It’s Victoria's Day, here in Canada!
For our American and abroad readers, Victoria Day is essentially a bank holiday commemorating Queen Victoria's birthday!
So, what better way to celebrate Queen Victoria than to look at the style named after her?
Well, it isn’t exactly named after her, but the Victorian style is named after the era in which she reigned in the United Kingdom.
First, let’s go over a quick background of the Victorian era. This era was one of extreme class differentiations. The rich got richer, and the working class got poorer, creating a very distinct difference between the classes. As well as that the middle-upper class was growing.
This led to some incredible architectural advances and thus the Victorian style was born.
Photo Courtesy of Decoist
The Victorian style itself is actually less of a style and more of an encompassing of multiple styles that took off during the Victorian era. Some of those styles include Gothic Revival, Folk Victorian, Greek Revival Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, and more… (Hohenadel, 2022).
Because these styles all had similar aspects, the Victorian style became the base design with different architects adding flairs of a particular different style into their designs. And the final combination of these styles became known as the Victorian style.
The Victorian style was also taken to many of the British colonies. Although these were adapted for different places based on what building materials were available.
However, even though this, the Victorian style has a few constants.
Inside most Victorian-style buildings you would find grand staircases, every space being its own room, meaning a lot of walls within the floor plan, high ceilings, ornately carved wood paneling, heavy drapes, decorative wallpaper, and more… (Hohenadel, 2022).
Due to the invention of steam-powered sawmills, the ornate wood paneling and trim became highly popular, as even the lowest classes could afford it.
So, you guessed it, a staple of most Victorian interior design is dramatically carved wood paneling. Whether it be through wainscotting, the trim, or the banister on the grand staircases, the wood is a very important feature.
Unlike the modern minimalistic design, the Victorian style thrives on maximalist style. Ornate and almost eccentric, Victorian interior design feature bright colors and cluttered rooms.
And maybe the cluttered look is almost thanks to the saturated colors used on the walls and furniture. It’s also known that generally Victorian style features dark wood and dark iron railings. That darkness and highly saturated colors can lend themselves to a more cluttered feel. Add in the fact that generally Victorian style separates each room with walls, making every room feel more compact.
Although created in the 19th century, the Victorian style is still popular today. In fact, you know of some popular Victorian-style buildings…
Some of the most famous buildings designed in the Victorian style are:
1. The Palace of Westminster – London, England.
This palace was constructed at the peak of the Victorian era by Augustus Pugin and Charles Barry. The construction of the palace took 30 years and is still a very famous landmark today!
2. The Painted Ladies – San Francisco, CA.
The collection of Queen Anne-style homes along Steiner Street in SF is some of the most photographed houses! They were designed and built near the end of the Victorian era by Matthew Kavanaugh.
3. The Royal Albert Hall – London, England.
It finally opened in 1871, and since then the Royal Albert Hall is still one of the premiere performance venues in England. It was designed by Henry Darracott Scott.
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Gray, L. (n.d.). Victorian Architecture. Retrieved from HGTV:
Hohenadel, K. (2022, February 24). What Is Victorian Architecture? Retrieved from The Spruce:
Jones, R. (2021, September 21). The history of the Royal Albert Hall. Retrieved from Classical Music:
Steinbach, S. (n.d.). Victorian Era. Retrieved from Britannica: