How to Decorate in Victorian Style on a Budget

wicker furniture

Nednapa Chumjumpa/Getty Images

Ornate, rich, and expensive are adjectives which usually apply to Victorian home decor. While it can still be ornate and rich, it doesn't have to be expensive. By shopping at thrift stores, and using things that you already possess, you can decorate a Victorian room inexpensively.

The Victorian era was named for Queen Victoria, who ruled England from 1837 to 1901. England enjoyed peace and prosperity during this era and it inspired a new wave of engineering and design. The influence was felt far and wide, including the United States, where you can still see evidence of Victorian-era architecture with ornate details and rich colors in cities like San Francisco.

Use these tips to add Victorian elegance to your decor while keeping the budget in line.


Among the most important elements in Victorian decor are linens. Use anything with lace, embroidery, and ribbons in white or natural. Older or vintage linens can be picked up at thrift stores and yard sales. Discount stores are a good source of inexpensive machine embroidered items as well. Use the linens on pillows, tablecloths, curtains, or upholstery for small occasional chairs. Victorian homes tended to be overly decorated, and this included placing doilies and lace over nearly every surface. This helped reflect the rich status of the homeowner and showed off their style and taste.

Jewel Tones

Painting walls in deep, jewel tones like emerald green, ruby, or sapphire. These tones add richness to your decor and serve as a vivid backdrop for the linens. In the Victorian era there tended to be a lot of pattern on the walls as well, like wallpaper (especially flocked wallpaper). Advancements in technology allowed for inexpensive decor.


Heavily-carved Victorian antiques can cost more than a budget can bear unless you inherited a parlor set. An inexpensive alternative is to use wicker. Painted white, these pieces look elegant when accented with those lacy pillows.

Ornate Frames

Thrift stores, yard sales, and discount stores are a great source of ornate frames, Paint them to display reproduction postcards and greeting cards in nostalgic designs. Pressed flowers can also be framed and displayed in groups on your walls or on table tops.


Small boxes or tins dressed up with fabric and old ribbon and lace remnants look wonderful displayed in your Victorian room. Beads and rhinestones from old broken jewelry are also a great way to add glamour.

Rose China

Mismatched china or hand-painted plates from thrift stores grouped to create a wall display will add a romantic touch to your new Victorian decor. The floral themes bring a nostalgic look.


Small distressed tables, even if downright ugly, can be dressed up with white or floral sheets. Drape the sheets over the table and allow to pool on the floor. It adds a touch of romance and it's cheap.

Victorian decor doesn't have to break your piggy bank. There are inexpensive ways to design the nostalgic look you want. Thinking creatively about furniture and accessories can bring your room to life with touches of the romance of another century.