What is Victorian Furniture?

Patti Kate

Victorian furniture refers to 19th-century furniture from the Victorian period. These pieces may include replicas inspired by furnishings of the past, as well as antique pieces that have been restored. Victorian antique furniture can be extremely valuable, particularly to collectors. Some turn-of-the-century pieces are displayed in museums because of their historical importance.

Victorian furniture is commonly constructed out of mahogany wood.
Victorian furniture is commonly constructed out of mahogany wood.

All of the pieces of Victorian furniture, either reproductions or true antiques, will include features popular during the 1800s. These styles were in production during Queen Victoria's reign, hence the name Victorian. Many were produced in large quantities and distributed throughout several countries. Other pieces were hand designed and sold in local shops. Many wealthy Americans adorned their home with Victorian furnishings.

Chenille was a popular fabric used in Victorian furniture.
Chenille was a popular fabric used in Victorian furniture.

Victorian furnishings feature intricate carvings and designs. Many of the wood pieces were hand carved with nature-inspired designs. During the turn of the century, innovations such as chiseling tools were used to create many of the styles. One of the most popular pieces of Victorian furniture was the rocking chair. In the following years, the rocker was updated and created to be more functional.

Victorian furniture may be constructed of various materials, though wood is most common. Walnut and mahogany wood were most commonly used during this era. Fabrics used in Victorian items may be jacquard, leather, chenille, or velvet, to name a few.

The Victorian settee was a common piece of furniture from the Victorian era. The settee is similar to a modern love seat, and it will typically accommodate two people. It features two armrests and is often seen with a tufted fabric.

There are different classifications of Victorian furniture. These include early Victorian, Renaissance Victorian, and Victorian Louis XVI styles. Estate sales, auctions, and antique shops can be good places to find furniture from the Victorian era. Victorian reproductions may be found at furniture galleries that specialize in Victorian pieces.

For avid collectors or those who simply wish to learn more about Victorian style furniture, reading material can be found at many public libraries. Many reference books related to the history of Victorian furniture are available for purchase. Reference videos on Victorian furniture may also be sold in stores or online.

Queen Victoria reigned in England for almost 64 years.
Queen Victoria reigned in England for almost 64 years.

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Discussion Comments


The college where I attended had a large parlor in the main administration building, and it featured several Victorian-style sofas. They were the kind that had the large round section in the middle, with wing ends. They were velvet and absolutely lent an air of elegance to the room that nothing else did.

The parlor was for student use, and even though those sofas weren't the most comfortable things in the world, they got a lot of use. One felt very proper and elegant while sitting on them, and they certainly fit in with the antebellum era of the building.

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