How to Design a Victorian Doll House

Written by chris verstraete
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How to Design a Victorian Doll House
Houses like San Francisco's "Painted Ladies" are examples of Victorians. (Victorian Houses - Alamo Square San Francisco image by Sebastian kiock from

Design a Victorian doll house to highlight the innovations and decorative styles that developed during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. This is a satisfying and interesting way to bring history to life and one of the most popular architectural periods to replicate in miniature. Design your doll house to be as ornate as possible, or concentrate on certain aspects of the Victorian period, depending on the time frame you choose.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Decide on a time period and style for your Victorian doll house design. Research real-life Victorian house plans for ideas.

  2. 2

    Choose materials and design elements that suit the period and house style, such as scalloped wood trim, support brackets and other Victorian elements.

  3. 3

    Determine the size of your doll house based on the imaginary inhabitants' family size, income level, social status, likes and dislikes. A wealthy or middle-class family might live comfortably in a large Queen Anne home, while a widow living in the same large house may rent out rooms to boarders.

  4. 4

    Incorporate additional small bedrooms and a back service entrance into your doll house design to accommodate a wealthier family's hired help. Add an upper-level nursery and sleeping room for a nanny or extra small sleeping rooms in the lower level near the kitchen and laundry areas for servants and kitchen staff.

  5. 5

    Match the interior to the time period. Add fireplaces in each room and chimneys to your design for homes built prior to central heating. Add a bathroom to late-1800s homes, which often had indoor plumbing.

  6. 6

    Choose the appropriate decorative materials for your Victorian house's design based on the inhabitants' lifestyle, such as doll house wallpaper or scrapbook paper and paint for walls and ceilings. Add tile or wood flooring appropriate to the period.

Tips and warnings

  • Visit a museum or historic home for real examples of Victorian decorating, room design and colour use.
  • Check paint firms specialising in historic painting for tips on the colours used in certain time periods.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment. A Victorian home was known for its colour and comfort, and as a showcase for collections and plants.

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