Victorian Homes

6 interior design tips for your Gothic revival inspired home

gothic revival

Mention gothic revival and most people think of dark nights, stained glass, spiking gables and grimacing gargoyles, but a gothic revival home doesn’t have to be something straight out of the Hammer House of Horror.

Gothic revival, also referred to as Victorian gothic, neo-gothic or even jigsaw gothic, generally refers to the period of mock-gothic architecture that was common in the second half of the 19th century.

gothic revival

In truth, however, the gothic style never really disappeared from the English landscape. It has been ever-present since the first gothic buildings enchanted passers-by at the end of the medieval period.

Architects were often asked to remodel medieval buildings in a way that blended in with nearby older styles – Christopher Wren, for example, added spectacular gothic elements to St Michael’s church in Cornhill and St Dunstan-in-the-East church, while Nicholas Hawksmoor remodelled the towers at Westminster Abbey in a sympathetic gothic style.

A gothic revival home harks back to the most beautiful elements of the Victorian gothic style, with ornate architectural designs and elegant touches. It’s about pattern, elegance and opulence. Even if you live in a bungalow you can borrow from the gothic revival architectural and interior design style. The advice is simple: be bold, be beautiful, be brave.

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1. Decorate rooms in the shades of the era

gothic revival

Think rich tones of gold, silver, heather, emerald, ruby and peacock blue, or a muted version of one of these bright shades.

Paint maker Crown offers a selection of Gothic Revival shades that draw on the leading style of the 1830s and 1840s, with rich, vibrant shades taken from the decorative motifs of the time.

2. Select opulent wallpaper

If you’re wallpapering your walls, select something opulent to make a strong design statement. It’s more typical to paper all four walls, but if you’re after a hint of gothic drama, one feature wall will suffice.

Look for texture and pattern, flocked paper in rich, jewel shades, dark shades such as pewter or even black, and deep natural shades of moss, burgundy and ocean blue.  Paper inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement – and in particular the work of William Morris – will do the trick.

gothic revival

3. Use natural candles and firelight

You can get the gothic revival feel in your home by using the natural glow of candle and firelight. If you’re not keen on using natural lighting or you don’t have a fireplace, you can cheat using modern practicality. Wrought iron chandeliers with candle bulbs that can be adjusted using a dimmer switch work just as well.

4. Use windows or stained glass

Most houses in the UK don’t have lancet windows – the tall, narrow, arched windows containing stained glass and surrounded by heavy mouldings – but you may be able to add architectural allure by using mirrors to represent windows or reclaimed stained glass windows on walls.

5. Choose fabrics to complement your dramatic walls

To complement your dramatic walls, choose fabric that reflects the bold choices you’ve made – use velvet, silk or satin, which scream decadence and opulence, and are heavy and luxurious.

Think full curtains, draped and accessorised with tie-backs and heavily-fringed valances in colours that complement the dark furniture of a gothic revival scheme.

6. Use wood around the house

Gothic revival interior design calls for the use of as much wood as possible – dark stained wooden floors, sturdy wooden furniture, wooden panelling on the walls and wooden window ledges.

Wood should be unpainted but stained to a dark mahogany colour to complement the rich shades used on walls and in fabrics. Cover floors with richly patterned oriental rugs in jewel shades to keep your room warm and add another layer of colour and texture.

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