Sustainable Victorian Interior Design Tips

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

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:

1. Build Your Own Sustainable Victorian Home

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.

2. Renovate a Condo or a Townhome

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.

3. Eco-friendly Subdued Hue Paints

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.

4. Sustainable Patterned Fabrics

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. 

5. Upgrade Old Appliances

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.

6. Prioritize Natural Light

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.

7. Buy Second-hand Art and Decor

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.

Wrapping Up

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.

 

5 Gorgeous Gifts For The Interior Design Fanatic In Your Life

When you visit a person’s home and stand in awe of the immaculately detailed decoration of their living space, you can safely assume that this person loves anything and everything related to interior design.

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If you have such a person in your life who often redesigns their rooms and is always on the lookout for unique home furniture and decor, you should appreciate their aesthetic sensibility. When it’s time to give that person a present, it’s a no-brainer that you should give them an interior decor item. But what?

A generic decor item won’t do. You have to ensure your gift suits their style and their home. Here are five home design gift ideas to please anyone’s interior design tastebuds.

1. Classic Wall Clock

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A nice big clock is elegant and practical for any room of the house. A wall clock can serve as a decorative accent to fill up any empty wall space. Although we have the convenience of checking the time on our electronic screens, it doesn’t compare with a grand, artistic display of time.

There are a few aspects to consider, first the size of the clock. For an accent piece, choose something smaller, within the 10-18 inch range, but for a statement piece, go for a larger clock, between 24-30 inches. When it comes to materials, you can go the less expensive route with plastic, or choose a higher quality and price tag material like wood or metal.

The material you choose affects the styles available. You can select something modern with a metallic frame or something traditional with a natural design. Try to choose a color that will blend with the decor of any room. Neutral colors like white, beige, gray, and black are best. Natural colors of wood and metal are also safe choices.

2. Intriguing Showpieces

A showpiece can be the perfect gift for someone who has shelves and cabinets decorated with quirky items. Unique and interesting showpieces add a touch of detail and character to a place and reveal the interests of the homeowner.

One home decor tip when shopping for a showpiece for someone else is to buy something that matches a showpiece they already have. For instance, if someone is into animal figurines, you should get them a similar kind of showpiece. That way, you can be sure that they’ll like your gift and it will fit with the rest of their decor.

3. A Unique Vase

Displaying fresh (or artificial) flowers in a vase can enliven any room. But vases are not just for bouquets anymore. According to modern home decor conventions, a unique vase can also serve the function of a showpiece. It can fill up empty surfaces, draw the eye to a piece of furniture, and add charm to the space.

There are several vase shapes available, from bottleneck to flared, footed to cube, centerpiece to minimalist and more. Before picking out a vase, take a look at the decor styles already in the home and make sure your choice will compliment them.

4. Photo Frame with a Personal Memory

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Nothing makes the heart grow fonder of a gift than a touch of personalization. A photo frame with a picture of the two of you can be a personalized housewarming gift that will remain timeless. The best part of a framed photo is that the picture takes the center stage. If you choose a picture that has captured a memory both of you cherish or simply a picture you know they will like, the gift immediately becomes valuable, no matter which kind of frame you put it in.

Having said that, it’s still necessary to go with a frame that complements the picture. An easy way to do this is to match the color and tone of your frame with the color palette of the picture. Go for a simple, understated style if you are unsure about opting for something more bold. The perfect gift is a personal thing, so consider getting the frame engraved with the date of the photo within.

5. Meaningful Antiques

This is a bit of a niche choice of gift, but it can be a treasure trove for someone who is into antiques. Including antique pieces in your living space adds an archaic aesthetic to a modern home. For some people with more traditional and rustic homes, antiques will complement the home well.

There are multiple considerations to be made while buying antiques, especially if you are making an expensive purchase. Since these will be used, vintage items, you might have to do some restoration as well. Buy something small and manageable if this is your first time.

Make Each Gift Count

There are only two rules for buying interior design gifts for someone—know the person’s taste and know their home. If you can look at a gift and immediately tell whether it will fit into their home and their general style, you’re on the right track! If not, the best way to find out is to experiment. Either way, what makes your gift valuable is how much thought you put into it.

The Modern Rules Of Choosing A Style For A Rug

With spring bringing in a new wave of good, sunny vibes to your day-to-day, you’re ready to add those same vibes to your favorite place—your home sweet home. And a new rug can go a long way in chasing out those winter blues and making your retreat space look and feel brand new.

Not so fast, though.

Not all rugs are perfect for every home situation. You don’t want to buy a huge rug that you’ll have trouble placing in your living room. And the last thing you want is a rug that adds an unwanted aesthetic to your space. On the contrary, the right rug can instantly add definition and color to your established decor, whether it’s a captivating modern one or an elegant traditional one.

The question is, with the wide range of rug materials, colors, and styles available today, how can you go about choosing the right rug style for your home?

Here’s a rundown on the top modern rules of choosing a style for a rug this spring.

Don’t Go Too Big

Size matters when you’re selecting a rug for your room. For example, if you have a tiny apartment with several pieces of statement furniture or eclectic objects in it, you don’t want a rug that will overpower your space. So, before you shop, be sure to measure the area in which you will be placing your rug.

As a general rule of thumb, your rug should cover the width and length of your furnishings if you’re placing it in your family room. A 5’ 0” x 8’ 1” rug or a 6’ 3” x 9’ 11” rug is typically a great size for clustering furniture around in an intimate space. If you wish to expand this space, choose a bigger size that will outline your area’s perimeter.

In your dining room, the rug you select needs to be big enough to provide ample space for your chairs, even after they’ve been pulled out from your table. So, measure your dining table and then add two feet to determine the best rug size for this space.

Also, in a space where your floor is wooden, try to keep between 18 and 24 inches of wooden flooring around your room’s perimeter. 

Consider Your Lifestyle

Think about how you plan to use the space where your new rug will go. Perhaps you plan to put the rug in an area that receives high traffic, like a family room or hallway. Or, maybe you have pets or young children? If so, look for luxury rugs that are simple to clean and durable, like wool rugs. And try to stick with a rug that is dark enough to hide dirt or stains.

Perhaps you’re planning to place a new rug in your home office. Create a sophisticated and classically elegant work from home space with a bamboo silk rug.

Online School Living Room Children – Free photo on Pixabay

Create the Right Mood

In addition to considering the usability of your space, think about the type of mood you want to create in your space when purchasing a rug. A rug anchors a room, so the style and color of your rug plays a major role in establishing its mood.

For instance, stick with rich, dark hues to define an intimate space. Meanwhile, choose light colors to make a tinier space look larger. Also, spicy colors—like red, yellow, or orange—add warmth to a room, whereas cool colors help to create a calm feeling, particularly in a space that is sunny.

However, as you search for rugs of certain colors, keep in mind that your target rug should ideally complement your room’s 2-3 main hues. As an example, you could choose a rug whose pattern’s secondary color matches your couch’s solid color. Then, try to make the rug’s third color match your room’s accents, like the wall, drape, or throw pillow color. This will help to tie your room’s look together.

Of course, you don’t always have to go with patterned rugs. Solid-colored rugs also work well in rooms, especially if your rooms’ primary furnishings are upholstered in patterns or feature elaborate designs.

Don’t Put a Pause on Patterns

Let’s dive into patterns a bit more. Patterned rugs are generally an excellent choice if you want to create an eclectic look in your room. Your patterns will instantly become the room’s primary focal point. For instance, feel free to choose rugs with floral or even zigzag spiral patterns. You can also choose rugs with more subtle patterns if you’d rather not harshly define the space.

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Choose the Perfect Rug for Your Space This Spring

Rugs have always been and will always be one of the most quintessential decorative accessories due to their ability to add warmth and personality to any room. But choosing the right rug—one that won’t take up an exorbitant amount of space, for example—is critical for making your dream look and vibe for your room a reality.

Consider the above-listed modern rules for choosing a rug that fits your style and your room’s layout this spring. In no time, you can bring comfort, coziness, and a chic ambiance to your living space this spring!


Author Bio:

Carolyn Mitchell is a freelance writer and content strategist with a passion for home décor. She can often be found re-painting and updating the furnishings in her home, and she is also a dedicated cat mom to two adorable kitties.

How To Amp Up Your Small Rental Apartment

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Renting a new apartment is an exciting opportunity for decorating your place in a way that lets your personality shine through. Even if the rental apartment is small, there’s no reason to compromise and not go big on style. Depending on the type of apartment you have and your own personal taste, there are tons of ways to decorate your living space! We have a few ideas on how to amp up your small rental apartment.

Lighting

One of the best places to start with when it comes to amping up an apartment is the lighting. Picking the right set of lights can give your room a defining character and become the standard by which you add the next set of furniture and decor.

If you’ve been staying up to date with lighting trends, you’ll know that certain styles of lighting can trick visitors into thinking the space is much larger than it actually is. Ceiling fixtures that hang down draw the eyes upwards and open up your apartment in a way that makes it feel larger than it actually is. If you have permission to swap out your ceiling fixtures, this is a great place to start!

As for floor lighting and lampshades, you’ll want to go for softer, more incandescent lights as they make your room feel inviting and warm, as opposed to colder tones that can often appear uninviting.

Lastly, an aspect of lighting that many people don’t quite appreciate enough is reflections. Intelligently using mirrors both as decor and as an instrument to complement and improve lighting in your apartment can go a long way in creating a more open, brighter space that radiates positive energy. You’ll want to place mirrors directly in the path of light coming in from the windows to bounce the light around and give the impression of a larger room.

It’s The Small Things

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always big statements like oversized doors and beds that give small apartments character and size, but rather tiny items that can make a big impact. Attention to detail goes a long way in spicing up any apartment and every little change you make counts.

A great place to start here is with doorknobs. It might sound random, but they’re actually one of the items we interact with the most in any home. Rustic door knobs can add a unique life to your apartment, and convey a thoughtful, nostalgic sense of style with just a glance. Certain well-crafted door knobs also combine form and function by being incredibly appealing to look at and use, as well as secure thanks to modern locking technology. If you have permission to change out your doorknobs, this small change can make a large visual impact.

For even smaller apartments that might not even have doors to open, there are still several things that you can do to enlarge and beautify the space. A common piece of decor that people use in small apartments is a glass partition. Adding a glass partition is an ingenious idea for small studio apartments that often have just one room to boast of. Partitions stretch small spaces while still allowing for light to pass through. For apartments that might not be able to accommodate glass partitions, consider a foldable wooden divider. These serve a similar purpose, and can even be a better fit aesthetically for some apartments depending on lighting and other decor.

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Work With The Bed

Smart home design in small apartments revolves around intelligently managing bedroom decor. Since beds take up a large amount of the limited space available to you, how you decorate and use it can have a big impact on your quality of life. For starters, using trundle or retractable beds that you can use as a sofa or slide away when not in use is a common sight in smaller apartments.

As for decor, certain visual tweaks like using bright and bold handmade pillow covers is an easy way to make a statement. You can pair these with a comfortable and slim duvet that folds up easily into your bed’s storage for clever space management.

Utilizing Space

Renting out a small apartment, even one that’s been renovated recently, comes with its own quirks. These quirks take the form of unique nooks and crannies that you can take advantage of to make your space your own. A common example of this, particularly in cramped cities like New York, are the tiny alcoves below the windows found in small apartments. Adding a small couch or table here can do a lot to create a cozy space for you to inhabit.

Living Large

Being smart about how you decorate and use your small rental apartment is all it takes to make the most of what you have. Use your apartment’s unique features and accent them with subtle decor to live larger than ever before.


Author Bio:

Carolyn Mitchell is a freelance writer and content strategist with a passion for home décor. She can often be found re-painting and updating the furnishings in her home, and she is also a dedicated cat mom to two adorable kitties.

Interior Design As A Form Of Expression

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Your home can be a reflection of your personality and who you are, even if you don’t put any thought into the interior design consciously. Some people like to take control of this creative pursuit to develop an even more cohesive narration of their self-expression. If you think that you’d like to take your interior design to the next level with a more personalized, thoughtful perspective, it might be time to consider how exactly your home decor choices can make a difference. Check out this exploration of interior design as a form of expression and integrate some of these ideas into your space.

Colors Can Change Your Mind

Many people already know that color can affect them on a psychological level. Businesses use this tactic all the time to entice people to utilize their services. Have you ever noticed that fast food places use yellow and red because it makes you hungry, security firms use blue to enhance their authority, and hospitals use green for its soothing aura? These are just some of the ways that colors change your mind.

Wondering what different colors mean to your brain? Here’s some basic color theory to get you started:

  • Red: Energy, Action, Excitement
  • Orange: Uplifting, Friendly, Fun
  • Yellow: Happiness, Confidence, Optimism
  • Green: Hope, Balance, Revitalization
  • Blue: Trust, Authority, Serenity, Intelligence
  • Purple: Creativity, Individuality, Spirituality

Incorporating color into your home can be subtle or showstopping. Use home decor accessories in the colors you love to accent your space and add life to your home. Looking for something bolder? Consider painting one of your walls in an accent color to change the whole feel of the space.

Display Your Hobbies

Changing the colors in your home is a big deal, but it can still feel a little impersonal. So what are the things that really express your personality? Hobbies and passions, of course! Do you love reading? A bookshelf display can showcase your passion, create a cozy reading nook, and ensure your books are accessible at all times. Love crochet? Use your own designs to decorate your space with sofa covers, doilies, and more. From gardening and painting to woodcraft and music, you can use tables, walls, and cabinets to decorate with meaningful accessories and collectibles.

Personalized Rooms

If you have multiple people living in your home, they probably each have their own room. When it comes to kids, especially, you want to help them express themselves within their space by putting up their artwork, asking for their input, and exploring a variety of options for everything from doorknobs and cabinet handles to curtains and bedsheets.

Furniture Made for You

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You might think that you should buy furniture based on fashion trends you find on Instagram or Pinterest, but that’s not the way to express who you truly are. Pick things that make sense in your space, make you happy, and work cohesively to create a stunning design that you can’t wait to use. Don’t forget that mounted light fixtures and chandeliers also have their part to play in your furniture design!

Showcasing Your Past

While you might have spent a lot of time organizing decor accents that show off your hobbies and passions, don’t forget to do the same for your favorite memories. If you have any blank spaces on your walls or empty surfaces on your tables, you can fill them in with framed photos of the most important people in your life. Whether it’s family photos on snaps from adventures with friends, complete your design with souvenirs of places you visited together!

Spotlight Your History

Everyone’s family is different, but if yours is one that passes down special objects through the generations, you might want to make them part of your home decor. Whether it’s a cookbook or a music box, these items deserve a unique display. You can even start your own collection of heirlooms to pass down to future descendants for them to restore or upcycle when the time comes.

Transforming Your Home

All of these home decor techniques are different ways you may choose to express yourself. Whether you do them all or just choose one or two that really speak to you, these changes aren’t made overnight. Take your time deciding which accents, colors, and focal points make sense to you, and consider how they relate and express your personality.

As you embrace every aspect of who you are, from the most quirky to the most mainstream, you’ll find that you feel much more comfortable in your space. When you use your home as your canvas, you’re acting as an artist with control over every element and decision. You might make a conscious effort to bare every part of who you are, or you may choose to limit your self-expression to one or two rooms. Just make sure that whatever direction you go takes into account your entire lifestyle, family, and everyday activities.