Everything to Know About Queen Anne-Style Homes and How to Emulate Their Regal Decor Style

Julissa Arangure
Written by Julissa Arangure
Updated December 17, 2021
A blue victorian style house
Photo: ksmith0808 / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Queen Anne homes swept through America in the 1800s.

  • Common Queen Anne home features are irregular roof shapes, towers, and bright colors.

  • You can replicate a Queen Anne home by simply incorporating colors, vintage furniture, and accessories.

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If you’ve ever been strolling through town and spotted a home that looks a bit like a castle, there’s a chance it’s a Queen Anne-style house. These homes were made popular during the Victorian era and can still be spotted today. Learn the staples of this architectural style and how you can incorporate it into your home below.

History of Queen Anne-Style Homes

Queen Anne houses are just one of the many Victorian-style homes that originated in England in the 1860s by the architect Richard Norman Shaw. Shaw used a mix of Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture to create what is now known as a Queen Anne home. 

With its abundance of ornate detail, blooming towers, expansive wraparound porches, and asymmetrical facade, the Queen Anne style is easy to spot. Although Shaw gathered inspiration from the Queen Anne era, Queen Anne Victorian homes were actually built during the latter part of Queen Victoria's reign, from 1870 to 1910.

Now, you can see Queen Anne homes throughout the U.S., with the most famous being the Carson Mansion in Eureka, CA.

8 Key Elements of Queen Anne Design

Have you ever wondered what your fairy-tale home would be? From its exterior paint colors would you choose? A Queen Anne-style house is a magnificent expression of color, surface textures, and gingerbread-like features. If this is exactly what you envisioned, then a Queen Anne home is right out of your dreams.

No two Queen Anne homes are the same, but there are some common features in each:

  1. Asymmetrical facade: These houses are often asymmetrical, and a typical home will be two or more stories high. An uneven front is one of the most distinguishable characteristics of a Queen Anne home.

  2. Irregular roof shapes: Usually, the roofs are steeply pitched and have a combination of hipped and gabled roofing along with forward-facing gables. After the 1900s, however, the roofs had a much shallower slope. This addition gave the home a castle-like feel.

  3. Patterned shingles: A single band of shingles known as a belt course was popular, but it wasn’t uncommon to see layers upon layers of different-shaped shingles stacked on top of each other, much like a crowned necklace.

  4. Towers and turrets: Round, octagonal, and polygon tower shapes are included to draw the eye upward. Often, architects used cones and bell shapes as well.

  5. Wraparound porches and balconies: ​​Depending on the type of porch, they mostly go from the front and around one side of the house. They can be decorated with friezes or spindle work. A second-story balcony is unique to this type of home and was made more popular in America for entertaining purposes.

  6. Eclectic windows: Windows come in different shapes, patterns, sizes, colors, and styles. A Palladian, three-part window is also common in a Queen Anne home.

  7. Combined textures: Wall textures included wooden shingles in various designs, fish scales, and tiles made out of terracotta.

  8. Bright Colors: Reds, blues, and yellows adorned these houses’ exteriors, mixed with dramatic contrasts.

While large homes were the most lavish, smaller versions of these were called Queen Anne cottages. Characteristics of these cottages were very similar but smaller, one-story framed versions built for rural areas. These include small balconies, bright colors, and are asymmetrical.

How to Incorporate Queen Anne Home Design into Your Home

Classic interior library
Photo: Юлия Завалишина / Adobe Stock

You can even style a modern home in Queen Anne design for your own royal family. Simply incorporating key colors, materials, and staple furniture pieces can give your home the romantic Queen Anne feel. 

Many consider parlors (or living rooms) the most important part of a Queen Anne home because these were the first rooms guests would see when walking in the door. Dining rooms were a close second. Owners used both of these rooms to entertain guests, so creating an inviting yet eye-capturing feel was important. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see these rooms filled with both modern and restored antique furniture pieces in Queen Anne homes. 

Here are some decor ideas you can use to style your Queen Anne home:

  • Paint colors: Consider painting walls with pale colors like cream, sage, powder blue, gray, rose, and mix with accented patterned wallpaper in florals and leaves.

  • Draping: Include dramatic drapings like fringe, rope tassels, silk shades, or wood blinds.

  • Flooring: Add wooden or parquet floors covered with large decorative rugs in every room or uniquely place marble accents throughout different parts of the house.

  • Lighting: Hang large crystal or brass chandeliers in the home’s main areas and refurbish old lamps for a luxurious feel.

  • Decor: Embellish your rooms with artwork, pottery, tea sets, embroidery, stained glass windows, and round mirrors.

  • Furniture: Choose carved wooden furniture in shades of oak and cherry, walnut or rosewood styled with plush velvet fabrics in greens, grays, and golds.

  • Artwork: Use carved decorative frames in wooden or gold finishes for all your photos and paintings.

While it may seem daunting to combine so many carefully detailed pieces in one room, that’s the beauty of a Queen Anne interior. You can mix and match as many colors, textures and one-of-a-kind trinkets that will make your home beautifully timeless.

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