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Decorating & Furniture/choosing wallpaper for a victorian hallway


My house in Scotland was built in 1900. It's a substantial sandstone detached villa. The hallway is spacious but rather dark. There is a dark wood dado with original lincrusta below throughout the upper and lower hallway and staircase. The lincrusta is dark brown with a greenish tinge and it has a lovely patina. All the woodwork is dark and also has a lovely patina. It appears the woodwork and lincrusta are very much in their original state and I intend to leave them as they are. The furniture in the hallway is all mahogany. My query is about choosing the correct wallpaper for the walls from dado to ceiling. I want something that's right for the age of the house and right for a hallway of the period. I don't want to use a Victorian design then find out yes, it's Victorian but it would have been found in a bedroom circa 1860 or in a dining room circa 1880. My husband favours something fairly simple with a vertical stripe in cream, green or gold. We need to brighten the hallway up and a busy wallpaper would compete with the ornately patterned lincrusta. We intend to paint the cornicing and ceiling white. The area is carpeted with a wheat coloured berber style carpet with brass stair runners. We also have a runner rug in the entrance area to create a feeling of warmth - it's a traditional style, deep red with some green and cream.
I've searched the internet for ideas for wallpaper but there doesn't seem to be anything available which would be right for the job. I'm hoping you can suggest something suitable.

Rowan Tree
Rowan Tree  
Hi Donna,

I love Victorian houses and since the Victorian era did span several years (1837 to 1901, to be exact) I can see why getting the year right will make a difference for authenticity's sake.  Seeing as your home was built right at the end, some research will need to be done to make sure we get it right.  Would you mind if I look into it a bit for you and get back to you in a few days?



Hi again Donna,

I've done a little bit of research and it seems quite difficult to pinpoint a wallpaper that is from 1900 specifically.  I've found one that was designed in 1901, but like most papers from the Victorian era, it is fairly heavily patterned.  It's by Arthur Wilcox (who from what little I was able to find out was British - England, it seems) and called Rowan Tree.  The link to the site is  Of the 5 colourways, the second one in "dark yellow, ivory, dark sand on sand wallpaper" would be the best for your current colour scheme. I've attached a picture of it.

Another site I found was which also has late Victorian wallpapers, though grouped from 1890-1910.  You might want to inquire further as the the actual date, if any strike your fancy.

I do think that a simple tone on tone stripe would be beautiful, though possibly too generic for your tastes if you are trying to be truly authentic.  It might be worth your while to speak to a local interior designer or decorator (especially if you can find one who deals in period decorating).  They will have access to products that you, as a consumer, will not.  The fact that I'm in Canada and you're in Scotland doesn't help either - both the websites I gave you are North American, so shipping costs will probably be higher than if you can find something locally.
Though I will be in Scotland in the fall of 2011 (I sing in a Scottish Gaelic choir and we're competing in the Mod in Stornoway)...might be a little long to wait for a consultation!

I hope I was of some help to you!  Good luck!

PS: I'd love to see pictures!

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Sarah Kidder


Ask me anything! I'm a formally trained decorator, am passionate about decorating and design and am pretty well rounded in all areas.


I'm a Certified Interior Decorator with a diploma in Interior Decorating from Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario. I'm a member in good standing of the Canadian Decorator's Association (CDECA). I've been active in the design industry for about 7 years. I've been working with private clients for the past 5 years while running my own decorating company.

Canadian Decorator's Association (CDECA)

Diploma in Interior Decorating

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Currently working on a kitchen reno, a bathroom reno, and a bathroom design...and lots of colour consultations!

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