Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Decorating In The Gothic Revival Style

When Gothic interiors are mentioned, the first images that come to mind are black, dark, depressing rooms. A recent reemergence of vampire lore into popular culture has once again linked this style with dark imagery and blood red accessories. But these images couldn't be further from the reality of just how beautiful Gothic interior decorating can be. Gothic interior design is a dramatic and beautiful style, with it's origins in medieval interior design and architecture. Sometimes called “New Antiquarians", today's hipsters in their 20′s and 30″s favor Medieval and vintage Victorian eccentricity in their interiors. If you're a fan of architectural detail, rich color, and accessories of a grand scale, you may be surprised to find that Gothic decor is all of this and more.

This movement began in the mid 1700s, when an English author named Sir Horace Walpole decided to renovate his country home at Strawberry Hill with Gothic elements such as arched windows and battlements. By the 1800s, this style had become quite popular, and many English houses had taken the form of old churches and castles. Even Queen Victoria adored the fanciful Gothic Revival style. Gothic furniture was extremely popular during the Victorian period in the U.S. in the mid-1800s.  

Always mysterious, romantic, and extravagant, it is bold and lavish, with an undeniable old world touch. But, it doesn't have to cost a lot to pull together. By incorporating a few key elements together, you can enjoy a gothic interior in your own home. My advice is stay away from trendy and death inspired decor and go for the true Gothic look. It will pay off in the end.

Photo used with permission. Source: Gothic Revival Victorian Home Decor by Chazz© 2011 Restoration Fabrics & Trims LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Wall hangings are essential, tapestries if possible. If not, you can cheat with dark red velvet curtains, tasseled tie-backs, brocade throw pillows, or a gorgeous velvet duvet cover. Also look for historic art.

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The reintroduction of medieval styles include the reprisal of Elizabethan chairs, chests and beds.

One of the defining characteristics of Gothic architecture is the pointed or ogival arch. A very narrow, steeply pointed ogive arch is sometimes called a "lancet arch". Also notice the quatrefoil windows which are an element of Gothic design.

Lancet arch chair backs trimmed in nail heads with a forged metal design. This is something you can do yourself to create the Gothic look for a chair.

Neuschwanstein Castle

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Ribbed vaults and pointed arches, were also used in the Romanesque style. The way they were combined made Gothic architecture unique. The ribs that held up the vaults were aligned so that they made diamond shapes on the ceilings

Photo used with permission. Source: Gothic Revival Victorian Home Decor by Chazz
© 2011 Restoration Fabrics & Trims LLC. All Rights Reserved.

In Gothic interiors you will see leaded or stained glass windows.

Look for ancestral paintings and pictures. Also velvet or brocade upholstered furnishings are popular. I love the way the lighting fixture is treated in this picture. It is something inexpensive to do that will give your room a Gothic feel.

Collectibles play a huge role in Victorian Gothic decor.The current rise of medievalism, at least within the context of interiors, is part of the expanding interest in the eclectic. This decorating style affords you the opportunity to express yourself.

Look for globes, taxidermy, old books and bookcases, and musical instruments, candelabras, wall tapestries, pewter wall sconces, metal bowls, heavy drinking goblets, decorative urns. Antiques, and medieval swords and shields are just some of the objects that can successfully be used to accent a Gothic interior.

Interesting gallery walls and curiosities are very important elements of the Gothic interior.

Antlers and taxidermy trophies lined medieval Gothic halls. The Victorians also enjoyed a passion for taxidermy, especially birds.

Rich upholstered furniture and heavy draperies are key elements of Gothic decorating. Heavy fabrics work best with this style and can include crushed velvet, leather, brocades, damasks, and tapestry fabrics.

Don't think red and black are the only colors connected with Gothic style decorating. Emerald green is also a good choice.

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And deep purples and blues are beautiful in a Victorian Gothic room.

Decorative paintings on the walls, scenic murals, trompe-l'oeil architectural features, or stenciled heraldic designs can add Medieval Gothic drama to a room.

Charlotte Brown

Try your own hand at stenciling. It's easy and inexpensive. During this period designs focused on foliage patterns and vines.

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Gothic style dining room at Cher's Malibu home.

Gothic arched door, windows, and clock.

Wood ceiling beams, unique columns, carved wood bookcases, lead glass windows, and stone fireplaces are all great complements to a Gothic decor.

Stained glass of course is quintessentially Gothic. Also look at using embossed wallpaper. When painted brown it can resemble leather.

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Beautiful tufted furniture is a good choice for the Gothic home. Notice the butterfly collection.....very Victorian
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Entertaining Gothic style.

Multiple random oriental rugs is a nice look for a Gothic space. This wallpaper and border is a perfect  choice.

Oh my!!!

Look for furniture like this that incorporates the Gothic arch, trefoils and quatrefoils, and the fleur de lis motif.

Tony Duquette

It is important to remember that there are various styles of Gothic decorating, so the finished look can be as dark or light as you desire.

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Gothic style parlor.

Bath with beautiful quatrefoil designed window.Characteristics of the period include trefoil and quatrefoil shapes and pointed arches. The quatrefoil pattern is very popular at present and can be found on many new home accessories.

This dining room at Lyndhurst is definitely decorated in Gothic style.

Trendy black cabinetry looks right at home in a Gothic kitchen.

Another good kitchen. The diamond motif ceiling has a medieval quality that makes it perfect for the Gothic home.


Here is a lovely old Gothic style home just waiting for some TLC.

Even if you're beginning with a modern interior rather than a scaled-down reproduction of Reims Cathedral, you can still create an imposing and mystical Gothic environment with furniture, surface detail, color and accents.
All styles of Gothic Decorating revolve around the same theme....just add the elements that make it unique to you!!!

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This blog post was published by

Lisa Farmer