Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about owning a Victorian-era historic brick home is decorating your house for the holidays. Known for its classic style, Victorian decorating was always sophisticated and elegant, providing curb appeal during the harsh winter weather. You can create some subdued holiday magic with just a few strategically chosen items, or go all out this season with more opulent choices. Let’s explore a few options on how to decorate your historic brick home for the holidays.
A Classic Christmas Tree
Let’s start with one of the most popular ways to decorate. A Christmas tree positioned near your front entranceway is a welcome addition, especially if you have a porch. Although our modern versions of the tree tend to be tall and wide, traditionally, the trees were much smaller—even fitting on a tabletop. This is excellent news for exterior decorating since you needn’t get a giant tree if you only have a small space.
Traditional Victorian ornaments included paper decorations, nuts, berries, fruits, ribbons, bows and candles. For an outside tree, there are numerous options for faux grapevine and cranberries, beautiful bow toppers and ribbon that can either be tucked into the branches or used to cascade down in a variety of ways. Flameless candle string lights are available for lighting and provide a safe and economical choice for adding sparkle and shine against the beautiful backdrop of your exterior brick.
If you don’t have room for a tree of any size, substituting a large wreath could also work. Follow the same guidelines as you would for a small tree, using period-appropriate outdoor ornaments and plenty of warm LED lights for a real ‘wow factor’!
Evergreen Boughs and Lanterns
Where there’s a railing, or old decorative ironwork, there’s room for adding traditional décor. Pine boughs decked out with ribbons and bows are a welcome addition to the front entry, gates, or a balcony if you're lucky enough to have one. Other greenery options include traditional plants such as ivy, holly and mistletoe, which can be combined to create a unique, time-period-appropriate style. Remember to prioritize safety and ensure there’s still enough exposed space on your handrails, so that it will still be functional in case those front steps get slippery.
Reproduction Victorian-era oil lanterns or hurricane lamps can be set on small tables or even on the sides of staircases if space allows. They provide such a sense of home and a welcoming ambiance that you and your guests will warm up the moment you set foot in the door. Since the lanterns will be unattended, look for reproductions that use efficient and safe LED lighting to mimic the glow of the originals, minus the hazards of real flame; make sure your choice of decoration is rated for outdoor use to prevent breakage in the cold temperatures.
Beautiful Holiday Windows
Few things can put you in the Victorian Christmas spirit faster than a well-decorated window. Originally made famous by Macy’s Department Store in New York in the late 1800s, you can create your own themes by scaling decorative displays down to meet the size and style of your home. Since these items are visible from the outside but placed inside, you won’t need to worry about their ability to withstand fluctuating temperatures.
Try hanging swags of fabric in seasonal colors to trim the edges of the windows while a well-appointed wreath can be hung from a large ribbon in the center. Ornate glass Christmas balls can be hung at various lengths across the window from coordinating ribbons, and the entire scene can be brought together with the soft glow of LED candles, lanterns, or string lights.
Renaissance Development is the leader in traditional tuckpointing methods, specializing in old brick home restoration projects in Capitol Hill and other historic neighborhoods in Washington, DC. Contact us for more information about repair, restoration, or installation of decorative ironwork for your historic brick home.