Early Victorian Wallpaper and Paint

In the early Victorian period, walls were less ornamented and painted a plain colour. Cooler colours were used in warm rooms, warmer in those which were north-facing. Red might be used with a tint of crimson and gold in drawing rooms. Green was common in drawing rooms, bedrooms and libraries. Drab was also a typical colour.


Paints were flat and matt.

Some stencilling was used. Woodwork was grained, painted with marble and bronze effects, or else in a paint colour such as brown or green. Details might be gilded.


Wallpaper was still expensive in the early Victorian years until cheaper roller-printed wallpapers were available in the late 1830s.The most wealthy continued to use tapestries or fabric as a wall-covering. Some people used silk but increasingly more use was made of plain cloth such as satin or even cotton. In other homes paint was used.

Wallpaper was in a pictorial design or had a sprig pattern. Others were in floral designs or in small geometric patterns. Some even imitated woven fabrics such as damask. Pictorial papers included plants and animals, historical scenes or had designs incorporating figures or portraits. These might be in a set creating a scene. Other papers had architectural designs with cornices, friezes, mouldings and columns.

Flock papers were used by the better off in the drawing and dining rooms. Floral, chintz, and moiré papers were used in the bedrooms. In the hall and up the stairs, marble papers were sometimes used.