About eight million homes in the UK were built in the Victorian era, when the boom in industry made the country wealthy and drove thousands to live in and around big cities, creating a rise in demand. These Victorian houses still stand today across the UK and are some of the most coveted houses to buy for their well-thought-out spaces and period features.
We’re going to go take you through the history of Victorian kitchen design, showing how this older style has been updated in modern times, and how you too can go about refreshing or making your modern Victorian kitchen design. Keep reading to find out our top tips and tricks!
Let’s start by taking a look at the design of Victorian kitchens, and how you can tell if you have a Victorian kitchen on your hands when you buy a new home. The history of Victorian kitchens can explain a lot about the common features you’ll find and can also help to inspire the look that you would like to attain in your own space.
The true working kitchen in Victorian homes was about practicality rather than style. It would have been a place to store and cook ingredients, and where everything got clean– and that includes people! Traditionally, kitchen cabinets associated with the Victorian era have been styled to resemble the parlour or dining room, although you may also find elements of the ‘below stairs’ kitchen – for example, a butler's sink, a glass-fronted dresser, and a range cooker – included. Elements of this style would include freestanding furniture, open dressers and a large, well-worn table dominating the room, with the range cooker taking centre stage in the middle of the cabinetry.
That said, the Victorians emphasized decorative flourishes as well as functionality. You’ll often find in Victorian-inspired designs high levels of ornamentation, such as elaborate ceiling and wall decorations, as well as columns and fancy mouldings. So there are two types of Victorian kitchen design you could find, but both will always include these key features:
It sounds like a contradiction, but Victorian-style kitchens today tend to have a contemporary feel to them – there are a lot more smooth lines, minimalist features (and not to mention modern appliances like coffee machines and toasters) with some bolder colour choices too. Modern Victorian kitchens do incorporate a lot of the features of traditional or historic ones, like open shelving and butchers’ sinks, but also retain their present-day vibe. Let’s explore some of the ways you can include these features in your home too.
Victorian kitchen floor tiles were an integral part of the design of a Victorian kitchen, where a lot of the cooking involved preparing and making ingredients – a messy job that needed to be cleaned up regularly. Geometric patterns and herringbone flooring were not an integral part of the kitchen’s function, but they did make the space look incredible. To keep your floors in tip-top shape, why not look into herringbone laminate flooring, or patterned vinyl flooring, both of which are easy to keep clean, good value for money, and have timeless appeal.
Brass, gold, and silver were all widely featured in Victorian kitchens: from the pots and pans hanging above the butcher’s block and on the open shelving, to the knobs of the dressers and drawers, and even the appliances themselves. You can bring these metallic effects into your home to inspire that Victorian kitchen design.
Open shelving was a key way of making sure you could easily and quickly access everything you needed, especially because meals were made from scratch, which meant cooking three times a day. You’ll notice modern restaurant kitchens still do this because it’s practical and also looks good. You don’t have to use your open shelving for every different type of saucepan – you could use them to show your favourite ornaments, vases of flowers, photographs, or your wedding china.
Sleek cabinets without handles and glossy fronts are very common in modern homes, but you can bring that touch of tradition back into your kitchen with Victorian-style kitchen cabinets – with intricate moulding and pretty designs, it’s a great way of adding interest to an otherwise overlooked area of your kitchen.
This is also a great place to bring in a splash of colour – think a bold navy or forest green, or even a light lemon to offset a lighter-coloured kitchen. You can also bring that interest in with crown mouldings and wooden panelling around the walls of your kitchen, which can be a nice replacement for wallpaper or just plain white walls. It also adds warmth to outside-facing walls.
Range cookers were an integral part of people’s homes for hundreds of years, providing not only a hot cooked meal but warmth to the rest of the room and even the rest of the house in smaller homes. Range cookers have lots of different compartments for different functions, meaning you can make multiple things at once that require different cooking processes, and you can even keep your plates warm while you do it! Modern range cookers are even more effective and can look just like the real deal to add to your Victorian kitchen.
If you want to create your own Victorian kitchen design, why not get in touch with our floorologists to get the ball rolling? We can help you pick out the perfect Victorian kitchen tiles or herringbone flooring, and you can even pop down to your local Tapi store to look at all the different options we have available with any paint samples you have. Alternatively, if you want to continue the theme throughout your home, we have plenty of Victorian bathroom inspiration too, as well as gothic home decor ideas.