How to Design a Victorian Kitchen, the DIY Way

The Victorian design in a home was one of elegance and grace. It brings to mind thoughts of gingerbread houses, and doll houses of long ago. The Victorian era people were uninhibited in their use of color, rich fabric and ornamentation; which makes this design style so fun to do. The first step has already been taken, and that was the decision to design Victorian. Before you go any further, you need to figure out your budget for this project. If you are doing a re-model, the renovation should be no more than about 10-20 percent of the value of home and property. If you've been setting aside money for this endeavor, then so be it. When you have enough money; it is time to start.

Really acquaint yourself with the Victorian era home, and especially the kitchen. When I did my first design of a Victorian kitchen, I cut out pictures from magazines and kind of put them together; like a puzzle. I took my floor-plan; put on it where I wanted the sink, stove, refrigerator and dishwasher. Do you have an eat-in kitchen? Or do you eat in a breakfast room or the dining room?

If you are having a little bit of trouble figuring out how much cabinet and counter top space you will need; this calculation should help you. It is not just the lineal feet that you should concentrate on, but where you want them as well. For above the counter cupboards it takes about 48-72 inches of space for dishes, plates and bowls. For baking dishes and cooking utensils, another 48-72 inches. You will net yet another 48-72 inches of base cabinet space for the pots-n-pans that you keep near the stove. If you will have wasted space because of corners, then maximize this by putting in swing out caddies or lazy Susans. If you keep trash and recyclable containers under the counter, you will need approximately a 30-guart space for each of these. This is all part of the design phase.

Are you designing Victorian, or country Victorian? Country Victorian is almost always painted. Victorian, while Victorian can be either or. If you decide to design your kitchen in regular Victorian and decide to stain the wood, remember not to go too dark. Victorian kitchens were usually light and airy.

With these decisions made, it is just a matter of putting things where you want them; and where it works best for you.

Deciding on appliances for your Victorian kitchen is very important. Nothing can ruin the ambiance that you have planned, quicker than 21st century appliances in a late 19th century kitchen.

You might be able to find the right appliances at auctions, or get lucky and find one in the classified, but your best bet would be to go with replicas. If you use the internet to do purchases; and will have exactly what you need in the way of appliances; and in the colors and trims used during that era. The appliances are totally modernized, right down to the self-cleaning oven; they just don't look like they are.

The down-side to these appliances is they are quite expensive. If your budget will not allow you to do the designing necessary and achieve the look that you want, you might consider putting the refrigerator and dishwasher behind a cabinet door. It won't be the most convenient way of doing things, but you will be able to save quite a bit of money.

The Victorian era was the first to have wallpaper accessible on a wide-scale level. Because it was mass produced, it became affordable to more people. The wallpaper was lavish, with patterns of scrolls, vines and birds, small figures with fine detail.

For the intricate ceiling, appliqués; such as roses and fleur de lei, and corner column scrolls can be purchased at Home Depot and Lowe's at an affordable price. If you don't want to get quite this fancy; you might like a tin ceiling overlay which was used a lot in the Victorian kitchen. The Tin Man at has some beautiful examples.

Oil-cloth; better known today as linoleum, was becoming quite popular in Victorian era kitchens. If you can find it in the pattern you need, vinyl sheet flooring would work just as well, and much easier to maintain.

As for your pots and pans; they, and other utensils were hung at eye level, usually around the stove.

For the finishing touches on your Victorian kitchen, Walmart and Target have an excellent selection of small appliances and accessories. My favorite is online at

Decorating your kitchen in the Victorian style is quite a bit of work, it is not just a matter of slapping a coat of paint on the kitchen walls and cabinets. Also accessories for this room are not things you can just run down to the closest store and get. They usually have to be planned and ordered.

Be that as it may, the pride that you will feel in looking at your beautiful room will make all the work worth it. Besides, it will add quite a bit of value to your home.