This eternally popular home decor style is named for the period when the British Queen Victoria reigned. She was on the throne from 1837 to 1901 - an exceptionally long reign in royal history. This was the height of the British Empire and the Queen and the people of this era, especially the rising middle classes, left a huge legacy around the world.
The industrial revolution had created a new population of middle class people who for the first time had money to spend. They wanted to furnish their homes in a way that showed off their prosperity and status. And boy did they show it off! The taste in this era was highly decorative and ornate.
Typical home decor elements included heavy and substantial looking furniture made in dark woods, elaborate carvings, exaggerated curves, and very ornamented details including extravagant hardware. Popular materials included mahogany and rosewood to give that dark and luxurious look to furniture, as well as sturdy iron and marble.
This was also an era when the middle class started to have a lively social life, entertaining their friends with dinner parties and other gatherings. This placed an emphasis on the public reception rooms in a house. Everyone wanted to impress so they were happy to splurge on fashionable furniture to decorate these spaces used for socializing.
Furniture design pulled on various styles from the past, especially Gothic style and also Renaissance and Louis XV Rococo, all creatively reinterpreted. These revival styles were popular among the fashion leaders and influencers of the time. Queen Victoria especially championed the extravagant French Rococo style and in the USA, Mary Todd Lincoln also appreciated the Rococo look. As such, gilding with gold leaf also returned to fashion as a way to convey a sense of wealth.
Homeowners loved to mix all these influences together in their interior design. Their exuberant tastes included the ornate and decorative patterns on rugs and wallpapers, which showed themes and designs drawn from all corners of the British Empire, especially India.
Whether you own a Victorian home or just love to decorate in this style, you will find plenty to love in our collection of antique and new furniture with high-quality period reproductions of pieces for every room.