December 5, 2022
Have you been streaming period-style dramas like Belgravia and The Gilded Age like we have? If you, too, are a fan of vintage fashion and sumptuous interiors, you may have felt inspired by the rich Victorian opulence of these productions.
Who among us hasn’t had thoughts of living in grand style. Especially around Christmas time. Imagine… this year with a 15 foot tree in your mahogany-paneled salon lined with Persian Sultanabad rugs with candlelight glimmering off your Imari porcelain dishes with gilt edges? Then thoughts of dusting, polishing, and lack of in-house staff are real dream-killers.
But, you don’t have to be a Vanderbilt to add a little Victorian style to your Christmas decor. We pulled together a couple of style boards with some inspiration including a few great items that have Victorian spirit.
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Set the Victorian mood with touches of luxurious ornament such as
1. Gold embroidery and beading really sparkle.
3. A vintage swatch of lux fabric for a pillow or napkins,
4. Glimmering gold candle clips with real (or safer battery operated) candles add an authentic pre-electricity vintage glow.
5. Cire Trudon was making candles in the Victorian era with glorious scents that will always sets a mood.
7. Welcome guests with a wreath of fruits and berries, often used in decor to show and invite great prosperity!
What is Victorian style exactly?
A good question. Truth is, it is many things.
Queen Victoria's reign (1837 until her death in 1901) spanned many decades. The incredible growth and cultural influence of the British Empire gave birth to many art movements including new and revival architectural and decorative styles. The industrial expansion of this period not only generated great wealth but broadened the audience for designed goods through innovations in manufacturing and print production.
Increased trade, imperial expansion, and increased opportunities for leisure travel for the newly affluent classes inspired great interest in the design styles of other cultures. All resulting in a taste for refined, well-traveled eclectic interiors.
Victorian style is often thought of as traditional and OTT (over-the-top) but so is Christmas!
In fact, Christmas and Victorian style have a very special connection. Although the tradition of decorating evergreen trees began long before Queen Victoria's reign, the Queen and her consort Prince Albert are largely credited for popularizing the decorated Christmas tree. In 1845 a lithograph depicting the royal family gathered together around a beautifully decorated tree was widely published, and sparked a trend that has become a tradition we all know and love today.
Then and Now
If you love the richness of Victorian style you may wonder, if you don’t already have a period-accurate Victorian home, how does one incorporate Victorian style without breaking the bank?
Touches of ornamentation and classic traditional shapes in decorative accessories can work really well in modern spaces. There are many current and beloved decorative styles that incorporate 19th century/Victorian style details. “Farmhouse Chic” often features 19th century gilt frames, baskets, wide floor boards or spindle back chairs and more. The “Paris Apartment” style is equally eclectic with clean white ornate moldings, gilded frame mirrors, and marble fireplace mantels. These trends are great references for how Victorian detail can feel fresh.
Here are some more great items to think about when putting together your own “gilded” Christmas!
Evergreen traditions like
8. Richly faceted Morovian stars that warmly glow.
9. These great ornate gold frames from Anthropologie are perfect all year round.
10. Foil-stamped paper stars are cheap and sooo effective.
11. Dessert plates with a fresh and humorous combination of 19th century lithographs and classic china patterns.
12. Everyone loves velvet ribbon and they are so lux.
13. A Gilded wreath.
14. Gorgeous printed wrapping paper reminiscent of 19th century wallpapers and leather bound book endpapers.
15. Luxurious embroidered velvet stockings.
16. Modern plates with gold rims fit right in.
17. Classic “hand” knocker.
18. You can find beautiful teapots and full antique tea services on Etsy or Ebay for reasonable prices.
19. You’ll need some tea and you can get Fortnum&Mason teas in gorgeous decorative tins.
20. Be sure to bring the romance of the Victorian era into your home by hanging a kissing ball of ivy and mistletoe!