A symbol of timeless elegance, Victorian décor is slowly sneaking back to interior design waters nowadays, albeit in a slightly revamped guise. An ingenious reinterpretation of the awe-inspiring 19th-century style, the modern Victorian home look is characterized by superior craftsmanship, textural balance, abundance of vintage details, and less dramatic color palette compared to the original look. Intrigued? Here, pick up a few simple tips on how to usher in a touch of the time-honored Victorian charisma in your contemporary living area.
- As opulent as Victorian textures can be
Contrasting textures occupy an important place in the traditional Victorian home. In the modern equivalent of the 19th-century decor, however, textural opulence is replaced by a fine balance of natural elements such as wood and stone and furnishings made from contemporary materials such as synthetic fiber and brushed metal. Although true-blue Victorian homes featured heavy drapes in place of shutters and shades, chic white, brown, or black blinds purchased online are not uncommon in contemporary Victorian bedrooms. Similarly, upholstery in modern Victorian homes verges on the pastel rather than dramatically dark tones, and metallic accents are often mixed with wooden furnishings varnished to a high shine to avoid excess textural contrast.
- Dramatic hue contrasts dialed down
Another feature typical of Victorian and Gothic style, drastic tones are today replaced by slightly dampened hues to produce a lavish debonair look while not overwhelming the rest of the décor. Deep, sinister tones such as black, dark brown, navy blue, and crimson have ceded the throne to their paler counterparts, and the overall color scheme of a modern Victorian home is somewhat lighter than it normally was in the original 19th-century style. Neutrals such as cream, grey, and beige are often employed today, whereas solid tones are used sparingly, to set the overall mood to grounded rather than replicate the breath-taking grandeur typical of classic Victorian homes.
- A refined modern Victorian wallscape
In a conventional Victorian home, walls were outfitted with heavy wallpapers in bold shades and elaborate prints, but in a modern Victorian home, walls feature less dramatic patterns. Tone-on-tone prints in beige, cream, grey, and soft metallic work well in the modern Victorian home, and the antique flair is achieved through tasteful employment of masterfully executed architectural elements such as crown molding, wall trims, chair rails, and millwork with the recognizable 19th- century embellishments. A chic Victorian wallscape is often centered on grey, ivory, and similar neutral shades, whereas the use of bold pops common in the original Victorian look is nowadays limited to accent walls and statement furnishings.
- Vintage with an artistic modern twist
Imposing furnishings that occupied the central place in a 19th-century room are still at home in a modern Victorian living area. Antique armoires, lavish armchairs, and heavy tables add a dose of opulence to the contemporary reinterpretation of the Victorian décor, and vintage touches are modernized through creative material mixes such as mahogany and leather, teak and velvet, or redwood and damask. Nightstands with brass feet, retro chaises with modern upholstery, and exotic storage chests exude an aura of luxury and old-school nostalgia, but the tonal palette of furnishings in a modern Victorian-inspired home is less intense compared to the 19th-century style.
Modern Victorian homes are an embodiment of retro charm, balance, and sophistication, which makes this style perfect for homeowners looking to redo their property following in vintage footsteps. Visual unity of antique elements and modern colors and materials, sumptuous trims and toned-down contrasts, and focus on stability over extravaganza are the biggest assets of contemporary Victorian design. An evergreen source of inspiration for romantics, Victorian style is not a thing of the past: with just a few minor tweaks and updates, the olden home look has returned to claim its rightful place on the 21st-century interior design bandwagon.
Zoe Clark is a journalist, freelance stylist and blogger. She is a visual storyteller and aesthetician by heart who often writes about decorating and DIY ideas. She loves sparking creativity in people and giving them ideas for their own spaces.