Though traditional Victorian homes are not very eco-friendly or sustainable, there are many ways you can renovate an old house to make it more sustainable or design a new Victorian-style home using sustainable materials and elements. There is no reason you have to give up your love for Victorian design just to be more eco-conscious.
Sustainability is important, and homeowners need to do their part to minimize their home’s carbon footprint to mitigate further damage to the environment. Still, it is possible to have a beautifully elegant Victorian home while being mindful of your impact on the planet.
Below are some tips and tricks you can follow to design the sustainable, modern Victorian home of your dreams:
If overhauling an existing Victorian-era home seems like too much work, or if you simply can’t find exactly what you are looking for, building your own home in the Victorian style is an option. Building a family home takes a lot of time, money, and effort, but the result is often worth it. It means you can use more sustainable materials from the start and ensure everything looks exactly the way you want it to.
Maintaining a smaller carbon footprint can sometimes be achieved by living in a smaller home. So instead of buying and renovating a Victorian house, you can look for a smaller condo or townhome that is a new build designed in the Victorian style. New, smaller builds like condos and townhomes are often more sustainable, and even if you can’t find one in the Victorian style, you can renovate it or decorate it using Victorian design elements.
Today, chic Victorian designs are all about using darker, subdued hues such as smokey blacks, blues, and greens, while bringing in brighter colors with the furniture and decor. Not all paint brands are the same, however. So when choosing your Victorian paint colors, opt for brands that use non-toxic paints that are more sustainable and better for your health.
Contrasting textures and fabric patterns are staples in Victorian-style homes as they can give the space a very opulent and luxurious feel. However, you don’t need to buy expensive fabrics to achieve this look. You can purchase more sustainable fabrics and dye them yourself using natural dyes. Or you can even find what you are looking for at thrift stores.
While fabrics and decor from a thrift store might not have been initially made sustainably, buying things second-hand helps keep landfills from overflowing and reduces the number of new things that need to be manufactured. You can shop second-hand for just about anything, including curtains, lace table cloths, patterned pillows and bedcovers, and more.
One of the best ways to make your home more sustainable is to install new energy-efficient appliances. Older, Victorian homes often come with outdated appliances that use more energy than they need to. Of course, many new energy-efficient appliances do not reflect the Victorian style, but there are design hacks you can use to make them look vintage. There are even some companies that sell modern, energy-efficient appliances that are designed to resemble those from bygone eras.
While elegant, vintage light fixtures are a great way to bring the Victorian style to your home, they are not always the most eco-friendly design option. This is not to say you can’t install these light fixtures or use elegant lamps, but it’s best to actually use them as little as possible. To avoid having to use lights during the day, try to design or buy a home that has a lot of windows and good natural light. This can help you reduce your energy bill and lower your home’s carbon footprint while still allowing you to use elegant, Victorian light features when it gets dark.
The elements that often tie a space together are art and decor. Hunting down vintage pieces to create your Victoria dream home can be fun and even eco-friendly, depending on where you shop. There are plenty of new companies that manufacture things in the Victorian style, but supporting these sellers is not very sustainable. Instead, seek out thrift shops and antique stores to repurpose existing art and decor.
It’s more satisfying anyways to know that you are using an actual piece versus buying something new that looks vintage. You can even find and repurpose old light and plumbing fixtures that better match the Victorian style.
Just because Victorian design doesn’t look sustainable doesn’t mean it can be environmentally friendly. There are many construction companies today, for example, that can build a Victorian-style home using eco-friendly materials. And the interior design can easily mimic the Victorian era while utilizing sustainable and thrifted products and materials. There are really no limitations if you are willing to get creative and put in a little extra effort.