Georgian and Victorian kitchen inspiration: how to design and style yours

Whether humble and informal or elaborate with an air of grandeur, the best kitchens in Georgian and Victorian homes share key design elements that exude period charm

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

If you are working with a Victorian kitchen or redesigning a kitchen space in a Georgian property, it's important  to consider and complement the property's architectural style.

This rarely calls for an authentic recreation of the original design but it is possible to keep your period property's character in tact when remodelling this space. 

Reflecting your home's era in the kitchen's design might mean choosing cabinetry featuring decorative detailing. Equally, it could involve a complete contrast using minimalist modern units that nod to the period through elements such as kitchen wall colours and proportion.

It's the details that matter most, so include key pieces inspired by the past such as a butler or Belfast sink, a pantry, and open shelving displaying wares that give an insight into the kitchen's functional purpose. 

So keep reading to find out how to recreate that classic Victorian kitchen style and make sure you have a look at our dedicated kitchen ideas page for more decor inspiration and know-how. 

Martin Moore kitchen in Georgian home

Located in a Georgian family home, this English kitchen by Martin Moore combines complementary colours to add warmth and interest. Prices start from £35,000. The work surfaces are by Caesarstone

(Image credit: Martin Moore)
  • Starting from scratch? Our kitchen design hub will be able to help you out.

Georgian inspired kitchens

The Georgian period (1714-1830) covers the reign of four King Georges, including the later Regency period of George IV as Prince of Wales. Since it encompasses more than a century, it is impossible to define a single design style for furniture of the era. However, today’s interpretation within kitchens is easily recognisable, not to mention incredibly popular.

Pitched somewhere between the austere simplicity of a flat-framed Shaker-style kitchen door, and the more ornately decorated Victorian style (see below), Georgian kitchens are characterised by having a very strong classic look that can be made grander with impressive panelled mantels and imposing full-height larders, or kept simpler for a cottage or farmhouse kitchen.

‘A generous Georgian mantel shelf over your range cooker or hob can be used to display attractive pieces of crockery or other kitchen ornaments,’ suggests Robert Lawrence, marketing manager for Moores Furniture Group.


(Image credit: Darren Chung)

Georgian kitchen details

  • Raised and fielded panel doors, often with bolection (projecting) moulding
  • Drawers edged with cock-bead or pencil moulding for delicate detail
  • Painted finishes – often greys and blues
  • Grand mantelpieces with raised and fielded panels and solid corbels
  • Granite or marble worktops
  • Butler’s sinks and bridge taps
  • Bronze drop handles, cup handles and knobs

Kitchen in Georgian farmhouse

Keep things simple in a cottage or farmhouse. A mix of natural wood and a painted larder works beautifully in this design

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

Victorian style kitchens

Again, the Victorian period embraced many furniture styles during the Queen’s long reign (1837-1901). But there are two main approaches that couldn’t be more different. 

On the one hand, there’s a utilitarian interpretation based on the butler’s pantry or scullery that was the true working kitchen in Victorian homes. The focus is on a range cooker with freestanding furniture, open dressers and a large, well-worn table taking centre stage. 

More often, the kitchen cabinet design we associate with the Victorian era today is styled on the upstairs parlour or dining rooms, although you will often see elements of the ‘below stairs’ kitchen – for example, a butler’s sink, glass-fronted dresser and range cooker – incorporated.

If you like the look of a freestanding kitchen, we have a whole feature on freestanding kitchen ideas for you to have a read through. 

Humble farmhouse-style kitchen in Victorian home

This nostalgic design in a Victorian farmhouse has the looks of a true working kitchen, with freestanding furniture, clothes pulley and centrepiece range cooker

(Image credit: David Parmiter)

On the other hand, you will find Victorian kitchens where flourishes are deemed as important as functionality. Grander Victorian-inspired designs have higher levels of decoration than Georgian styles, with elaborate scrolls and corbels, dentil moulding and carved pilasters all frequent features.

Traditionally, kitchens with Cathedral arch doors and barley twist pilasters (influenced by the Gothic revival period) came under Victorian classification, but they have been toned down somewhat in recent years, while wicker baskets and open wine racks remain strong.

Grand kitchen in Victorian vicarage

Featuring elaborate dentil moulding, pilasters and corbels, the kitchen in this Victorian vicarage has a grander, more elegant appearance

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

Victorian kitchen details

  • A large cook’s table or island unit
  • Freestanding furniture such as a glassware/crockery dresser
  • Ornate cornicing, twisted pilasters and Cathedral arch doors
  • Pulley clothes dryer above a range cooker
  • Scullery style wet area with butler’s sink
  • Copper items such as jelly moulds and kettles
  • Cream or white painted cabinetry mixed with oak or teak worktops
  • Dentil moulding and intricately carved corbels

statement 19th century inspired kitchen

While not typical of the functional, modest kitchens of the 19th century, this statement design incorporates plenty of Victorian references. Taken from an original 19th century both the the House of Hackney Mamounia wallpaper and Empress Beatrice wall tiles from Fired Earth add a decorative dose of kitsch, and are perfectly complemented by the cabinetry from DeVol

(Image credit: DeVol)

More on period design:

Linda Clayton

Linda is a freelance journalist who has specialised in homes and interiors for the past 19 years, beginning on a trade rag for the Daily Mail Group and now writing full-time for the likes of Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, and of course Real Homes. Linda is our resident mattress reviewer. She spends at least a week on every mattress she tests for us, as does her ever-patient husband. In reviewing mattresses for us for more than a year, she has become something of a very opinionated expert. She lives in Devon with her cabinetmaker husband, two daughters and many pets, and is locked in an on-going battle to drag their red brick Victorian home out of 1970s swirly-carpet hell...