top of page

Tips On Renovating A Victorian Home

Victorian houses are loved for their attractive features, elegant styling and architectural detail. If you decide you'd like to renovate your Victorian home, what options do you have? Studio4 Architecture are based in Harrogate, where you can find many great examples of Victorian houses every day.

One third of the houses in the UK were built before World War 1. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the UK has over four million Victorian and Edwardian properties, with houses pre-1919, making up 20% of England's housing stock.

If you've fallen for a Victorian property that requires some TLC, nothing is more satisfying than a renovation project. Studio4 Architecture receive a fair amount of enquiries regarding renovating Victorian homes, we believe there are two main factors to consider when broaching this subject. Firstly, pinpoint the changes or additions you'd like to make, and secondly how much of the original features you wish to retain.

Consider what type of Victorian house you have:

Gothic Revival


Arts & Crafts

Art Noveau



  • The Shell

​There are a couple of options when working with the outside; again it goes back to the two main questions: what exactly would you like to change and how much of the original shell do you want to keep. If the outside of your house isn’t too badly damaged you can look at restoring it, breathable lime rather than cement should be used for pointing. Bricks can be replaced here and there but with lime mortar you can colour match with the brick or stone dust.

If this doesn't appeal, render could of course be applied and painted.

  • Front Door

The front door is a key player when thinking of the renovation of your house; it may be in excellent condition which is good news. If not, it might have been replaced for a cheap alternative by the former owner of the property or be damaged, in which case you should look at replacing it.

You can usually look around in your neighbourhood to get some idea of how your Victorian door could look. It needs a solid, panelled design, perhaps with stained or etched glass to add to the authentic look.

  • Windows

If possible you should try and restore the original windows, especially when they contain coloured glass. However in some cases the windows are just too far gone, we'd then suggest replacing with a timber frame, double glazing that look similar to the originals. If you'd like a slightly more contemporary look you could change darken the colours and use black or grey rather than whites. Sash windows are commonly found in Victorian homes, they look fantastic but unfortunately aren’t that energy efficient! It’s worth spending some time and money recreating this look and making sure they are draught proof.

  • Roofing

It’s likely the authentic roofing was Welsh slate, so it would be a good start to replace with a similar product. If you would like to replace the full roof, Welsh slate can get a bit pricey but you can always budget for cheaper imported alternatives.


  • Key Features

Try not to brush over the period features within the house, so for example ornate ceiling roses and deep skirting boards all add character to the property. If they are damaged it may be easier to just cover them over, but restoring these features to their glory will greatly add to the Victorian feel.

  • Layout

Victorian houses tend to have large, spacious rooms which are usually separated by beamed walling. Renovating this space could involve knocking these walls through, taking dark closed off areas into a brighter living space.

Removing partition walls and changing to internal glazing is also quite a good move. Open plan rooms are a fairly modern option so you'd have decided how authentic you would like to keep the layout.

If knocking down walls doesn't appeal to you, you could look at cutting openings or archways and leave a partial wall or decorative columns to provide structural support.

  • Flooring

Next we'd suggest checking out the flooring in your property, if it’s in good condition that's great news. Good quality, original Victorian flooring is hard to come by these days and will maximise the resale value of your property. However if it does need some small repairs you might be able to find some modern day flooring that convincingly matches the authentic colours and shapes.

  • Decor

Decor plays a big part in adding to the character of a Victorian house, and while renovating it’s important not to lose this. Try to replicate original fixtures and fittings in your home, it’s all about making your period property more functional and updating the part you want to, while retaining its Victorian feel. You can refresh your house while keeping these key features true to its English heritage style.

Renovating a Victorian house can be relatively straightforward and fun! It’s all about modernising your property enough to fit with your needs, while still retaining its essential authentic character.

If you have any questions, or need advice concerning your Victorian house renovation call 01423 226 333 or email, we’d be happy to hear from you!

We hope you found this article useful and if you would like to add anything please do so in the comments below.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page