Victorians preferred white and ivory beds with organic cast iron bedframes and brass embellishments for enhanced grandeur. The Maud (above-right) is the most basic of our historical bedframes, a conventional Victorian dormitory bed style that would have been commonly used in the nineteenth century. It is named after its distinctive drop-front paneled headboard. The frame is made of wood with curved sides supporting a flat top. The footboard and sideboards are straight. The headboard is framed by a drip molding at the bottom and back.
The bed in the image to the right is more elaborate and expensive looking. It is made of walnut wood and has an intricately carved headboard, footboard, and sideboards. A metal rod runs through the center of each piece and is attached to two uprights at each end. The rods are then tied together at the top with a bow tie knot to form one solid block. The bed itself is designed to fit inside a closet or alcove and only comes in sizes that will fit within this framework. This makes it ideal for rooms where space is limited.
Victorian beds were usually separated from their frames by a wooden divider called a "sled." This was either hand-made or obtained from a factory and could be purchased separately if needed. The sled prevented clothes and other items from being thrown off the bed during rough weather or when the door was opened suddenly.
The middle class was using cast-iron bed frames with cotton-stuffed mattresses by the mid-1800s. A combination of a metal bedstead and a cotton mattress was less appealing to bugs. The first coil-spring bedding construction was patented in 1865. It took several years for it to be accepted and used in the household. Today, most people know this as a "bed-and-breakfast" type of arrangement.
In the early days of rail travel, coaches were attached to railroad cars called "dormers." These had two sets of rails mounted on a frame that could be lowered to lie flat with a single bed standing up inside. When not in use, the dormer would be raised up onto its headboard to free up space underneath for more passengers.
These beds were made from wood, usually maple, but also sycamore and hickory. The parts of the bed frame were made from different materials for flexibility and support. The posts at each end of the bed were made of steel or iron if you wanted them to be very strong. Sometimes they were also made of wood. If you wanted them to be very flexible, you could make them out of wire instead. In between the posts, there are crossbars on which to mount the bedding components: the headboard, footboard, and mattress.
The pieces of bedding equipment were attached to the crossbars using leather straps or ropes.
Smaller pieces of Victorian furniture, such as tables and bookshelves, were typically constructed of walnut, whereas larger pieces, such as wardrobes, dining tables, and bookcases, were typically built of mahogany. Table tops, for example, were decorated with walnut and rosewood veneers and included flame mahogany veneers. Wardrobe doors were usually made of maple or red oak.
The Victorians are known for their elaborate furnishings and decorative accessories. They also used a lot of silk and velvet in their decorating styles.
During this time period, society was beginning to change as well. No longer was it acceptable for everyone in the family to go to school, so many parents began to send children to be educated at home by private tutors. This left people free to pursue other interests. For the first time in history, modern professionals such as lawyers, doctors, and teachers were starting to emerge. There was also a rise in popularity of activities like reading, which had once been reserved for only the rich and famous.
All in all, the Victorians were a time when society was becoming more industrialized and sophisticated. People were beginning to leave rural areas and move into cities, where they could find work as engineers, scientists, or professionals. These newcomers needed comfortable places to live, so housing developments were created that included schools, churches, shops, etc.
Victorian design is usually seen as having gone beyond with ornamentation. The Victorian era is remembered for its interpretation and eclectic resurrection of previous designs, as well as the infusion of Middle Eastern and Asian influences in furniture, fittings, and interior décor. The style is characterized by large ornate paintings on wood or fabric, carved chairs, tables, and beds with elaborate upholstery, and tiled or marble-clad rooms.
There were many reasons why Victorian design became popular again after the 1820s depression. First of all, it was a style that people wanted to have - rich people who could afford it! Then there was the fact that it was inspired by ancient Rome, which made it look prestigious and modern. Last but not least, Victorian design was based on the revivalism movement, so it was easy for artists to get inspiration from old things that had been done before - chairs, tables, and even buildings!
The term "Victorian" was first used in reference to home decoration in the early 1840s when the reign of Queen Victoria began. Prior to this time, people called everything "Georgian" if it was built before 1760 or "French" if it were built after 1770. Georgian design was very simple - only straight lines with no ornamentation - while French design was more ornamental with elements such as curves, rococo styling, and painted decorations.
Wood, particularly shingles, is an excellent material that is frequently seen in these sorts of structures. The Folk Victorian architectural style is distinguished by an enthralling blend of Victorian romanticism, classic English cottage, and, in an excellent contribution, the American homestead style. This last influence can be seen in the use of natural materials such as wood and clay for interior finishes.
The first requirement for any home is warmth, and the Victorians were no exception. Double-hung windows with sashes made from wood or metal are both common features in Victorian houses. These openings allowed light into the home while also providing a means of escape in case of danger. In addition to windows, doors played an important role in keeping the heat inside and the cold outside. Doors were often made from a single piece of wood with various decorative elements added for appearance. They might be painted a bright color like red or white to increase its visibility, or they might have glass panels inserted into wooden frames for more security and insulation value. Floors were usually made from wood planks or tiles, although brick or stone may also be used instead. Ceilings were typically low, only a few feet high, which allowed much of the room's interior space to be used for storage.
As you can see, the materials used to build a Victorian house were all durable and attractive, which is why these houses remain popular today.