gothic-inspired home. There are numerous patterned wallpapers that could be used in order to achieve different versions of this style statement.
For a more traditional Victorian style, then consider adding elegant wallpaper with textures and patterns of damask or brocade. If you desire extreme elegance and drama, then consider trying wallpaper that is flocked with velvet texture. A bold flocked pattern that features rich colors such as black, gold or deep burgundy, will certainly add Victorian flair to your home.
If wallpaper scares you and seems like too deep a commitment to make, then consider going bold with paint color. Listed below you will find some paint colors to consider — guaranteed to embody the Victorian Gothic style.
3) Colors to Choose
While black is definitely a color to consider for your Victorian Gothic palette, it must be used in moderation — unless you want the ‘haunted mansion’ look.
All the colors of this elegant time were bold, rich and dramatic. Walls were papered or painted in amazing colors such as, emerald green, deep burgundy, ruby red, and dark ocean blue.
Earth elements such as wood, brick and terra-cotta were also color components that could be found everywhere in these abodes. Dark, rich wood panels covered walls, brick and stone were used for walls and in ornate trim elements (you can read below about Boss architecture used in these homes).
Over all, choose rich jewel-tone colors or deep natural colors to achieve this bold design.
4) Fabrics to Choose
Just like the wall coverings, your fabric choices should be bold, dramatic and elegant. The ambiance that silk or velvet draperies add to a home can create a spectacular style statement.
When seeking out this design, look towards fabrics of silk, satin, and velvet in bold colors, patterns and textures. Velvet could be used in the curtains or upholstery. Satin could also be used in the curtains, bedding and pillows. Essentially anything that hints towards glamour and decadence is key for fabric choices.
Tapestries also play an imperative part in the homes textiles. Imagine a huge antique tapestry hanging from an 11-foot high wall. Amazing tapestries can also be used in pillows, curtains, and upholstery. All of these grand fabrics and textiles add another ingredient to create a Victorian Gothic home.
5) Drapery Styles to Choose
Now that we know what fabrics to choose for our draperies, we have to choose the style of the actual drapery design. Draperies in the 1700s were both functional and decorative. The main purpose of a curtain panel was to stop drafts from coming into these less-than-airtight ancient homes.
In order to hold back the chill, long, heavy curtain panels were layered over all the windows, and over a lot of doorways. Even though your modern home is probably air-tight, when designing your draperies, you should consider using long, heavy drapery panels over all your windows (and some doors to achieve an authentic feel). Consider using this drapery style as a room divider, as well. For example, drape an elegant curtain panel to glamorously frame the doorway of a dining room.
Draperies should also be adorned with opulent tassels, tiebacks and fringe. These embellishments add another layer of drama to your decor, helping to achieve an opulent Victorian Gothic home.
6) Victorian-Gothic Accessories
The flair for drama continues with the choice of accessories. Victorian Gothic homes are always adorned in layers of ornate accessories.
When shopping for accouterments for your home, hunt for pieces that contain heavy wrought-iron, metal, wood, or stone. Items such as pottery bowls, carved wooden sconces, and wrought-iron lamps are all wonderful items to display on shelves and tables.
Ornately carved stone statues, huge wrought-iron chandeliers and heavy area rugs, can add that final piece-de-resistance to your Victorian Gothic decor. When shopping for these items consider all the possibilities — even a garden store may have some unique stone statues that could be brought into your home. Wouldn’t a gargoyle or stone cherub be amazing in your Victorian Gothic entryway?
7) Lancet Windows
A lancet window is a tall, narrow window that is pointed at its arch and is usually made of stained glass, surrounded by heavy moldings. Almost all medieval homes and churches contained this architectural motif.
While not all of us can just simply go add a lancet-style window to our current home, we can still add this architectural shape to our interior walls via mirrors or older, reclaimed stained glass windows hung as artwork.
Shop around flea markets for older stained glass windows in the lancet style, or simply look for modern mirrors that have this tall arched design.
These lancet-style accessories can be hung from your walls to create a trompe-l’oeil effect of an ancient lancet window.
8) Lighting that Adds Victorian Elegance and Drama
Envision an old castle. Do you think the room was lit by LED lightbulbs? No, of course not. There were candles everywhere, instead.
Large wrought-iron or heavy wood-carved candlesticks are ideal ways to add light to your Victorian Gothic home. The glow of candles creates an atmosphere of old-world elegance.
In our modern times, candles cannot be our only method of lighting a room, so be flexible and inventive with this aspect of the design. Consider hanging a huge wrought-iron chandelier in your entryway or placing ornately carved lamps to your side tables.
There are also many brands of lightbulb that mimic the flicker of a candle flame —wouldn’t these be amazing in your chandelier?
9) Molding’s Add Detail
Molding is everywhere in a Victorian Gothic home. Thick crown molding lines all of the ceiling edges. Square panels decorate the walls. Chair rails run the length of hallways. Dark wood wainscot panels are used in the homes library.
Literally, trim is used throughout the entire Victorian Gothic home — inside and out. Here is the great thing about this design feature — it’s easy to add to any home!
If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, then consider hiring a skilled contractor to add molding to your home. Look through online images of Victorian homes to garner inspiration. You will be surprised at all the ways that you can add molding into your home, and the finished effect is amazing!
10) Boss Architecture
Wikipedia defines Boss architecture as, ‘ …a knob or protrusion of stone or wood’. The definition goes on to explain that bosses can often be found in vault ceilings and are often intricately carved with foliage, heraldic devices and other ornately carved decorations.
Carvings of animals, faces and birds are common in Boss architecture. Sometimes grotesque gargoyle-style faces can be found, as well.
This architectural element can be added to your Victorian Gothic home in numerous ways. Consider adding a carved stone or wood statue of a gargoyle onto your shelf. Or flank a pair of huge stone statues inside and outside your homes entryway. Or even consider finding an old relic of actual Boss architecture and add it to your homes vaulted ceiling beams.
There are so many layers of Victorian Gothic style to add to your home. If you want to accurately reflect this time-period, then add all the sumptuous elements of fabric, texture, color, wallpaper, draperies, lancet windows, moldings and Boss architecture to your home today.
If this seems over-board, then consider adding a few bold accent pieces through color choices or draperies. That’s the great thing about any style statement — you can go big and bold, or you can aim to be more austere by adding hints of this statement throughout your home.