The Victorian Gothic interior is everywhere right now, on our screens with Great Expectations and Penny Dreadful, and increasingly in our own homes. If you feel like grabbing a bit of Goth-glam behind closed doors, follow these style cues to get the look.
Gothic style originated in France way back in the 1100s and held court in the grandest cathedrals and palaces for four centuries. It fell out of favor for a while but was then revived by the Goth-greedy Victorians who fell in love with its sense of drama.
Today we’re just as crazy to go Goth, and the good news is there are plenty of interesting and fun ways to introduce this signature look at home.
How do we go about packing in Gothic detail? Start with the basics and choose shades that reflect the right atmosphere. Deep blood red, purple, gold, black, slate gray and midnight blue all fizz with drama and provide the perfect backdrop to a Gothic scene. If you are a pattern lover, try some Pugin inspired paper on a signature wall and pick out key colors elsewhere in the room. Alternatively, Pugin patterns can be echoed in cushions, upholstery and throws.
Lighting should be dramatic with long shadows cast mysteriously across a room. Achieve this look with a well-placed floor lamp, wall sconces and chandeliers, all working together to create interesting shapes and moods.
Salvage yards, antique sales and auctions make great places to find Gothic goodies. Look for architectural pieces such as stone window arches, stained glass panels, gargoyles, mantelpieces and balustrades. Emulate the ecclesiastical influences in Gothic style by using stained glass, which filters jeweled light into a room. If you can’t find any original pieces, join a stained glass class to design and make your own to suit the scheme. Black wrought iron is another material that sits well with this style, and whether it’s a scrolled four-poster bed frame, regal throne or candelabra, it fits perfectly.
You can also furnish a room with heavy pieces in dark, carved wood. Round card tables draped with velvet tasseled cloths evoke the Victorian age beautifully; top with a delicate vase of magenta lilies to seal the deal. A simpler but no less authentic impression is achieved with long trestle tables set with pewter chargers and goblets, surrounded by high backed chairs with arch detailing. Place candlesticks on stone mantelpieces topped by an arch shaped gilt mirror – the glass will reflect soft candlelight into the room in a magical way.
Large, gilt framed oil paintings of dramatic landscapes, dour looking military men or simpering Jane Austen types add another layer of interest and mystery that will redirect our gaze back in time. Original oil paintings can be pricey, but sometimes antique auctions have examples going cheaply.
Some people choose to interpret the Gothic interior in a darker way, referencing details and elements from legend and pop culture. Accessories that reference crucifixes, bats, altars, mythical creatures, coffins and the dark arts are very popular and, if used sparingly, can add interest and focus to a room.
Isn’t it time you had a Gothic moment at home? With so many exciting styles, ideas and themes, it’s a fantastic way of bringing life and color to a tired interior.