If the public rooms of the Victorian home were all show, the private rooms—most particularly the bedrooms—were sanctuaries. Although bedrooms could be as plain or fancy as the style and budget of the sleeper, individuality ruled.
In a middle-class household, where servants were scarce, the mother’s room was notable for its nurturing look and functionality. The room, in essence, was a family room. Furnished with bed, tables and easy chairs, it was in this room that Mama took care of everything and everyone, and it was likely to be filled with all manner of household and child accessories. A toddler’s scraped knee would be kissed and bandaged here, and a sweater for Papa would be knitted by its cozy fireside. A bachelor’s room, on the other hand, would be a utilitarian affair, devoid of all decoration save for a pipe or two and a photo of the girl being courted.
A young lady’s room was all frills and lace. Grandmother likely would have opted to slumber in an old-fashioned four-poster and to rest her weary bones in a rocking chair. The children’s room (not all Victorian boys and girls had their own rooms) became the nursery.
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By Nancy A. Ruhling