|Decorating Victorian Style|
There is so much in the world today that I do not relate to, so I get a great amount of my daily inspiration for living from the world of the Victorian past. As a housewife, much of my daily life revolves around the traditions I inherited from my Anglo-American ancestors, as well as in the accents I add to my home. Victorian style decorating is as much about function as it is beauty.
Dress Your Bed in Beautiful Linens
Victorian housewives took such care to make the home a place of visual delight. With the domestic boom in middle-class households, the advent of large-scale manufacturing, ladies were able to purchase linen.
In people of good means, bedding and curtains were often changed for the seasons -- three to four times a year. I prefer to do this myself. You will never get bored of your decor this way.
One of my favorite themes in decorating is all white and cream bedding. This is especially useful in homes that have an absence of a lot of light from windows, or for people who like the cheerful feeling white and cream decor brings to their home.
It is certainly helpful for shaking off winter blues. Best of all, white and cream colors are appropriate for winter, spring, and summer -- especially good if you can't spend a lot of money changing colors for seasons.
Show Off a Tiffany-Style Lamp
These Victorian-era lamps were first introduced by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1893 at the Worlds Columbian Exposition. They soon became popular with housewives across the western world, and Tiffany-style lamps to this day are a cherished purchase and keepsake for the Victorian-inspired home.
In 2007 it was revealed that Tiffany lamps were actually designed by a woman, Clara Driscoll, and not Louis Comfort Tiffany himself.
The earliest versions of the lamps were also expensive and made for gas or kerosene, as electricity was not available in homes in the Victorian and Edwardian times in the United States.
These days, Tiffany-style lamps are not expensive but still provide the same beautiful look and warm glow. They are ideal for living rooms, drawing rooms, parlors, or even the bedroom.
Serve on a Set of Beautiful Dinnerware
If there is one function every homemaker in the 1800s prided themselves on, it was how to set a beautiful table to serve a delightful meal.
One of my most anticipated steps in becoming a housewife was entertaining for the first time on my new dinnerware. I beamed with delight when the pieces were all laid out perfectly on the table. At least two of my guests commented on the pretty pattern in addition to noticing how well the dishes matched my home decor.
So much is lost these days on traditions like setting the table for a formal dinner hour at home or a large Sunday meal after church with friends and family. I am keeping these traditions alive and I hope that you are too.
Keep a Blanket Chest for Treasured Items
My absolute favorite item in my home is a an inherited wooden blanket chest from my mother that dates back to my great-great grandmother receiving it as a gift in 1889 as a wedding gift from her father.
In the chest my great-great-grandmother stored a few dolls from childhood, her cherished letters and photos, and a few hand-sewn blankets. This piece of furniture was a standard item in Victorian-era homes, and I remember many people in the 1980s that still had these -- passed on from previous ancestors.
The blanket chest is still a tradition in some families. The chest is normally kept at the foot of the bed. It is sometimes used as a place to sit as well, to take off slippers and such. These chests are generally used to store wedding dresses, seasonal bedding, dried flowers from special events, or trinkets from your and your ancestors' lives -- anything that you really treasure or even want to keep at the ready.
Blanket chests are such beautiful and useful items to have, and this is one Victorian tradition I especially enjoy making use of in my home. I will cherish it forever.
When you add Victorian decor to your home, you are adding not only form and function, but pieces that will make memories for years to come.