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Fit For A Queen: How to Get Victorian Modern Style

Minimalism as both a philosophy and interior design trend is still going strong, but there is a growing number of people who are tired of seeing sparsely decorated spaces.  One way people are pushing back against minimalism is by turning to Victorian style.  Named for the architecture and design that emerged during the reign of Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901), Victorian style has a few key aspects.  Heavy yet vivid colors, velvety textures, and intricate details are all hallmarks of Victorian decor.  Furniture from that time often includes tufted pieces with button backs, deeply-set or low to the ground seating options, and curved legs with detailed design work.  Victorian style is definitely in tune with the growing maximalism trend, but may seem a bit stuffy for the modern lifestyle.  Here are some ways to embrace Victorian style without feeling like you live in a museum display.

Mix Victorian with Modern

The cornerstone of Victorian Modern style is the careful combining of decadent Victorian design and sleek modern design.  A bold floral wallpaper can set the Victorian mood while sleek modern furniture keeps the space from feeling weighed down.  You can reupholster a piece of Victorian furniture in a more modern textile and keep the intricate wood details while still maintaining a modern touch.  Alternately, you can reupholster a modern sofa in a Victorian style fabric for a different effect.  Another frequent combination is an antique table paired with modern chairs.  Velvet was incredibly popular in Victorian times, so any velvet you can incorporate into the decor will bring with it a Victorian vibe.  There are a lot of ways to bring Victorian and modern style together, just be sure to do it thoughtfully so your space doesn’t end up looking haphazard and messy.

Don’t Shy Away from Color

Victorians loved color.  It was rare to find white walls during this time of opulence, so an easy way to introduce Victorian Modern style into your space is through color.  During that time rich hues of green, gold-brown, red, and blue were all popular, and color was everywhere.  While each room was filled with dramatic color, the boldest colors were often used to denote the rooms of highest importance.  While you don’t have to stick to the same color palette as the Victorians, you can still embrace their color sensibilities.  If you live in a place where you can’t paint the walls, you can still inject color in other ways.  Removable wallpaper, furniture upholstery, rugs, drapery, and other accessories are all great opportunities to fill your space with color and pattern.  And when paired with plain white walls you’ll still get the balance of modern design.

Embrace Ornament

The Victorian period is known for its decadence, opulence, and just well, being a bit over the top.  If you’re going for a modern take on Victorian style you don’t need to go all out, but you should still embrace ornament in some form.  If your space has interesting architectural features, base the room design around those to highlight them rather than hide them.  Look for patterns that complement the space – either the florals popular in Victorian times or more modern geometric designs.  Pay attention to small details like cabinetry hardware and doorknobs – both are opportunities to add small touches of ornate flair.  Victorian Modern is also a great style for collectors to adopt since it welcomes displays of your favorite objects.

Get Creative with Layering

Part of Victorian style, and maximalism in general, is to layer your decor.  To keep things from becoming too oppressive you should still practice some restraint.  You want the space to look cozy, not suffocating.  Textiles like draperies, rugs, and pillows are ideal for creating a layered look.  An antique sofa with intricate carving can be layered with throw pillows in a modern pattern.  A modern chair can be placed on top of an antique style rug and with a damask or floral pillow.  Both of these options layer the two styles to bring you the best of both worlds.

Choose Bold Lighting

Both Victorian and modern style embrace bold lighting though the designs themselves are different. This means that a large chandelier is practically a requirement.  Whichever the predominant theme of the space is (more Victorian or more modern) go with the opposite for the lighting.  This will help the fixture contrast to its surroundings and make a real statement.  Anything bold and confident will look more at home than a single pendant hanging down from the ceiling.

Victorian Modern is a bit of an eccentric style, so remember to have fun with it!  If you temper the ornate Victorian style with sleek modern designs you’ll end up with a space that’s the perfect balance of both, and not butter upon bacon (that’s Victorian slang for too much extravagance).  As with other transitional styles Victorian Modern has a timeless quality to it that will outlast other trends, while the maximalist aspect of it leaves plenty of room to embrace trends as they come and go.