The Victorian era was slightly repressed, with a focus on high morals and straitlaced language. Victorian Style homes, however, were far from dull. With ornate designs and over-the-top features, they captured the imagination at once. Needless to say, they still do.

What exactly is a Victorian house? What are the standout features that will help you identify it? You will have answers to these questions and discover examples of Victorian architecture.

What is a Victorian-style Home?

A Victorian Home refers to any home built during Queen Victoria’s reign (1837 -1901). The Industrial Revolution led to a boom in the housing industry, and millions of Victorian houses emerged. They are hallmarks of British towns and cities. A Victorian-style house, of course, would refer to a more modern home with Victorian architectural features.

Builders created Victorian Homes using a range of architectural styles. They blended early classical Regency architecture with Italianate, Neo-Renaissance features. Hence, a Victorian-style home may include Italianate cupolas, Belvedere towers or arch-headed windows. It may also feature Gothic, Greek, and Indian designs, revival styles used during the Regency period.

How is Victorian Architecture Different from Other Architectural Styles?

How is a Victorian house distinct from other houses? Victorian buildings have a few prominent features.

For a start, many term Victorian homes ‘Gingerbread.” houses. A Gingerbread home has spindles, brackets, and balconies made of various types of biscuits and candies. Likewise, a Victorian house has ornate windows, brackets and other exterior architectural elements in different shapes. It makes the home distinguishable from other houses in the neighborhood.

Victorian Homes have wood sliding features and brick stone walls. Look into a study that uses a Victorian design, and you will see lots of wooden paneling. Walls do not have a smooth look or feel; builders use textured shingles.

Further, Victorian homes are colorful. While dull brown, gray or white were the few color options available during the Regency period, the Victorians embraced color. Find Victorian homes in bright turquoise, red and green hues.

Such homes have a trademark, asymmetrical look. Many have disproportional porches, which are about a story high and extended along its walls.

10 Outstanding Traits of Victorian-Style Homes

Besides these significant features, a Victorian home will have other characteristics. Not all Victorian-style houses will share them, but they are determining nonetheless.

Barge boards

A Victorian home will have barge boards or wooden panels on the gable ends. These are the triangular ends of a pitched roof.

Patterned Bricks

The Industrial Revolution meant the development of railways. They made it easy for builders to transport bricks around the country. Victorian houses used Flemish Brick Bonds, with alternating headers. These are stones with ends appearing on the face of the wall. These houses also used stretchers, or bricks with long sides showing on walls. Headers often center on stretchers.

Decorated slate roofs

Victorian buildings often have slate roofs, again because it was not a task to obtain building materials by train. Finals, or small carved ornaments, are often found on ridges or gables. Terracotta is the predominant material used to make roof tiles.


Victorian homes have a fireplace in every room. Marble, wood or stone would surround each one. It would have lots of terracotta chimney pots as well.

Floor tiles

Houses built in a Victorian style would use geometric terracotta floor tiles. Their colors were mainly a natural red or brown. Some were blue, black or off-white.

Stained glass

As mentioned earlier, Victorian houses have Gothic elements because of the Gothic revival. While homes built during the Victorian era used traditional stained glass windows with drawings painted on them directly, later Victorian-style houses used Mosiac stained glass designed by Augustus Pugin. Mosaic pieces were painstakingly carved using glass cutters and put together to make the window. They gave these houses a distinct feel.


Victorian homes use six or four-paneled sliding windows. They may also use three-sided bay windows with slant sides and a flat front. The bay window on the ground floor may have a roof.

Date stones

Houses from this era have names and dates above their doors, carved in marble or stone. These numbers will tell you if the house was indeed from the Victorian period, though people did move and make changes.


The Victorians often had porches in front of their doors. Materials used included stone, brick or glazed timber. They also used latticework or a framework with strips arranged in a criss-cross pattern.


Builders constructed houses in terraces during the Victorian period. Gardens are at the front and back of the houses, as these are products of the pre-car era. Some people may have taken out a garden to make way for a garage.


Examples of Victorian Architecture

Architects use a range of designs to create Victorian homes. The Italianate style was dominant between the 1820s and 50s, while the Gothic Revival Style became popular in the 1880s. The Queen Anne style became prominent in the later Victorian era. Here are more details.


Victorian architecture of the 1850s drew influences from 16th century Italian Renaissance architecture. Palladianism, a form that owes its name to Italian architect Andrea Palladio, was dominant. Homes had a traditional, “backward” look. As a result, buildings had many motifs and resembled Italian villas. The style gained fame the world over. In the United States, it was promoted by architect Alexander Jackson Davis.

Second Empire

This architectural style, popular between 1865 and 1880, drew its name from the architectural elements that were fashionable during the Second French Empire. This form had 17th century Renaissance foundations and a combination of European elements. Builders combined baroque features with mustard roofs. Little domes with square bases were standard. Because Second Empire architecture was suitable for super-scaling, it became the dominant style for municipal buildings.


“Stick.” architecture precedes the Queen Anne style. As its name suggests, linear stickwork or board strips line the outside walls. The motive of this layout is to resemble an exposed, half-timbered frame. Trim boards, aprons, and trusses were standard stick features. The “Stick” design featured in houses and other life-saving stations.

Queen Anne

The Queen Anne architectural style was in vogue from 1880 to 1910. Houses constructed in this style were picturesque; beauty was a characteristic feature. Beaux Arts architectural elements featured in the buildings of this period. Typical features included square terracotta panels and arched side passages that led to an inner court and back house. Windows were dainty, with small-paned upper sashes.


The Shingle style came about because of the popularity of New England Architecture. Architects adopted the plain, shingled look of colonial buildings. It gave the impression of the house as being vast and continuous. The emphasis of this style was on horizontal continuity, both in spaces and exterior features.

Richardsonian Romanesque

This style got its name from its founder, Henry Hobson Richardson, who designed the Trinity Church of Boston and the Buffalo State Asylum. The use of Romanesque arches, springing from short columns, was standard. Richardsonian buildings had a rustic look. Houses and the municipal building had conical towers with cylindrical caps.

Spotting a Victorian-style home is easy. Many elements characterize a Victorian-style house. Though they are varied. all of them are charming and speak of an architect’s passion for his work.

Curious About Building a Custom Home in Dallas Fort Worth?

Larry Stewart Custom Homes knows the Metroplex intimately and has more than 30 years of experience building luxury homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth. Give us a call at (817) 402-2154 and we will be more than happy to answer any questions or help you build the home of your dreams.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *