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August 2017
5 tips for decorating a contemporary Victorian home

We just love a period home in this country don’t we? Flick through the pages of any interiors magazine and you’ll find image after image of Victorian terraced houses, Edwardian semis and period flat conversions. Just as certain music and aromas invoke warm memories of good and loving times, a person can be fond of a certain time in history. This doesn’t mean if you are a Revolutionary War buff that you would go around dressed in a uniform or wig from that era, it just means that this period brings you pleasant and happy thoughts. You can use pieces of different period influences in decorating your home. Like the picture below, which have been fused with classic British culture.

You do not have to have everything in your home bear a resemblance to your favorite time in history. You can have splashes of it here and there which blend in with the rest of your décor and make you feel warm and fuzzy when you see it. Some people live in period homes which makes choosing furniture, fixtures and colors relatively easy if they want to remain in theme with their home. However, if you do not have a period home and have somewhat of a blank slate, you are ahead of the game.

When using period influence in decorating your home there are so many specific times from which to choose. You can go with something as classic as Art Nouveau and Art Deco to an idea as simple as the Old Scandinavian or contemporary Victorian. Just don’t over-do it. An item here, a color there – that’s all you need! But it can be difficult to know where to start. So I thought I’d share my top 5 tips for decorating a contemporary Victorian home without creating a confused disaster!

Having renovated a flat in a Victorian townhouse impression along with a lovely Victorian terrace, I understand the design dilemmas you have to muster with. Whether you have a house full of lovely features or one butchered in the 70s, it’s still possible to create a fabulously contemporary Victorian home that honors its past but caters to the way we live now. Clearly there are major considerations if you’re talking about knocking down walls, building extensions or digging out cellars, but that’s not what we’re focusing on here. When it comes to decorating, here are my top 5 tips for contemporary style in a Victorian setting:

1) Choose bold lighting – Something modern or from a different era can look great, but make it large or statement enough to contrast against its architectural surroundings. Large industrial pendants work well. Mid-century designs by John Poulsen will contrast nicely with some intricately carved old school glass chandeliers. Anything bold and confident will look far more at home than a sad little lampshade dangling from the ceiling. A fabulous ostentatious glass chandelier from the era of 50’s or 60’s will go rightly with your contemporary setting, as does the mid-century giant angle poise lamp. You can also go with moon light to make a real statement against your white plasterwork, and would work well in a large Victorian room.

2) Use single color for your setting – Any coving, plasterwork, picture rails and especially dado rails will look far more contemporary and less fussy when painted out in the same color. Whether you favor bright white or stronger colors like the lovely grey-brown tints, just use it on everything for a far more sleek and unified look, without you having to remove anything original.

3) Keep or replace as many key features as you can – Encaustic tiled hallways look fab with anything. Fireplaces, cornicing, coving and paneling can all work brilliantly in a contemporary scheme. You just have to keep it consolidated with equivalent color. Victorianism has always been about pastel hues and pale tinctures starting from rose pink to pale green and moving from peach to lime mint. You can give a touch of these colors to your wall with golden panels and a custom golden coving, so that it could bring a warm look to your rooms. Laces and floral prints have always been in trend. You can also use sheets and curtains with a lacy motif and floral prints to embellish your bedroom and living room. To bring that hint of modernity to your Victorian concept, just involve and add these elements to your setting and witness your home go from ordinary to more imperial.

4) Avoid fussy window dressings- It can be tempting when dealing with bay windows and wooden garden doors to dress them with lots of fabric and pattern. Personally I would stick with simple fabrics – natural linens or silks, in a plain or geometric pattern. Or velvet – you can never go wrong with velvet in my book! As for color, either blend in with the walls so that the windows themselves are the feature, or you can opt for a stand out contrast – citrine against white walls, or jade green against grey for example. Instead of going with simple roman blinds or shutters why not go for Austrian blinds to make your abode zeal with Victorian vibes.

5) There’s no need to have a ‘Victorian bathroom’ – A beautiful claw-footed bath can be given a contemporary twist with cool lighting, artwork, mirrors and more. But equally, if you want modern, go modern. Bathrooms only came into existence in the Victorian era, and were usually very small, functional rooms. I wouldn’t feel obliged to install period sanitary-ware and taps when you’re probably going to install a very non-Victorian power shower anyway! And of course, those ever-popular metro tiles look very contemporary.

Victorian period designs were based on imitation and reproduction. Many different styles were revived, and often more than one influence featured on a single piece. Their Style was eclectic and cluttered. Homes were filled to the brim with big furniture and excessive amounts of ornaments. Lush layers of luxurious fabrics begging to be touched, sensuously carved furnishings, and exotic trimmings added to the seductive appeal belied by Victorian mores and rules of etiquette. But modernity have changed the essence and glimpse of Victorian era. Still by opting these 5 ideas you can easily get your dream Victorianized home.

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