The difference between Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian houses - Parsons Joinery (2024)

So many neighbourhoods in some of London’s most prestigious areas have remained true to their Georgian, Victorian, or Edwardian architectural roots. A great testament to the quality, durability, and appeal of these period forms. Often, these three styles of properties are referred to collectively as ‘period’ or ‘classical’ homes which encourages us to presume that these three styles of architecture are pretty much the same. Whilst it is true that these styles share various design features, each style represents a different period in architecture and a different time in society, ensuring some unmistakable differences between them.

We take a closer look to find out exactly what the differences between Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian houses are, so we can fully appreciate their beauty.

Typical style and characteristics of Georgian houses

Aptly named after the period in history that saw the reign of four British monarchs of the House of Hanover – George I, George II, George III, and George IV. Generally speaking, Georgian properties tend to boast quite plain, uncomplicated frontages that were often built with brick and stone, sash windows, and symmetry at the core of the design. 10 Downing Street is a great example of Georgian architecture and probably the most famous Georgian house in London! The Georgian period covers over 100 years (namely the 18th century) so, it is not really a style but an era within which we witnessed architecture and interior design develop in leaps and bounds, from very simplistic designs in the early 1700s through to the more intricate features (such as ornate iron railings), associated with the latter years ruled with King George IV at the helm.

The 18th Century was a time of great urban growth and settlement within British towns which meant that there was a need to accommodate more people into one household. Townhouses were a great solution to this predicament and have become the building type most characterised by the Georgian era.

Georgian architecture remains popular today with an increasing number of homeowners opting for the styles and traditions born within the Georgian era.

What are the characteristics of a Georgian house?

  • Townhouses arranged over three or four storeys.
  • Sash windows with smaller panes – tall windows on the first two floors and smaller windows on the top storeys.
  • Symmetrical, flat exterior and balanced interior layout.
  • Stucco-fronted exterior (rendered in a plaster material that covers the construction material beneath). In earlier Georgian designs, the ground floor was rendered, and the rest of the exterior was exposed brickwork, during the end of the era, houses were rendered from top to bottom.
  • Rendered exterior painted white or cream.
  • Built around garden squares, as the houses did not have their own garden.

View our comprehensive guide to Georgian windows.

Typical style and characteristics of Victorian houses

The Victorian era covered the period of Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 – 1901. It was during this time that the UK began to really feel the effects of the industrial revolution as its large towns and cities saw a rapid rise in industrialisation and therefore, housing, as the population moved in search of work. Contrary to popular belief, terraced housing was commonplace before the Victorian era, with many Georgian properties in London built within a terrace. However, the industrial revolution saw a boom in terraced properties, mainly since they could be erected quickly and cheaply, and close to factories for workers to live in.

The arrival of the industrial revolution also meant that homes were no longer reserved for the wealthy and the elite, instead homes were becoming more accessible and less ostentatious. Whilst Victorian properties do often retain some of the features introduced by the Georgians, such as a balanced exterior and sash windows, the Victoria era also inherited styles from the Gothic revival architectural movement which really make them stand out from Georgian properties.

The beginning of the Victorian era began with simple plain brick (or stucco) and sash windows, but as the time progressed red brick and terracotta became more favourable. The industrial revolution also introduced new building materials such as iron and glass which made it possible to enhance the properties with more decorative, Gothic styled features. These Gothic features are really what identifies a building as Victorian – lancet (pointed) windows, porches, dormers and pointed roofs that are sometimes decorated with a wooden trim that hangs from the edges are all unmistakable Victorian traits.

Inside, you will find high ceilings and large windows, narrow hallways and a simple two up, two down floor plans.

What are the characteristics of a Victorian property?

  • Coloured brick exterior
  • High pitched roof with ornate trim
  • Geometric tiled hallways that have seen a revival in recent years.
  • A porch (often brick)
  • Front door at the side of the property
  • Stained glass windows
  • Dark furniture and wooden floors
  • Narrow hallway
  • Fireplace in every room often with a tiled surround

Because housing became more accessible to middle and lower classes during the Victorian era, adding decorative features to a property became a way for the upper class (and the elite) to showcase their wealth; the more elaborate the design details on a property, the wealthier its owner was considered.

View our comprehensive guide to Victorian windows.

Typical style and characteristics of an Edwardian property

Edwardian properties were built during the reign of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, which lasted from 1901 to 1910. These houses display specific architectural and design characteristics that reflect the prevailing trends of that time.

Edwardian properties are often constructed using brick as the primary building material. The use of brick gives these houses a solid and enduring appearance. Sometimes, the brickwork is complemented by stone or rendered accents.

Compared to the more ornate Victorian architecture that preceded it, Edwardian architecture embraced a simpler and more elegant design approach. Clean lines and understated detailing characterise the exteriors.

Edwardian houses tend to have a symmetrical facade, with balanced and evenly spaced windows and doors. This sense of symmetry adds a sense of order and visual harmony to the design.

Many Edwardian properties feature bay windows that project outward from the facade. These bay windows not only provide additional interior space but also allow for more natural light to enter the rooms.

Edwardian roofs often have hipped or gabled forms with a moderate slope. The roofing material is typically slate or tiles. Some properties may have dormer windows that extend from the roof and add architectural interest. Verandas and porches are common features in Edwardian houses. These covered outdoor spaces are often supported by elegant columns and provide a place for relaxation and outdoor seating.

Edwardian properties commonly have large sash windows with multiple panes of glass. These windows contribute to the overall aesthetic and character of the architecture while allowing for good ventilation. While less ornate than the Victorian era, Edwardian properties still exhibit decorative elements. These might include intricate brickwork patterns, delicate mouldings, and decorative corbels.

The interiors of Edwardian properties typically feature high ceilings that create a sense of spaciousness. This design element contrasted with the lower ceilings often found in Victorian houses. Edwardian houses aimed to create brighter and more open interior spaces. Large windows, including the characteristic sash windows, were designed to allow ample natural light to flood the rooms.

Some Edwardian properties were influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, which emphasised craftsmanship, natural materials, and attention to detail. This influence might be seen in interior woodwork, built-in furniture, and other decorative elements. Edwardian properties often featured more practical and functional layouts compared to earlier architectural styles. Modern amenities and conveniences were incorporated into the design.

To summarise, the characteristics of an Edwardian property include:

  • Brick construction
  • High ceilings
  • Simplified design
  • Symmetry
  • Bay windows
  • Roof design
  • Verandas and porches
  • Sash windows
  • Decorative details
  • Light and airy interiors
  • Functional layout
  • Arts and crafts influence

So, there you have it. The Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian eras share some simplistic design styles but the culture changes resulting from the advancements of the industrial revolution, combined with the influence of the Gothic revival movement, saw Victorian housing boasting some unique features of its own.

Here at Parsons Joinery we specialise in restoring and adding authentic appeal to period properties with sash windows. If we can help in anyway, just give us a call. We’d love to help.

The difference between Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian houses - Parsons Joinery (2024)


How to tell the difference between Victorian and Edwardian houses? ›

So, unlike the smaller, darker Victorian homes, Edwardian houses were more squat, wider and roomy, with bigger hallways and more windows. It's common for an Edwardian property to have a front garden and be set back from the pavement, as there was an ever-increasing desire for privacy at that time.

What is the difference between Edwardian and Georgian style? ›

For example, Georgian homes typically have grand rooms with high ceilings, especially on the first and second floors. Victorian homes often feature detailed plasterwork and have bay windows. Edwardian homes usually have light and airy rooms and have the addition of a front garden.

What defines edwardian architecture? ›

Edwardian architecture usually means a Neo-Baroque architectural style that was popular for public buildings in the British Empire during the Edwardian era (1901–1910). Architecture up to 1914 is commonly included in this style.

Which era came first, Edwardian or Victorian? ›

Victorian. This was from 1837-1901. Following this came Edwardian, 1901-1910. Before the above we had Georgian 1714-1820, Regency 1820–1830.

How can you tell Georgian from Victorian? ›

Internally Victorian homes have high ceilings and large windows and layout within a long and thin footprint much smaller than Georgian homes. Victorian homes are typically one room wide, with a narrow hallway leading off into the different rooms, two up, two down with just two rooms on each floor.

What does a typical Edwardian house look like? ›

Therefore, many Edwardian homes are set back from the street and benefit from beautiful front gardens. Unlike the smaller, darker Victorian homes, Edwardian houses were more squat, wider and larger, with bigger hallways and more windows to allow in plenty of natural light.

What are 3 distinct features of the Georgian style? ›

If you ask most people to sketch a Georgian house, it will most likely be a rectangle with a door in the center, double-hung windows, a hipped roof and brick.

How to identify a Georgian house? ›

Key characteristics of a Georgian property

Large, sliding sash windows with small panes – and a real giveaway is a bricked-up window. Between 1696 and 1851, homeowners had to pay a window tax in place of income tax, the idea being that the more windows a home had, the greater the wealth of the owners.

Why is Georgian style called Georgian? ›

It is named after the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover, George I, George II, George III, and George IV, who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830. Middle-class house in Salisbury cathedral close, England, with minimal classical detail.

Did Edwardian houses have dado rails? ›

Dado rail is a wooden moulding seen in most Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian houses where period features have been preserved or restored.

Is a 1920s house Edwardian? ›

If your home was built in the Edwardian era of 1901-1910, then it is an Edwardian-period property. Though this was a short period, it was still an important one.

Is a 1930's house Edwardian? ›

The majority of house design in the UK within the 1930's continued the Edwardian principles as the Modernist movement failed to take mainstream force. At the end of the war, slums remained a problem in many large towns and almost 500,000 houses had been destroyed or made uninhabitable.

What was the Edwardian era called in America? ›

The Edwardian period was indeed a “Gilded Age,” both in England and America.

Do Edwardian houses have cellars? ›

Many Victorian/Edwardian homes have partial full cellars, with a crawlspace beneath part of the house. The reason why some houses were given basem*nts and others weren't isn't to do with personal preferences or differences in the technical ability of their builders.

What is the difference between Edwardian and Victorian interior design? ›

The interiors of Edwardian properties typically feature high ceilings that create a sense of spaciousness. This design element contrasted with the lower ceilings often found in Victorian houses. Edwardian houses aimed to create brighter and more open interior spaces.

How to identify a Victorian home? ›

Key Elements
  1. Two to three stories. Victorian homes are usually large and imposing.
  2. Wood or stone exterior. ...
  3. Complicated, asymmetrical shape. ...
  4. Decorative trim. ...
  5. Textured wall surfaces. ...
  6. Steep, multi-faceted roof or Mansard roof. ...
  7. One-story porch. ...
  8. Towers.

How do you know if something is Edwardian? ›

Edwardian furniture tends to be more free-spirited, rejecting the restraint of the previous Victorian period as a result of Edward VII's love of fashion and the arts. Colours also changed as the style moved away from the darker shades of Victorian furniture toward lighter colours that created a less imposing look.

What is the difference between Edwardian and Victorian fashion? ›

After the dark fabrics, heavy skirts and bustles of the Victorian era, Edwardian fashion turned to lighter, blousier styles that aimed to liberate women from the stiff conventions of the nineteenth century.

What do Edwardian windows look like? ›

Edwardian Bay windows are large and normally supported by brick or wooden external supports painted in white. Stained glass windows which were popularised in the Victorian era, remained in vogue but designs used brighter colours and pastel shades in preference to black and brown.

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