Front Doors for Victorian Style Homes

victorian style house

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The famous Painted Ladies of San Francisco or a spooky haunted house – what visual do the words “Victorian home” conjure in your mind? It seems many people are sharply divided on this particular style of home. They find it either fun, frivolous, and opulent – or the stuff of nightmares! Let’s take a closer look at this style, and also some of the best front doors for Victorian style homes.

The famous Painted Ladies of San Francisco, Victorian style row houses
The Painted Ladies of San Francisco were built in the 1890s, and stand today as premier examples of Victorian architecture.

What are the Characteristics of the Victorian Style Home?

In the Victorian age, function most definitely took a back seat to form. Opulence was the name of the game, and homes were designed to showcase wealth and create images of grand, romantic lifestyles. The more abundant the details and colors, the better in this era.

Victorian Style Exteriors

It’s easy to spot a Victorian style home.

These romantic, opulent homes are intricately detailed from their steeply pitched roofs down to the carved post frames and trim.

Gables, turrets, extra entrances, gingerbread trim, and of course, those huge wrap-around porches are hallmarks of the style. No opportunity for adding patterns, colors, or textures was overlooked.

Unlike most other homes, it was (and is) not unusual for a Victorian exterior to have four or five contrasting paint colors highlighting different trim details.

A modern interpretation of a Victorian house.  Green with cream trim and huge wrap around front porch
This modern rendition of the Victorian style maintains many classic elements. Most notable is the expansive wrap-around porch, but you can also see multiple gables, turrets, elaborate detailing and two colors of trim that contrast with the main siding of the home.

Traditional Victorian Style Front Doors

And the doors?

The front door was highly important in the Victorian era. It provided a statement about the wealth of the occupants and had to convey the right impression to anyone approaching or passing by.

Traditional Front Doors of the UK

Doors were often paneled and elaborately carved. Oak was the wood of choice and was frequently stained to bring out the grain. The Arts and Crafts movement created a great interest in the use of stained glass, and patterned glass panels often took up the entire top half of the door. Floral patterns and swirling, curved shapes were particularly popular stained glass designs. Address numbers were often etched into the glass of an upper door panel, as well.

Classic colors were also popular, including rich tones of red, blue, and green, as well as black and white.

Fanlights above the doors continued to be popular, as in the Georgian and Colonial styles from earlier years. In keeping with the opulence of Victorian times, intricate metalwork designs were added to these fanlights, and stained or glazed glass replaced the simple clear glass of prior eras.

Door hardware was elaborate, as well. Cast iron was eventually replaced by shining brass for door handles, house numbers, and letter boxes. Knockers were in imposing designs such as lion heads, and cast iron boot scrapers were commonly seen beside the door.

an ornate wood and iron and glass door on a yellow house and a bright pink door on a white house
The stained wood door on the left features a large fanlight, top to bottom glass panels, and elaborate grillwork on the double doors. On the right, the six-panel door is a much simpler design, but makes a statement with its bold pink color.

Modern Victorian Style Front Doors

Modern Victorian doors tend to go in one of two directions. The more traditional choice is a stained oak door. With this simple backdrop, the door can then emphasize elaborate decoration including ironwork and artisanal stained or etched glass inserts. Indeed, these are some of the most visually stunning doors to be found on modern homes.

A second option for the Victorian style is a simpler front door, with up to eight panels, but with a statement-making paint job and unique, eye-catching hardware. Because of the ornateness of the Victorian style and the generous use of color in these homes, front doors today can be found in almost any shade. Some modern homeowners choose the more traditional deep blues, greens, and maroons. Just as often, though, we can see the impactful shades of aqua, hot pink, lime green, and plum.

5 creative colors for front doors for Victorian style homes:  violet, lemon, pale blue, coral, and lime.
Today’s Victorian homes may use conservative deep tones of red, blue, and green. They are just as likely to burst forth with bright statement colors, such as violet, yellow, and lime green, which are in keeping with the elaborate and “showy” style of the home.

Key Takeaways for Front Doors for Victorian Style Homes

Opulence, decoration, detail, and wealth – Victorian homes aimed to project all of these features. This style of home showcases steep roofs with multiple gables, multiple stories, asymmetrical architecture, expansive front porches, and excess detailing, carving, trim, and color.

Classic Victorian style front doors are made from stained oak, with inserts of stained or etched glass in elaborate patterns.

A more modern take on the front door is to add bright and unexpected color to a multi-paneled door.

Shiny brass fixtures complete the look.

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front door for victorian style home

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