Sunday, November 3, 2013

Victorian Decorating

My research for my new novel has brought me to some fascinating places. To quote:
Paper was rarely used on the ceiling in this period. Ceilings were generally decorated with a plaster or papier-mache center medallion from which hung a chandelier. The decoration was often based on leaves or a flower. Most critics of the period advised the use of a cornice to separate the walls and ceiling. If there was no cornice, then the wallpaper border would be used alone.

Graining and marbleizing appeared often on doors and woodwork. If you were having the house painted in oil paint, then the added cost for graining was slight. A coat of varnish was added to the decorative finish to protect it. This also made it smooth and therefore easier to dust and wash. Because of this, graining appeared often on doors, window sashes and baseboards, areas that were exposed to the most dirt....
Most American floors during the first half of the 1800’s were of softwood boards, often laid in random widths, and never stained and varnished. If they were not completely covered with some kind of floor covering, they had to be scrubbed with a stiff brush and sand, and sometimes bleached with lye. Painting floors was something the homeowners could do themselves and was a bit better than leaving them bare. This was a fairly common thing to do. Floors were often painted in patterns to simulate rugs. The next step up was a painted floor cloth. These could be rather costly, but a homeowner could make their own and save quite a bit of money, and many did. Generally they were placed in hallways and parlors. There was a varnished paper floor covering advertised for sale in the 1820’s, but it’s not known if it ever became popular. Floor tiles came into use by the 1850’s, but on the whole, those that survived tended to be the less expensive solid colored ones. One of the most universally used floor coverings was matting. The coarse ones were made from coconut fiber, straw, and corn husks. Finer ones were made from sheepskin or thick wool. Some households used it to cover woolen carpets during the summer. Others used it as their only floor covering. Still others used it under carpets as padding, or as an edging if the carpet was not wall to wall. It came in @ 3 foot wide strips, which were cut and them seamed together. (Read more.)

And HERE is a site about Victorian curtains. Share

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