Are you in love with Victorian style? Romantic and traditional, this welcoming vibe is the core of famous collections like April Cornell’s and never goes out of date. Wait, you say, never? Well, the recent obsession with mid-century modern decor has dominated recently, but it’s becoming clear from recent trade shows that a new cycle of Victorian styles will soon fill our homes with lace, ruffles, and dreamy botanical prints. If you are more than ready for the return of Victoriana, there’s no better place to start than with your windows.

To get a sense of how to treat windows with Victorian flair, we only have to look back a little to the 1980s and early 1990s. At that time, Victorian-inspired home decor was all the rage. Homes were lush with flowery patterns, intricate lace, ballooning valances, and ruffles. Color palettes were muted, dominated by soft rose pinks and chalky blues and every degree of off-white and pure white. Windows were often treated with heavy ornate drapes made of velvet and brocade fabrics that were tied back with tassels, ruffles, or fringe. The overall look was complex but alluringly hospitable and warm.

A new wave of Victorian style is likely to be a more simple take on the past, with fewer embellishments but more attention to fusing the style with modern furniture and new ideas like wall murals and DIY-crafted furniture and lighting. The industrial “Steampunk” look is more popular than ever and is also a herald back to turn-of-the-century times.

Curtains & Drapes

The curtains of true Victorian times had a more functional purpose than today as they were the window “screens” protecting the interior of the home from outdoors when the window was open. Curtains and drapes were also a way to create privacy, capture cold air, and keep the space warm for those long nights by the fire knitting, sewing, or listening to someone read a book out loud. 

Layering different varieties of drapes served a practical purpose back then, but it was also a beautiful way to dress the windows and created a sense of regal elegance. To herald back today, you can begin with a quick and easy treatment such as our Heritage Lace Blosson Valance or our Opulence White Textured Semi-Sheer Curtain with Valance. Even a small piece like this will create depth and shadow, capturing and directing natural light through your bedroom or other space. 

For a formal living room, you can hang sheer lacy or ruffled panels along the length of the window and add another rod for drapes to hang on the sides. For even more style, add a balloon valance or cornice at the top. In the kitchen, a quaint set of lacy cafe curtains like these by Heritage Lace captures the dreamy romance of a Victorian homestead (and invites your cat up to the sill for some bird-watching).

Tiebacks

No matter if you decide on layering or single-layer for your window treatment, you can add a touch of classy Victorian style with a pair of tiebacks. Sometimes, tie-backs are even included with your curtain set such as with our Sarah Priscilla Ruffle Curtain. You can also buy tiebacks separately or make them yourself using ribbon, fabric, strips of lace, even belts! Try a few different ideas to get a sense of what color and texture best compliments your treatment.

Keeping your tiebacks tidy might require installation of some simple hardware like a tieback holder. You can also keep them in place with a few tack nails gently tapped into place, but this prevents you from easily freeing the curtains or drapes when you want to block light or create privacy. Tiebacks don’t always pull the drapes to the sides of the window — you can also use them to gather a center panel (such as with our Splendor Batiste Door Panel) or a series of panels. In this case, you won’t be able to rely on hardware to hold the tiebacks in place, so you’ll need to secure them to the panel using velcro or another method, such as sewing them into place. 

Once you have put a Victorian spin on your windows, you might be more inclined to relax and settle in. Any room abundant with the elements of Victoriana has a magical feel that can’t be rivaled by more modern styles. Wrap up in a beautiful throw and brew a cup of tea. Load a Victorian novel onto your e-Reader (maybe “Oliver Twist”?) and fall into the dream of times gone by.