Recreate Mary-Anne Disraeli’s Victorian bedroom decor in your own home with these 4 iconic 1860s elements.
1. Carpet: Mary-Anne’s secret self-indulgence may have been the carpet in the master bedroom. To keep bedroom floors easy to clean, lower class families kept their boards bare, and middle-class families laid Oriental rugs. In the Victorian era, a fully carpeted floor signalled certain class-based expectations—Mary-Anne valued luxurious living and clearly never intended to scrub her own floor.
- Tip: A 200 year-old company, Grosvenor Wilton still manufactures its Victorian carpets on the same machines as it did in the 1800s.
2. Wallpaper: Before thin wallpaper in dramatic floral designs became popular in the 1870s, many families decorated their bedroom walls with simple geometric patterns, as did Mary-Anne. The pale blue paper creates visual depth, allowing the elaborate moulding to stand out.
- Tip: You can purchase wallpapers for authentic Victorian bedroom decor from Bradbury & Bradbury.
3. Cornice and wainscoting: In most Victorian bedrooms, the plaster cornice was the only architectural embellishment; Mary-Anne’s white wainscoting would have been an extravagance.
- Tip: To purchase new or restore your original plaster cornices, see Century Architectural Specialists (US) or Victorian Cornice (UK).
4. Bed canopy: Here Mary-Anne again betrayed her class-consciousness. Victorian families used the same fabric for both their bed canopy and their window treatments. While middle-class bedrooms featured light floral fabrics like chintz or lace, the rich hung opaque fabrics like silk or brocade for added warmth and privacy, as did Mary-Anne.
- Tip: You can build your own bed canopy by installing ordinary curtain walls along three sides of your bed and hanging window curtains of your choice. Or, find Victorian-style wrought-iron and brass half-canopy beds like Mary-Anne’s.
To learn more about Mary-Anne Disraeli’s budget-friendly Victorian home renovation, Read our next posts.
Written by Elaine K. Phillips
Photographed by Susie Kearley