Achieving the Modern Victorian Style: Wall Treatments and Art
In the spirit of all things romantic (it is Valentine’s Day after all) today we are diving even further into our Modern Victorian series. After all, there is no style more romantic than one that is filled with florals, exaggerated details, and kissing chairs (yes it is a thing). We’ve touched on a general overview of the style and the furniture needed to get the style but today we are talking wall treatments and art. So let’s get romantic and get into it.
Let’s start with the foundation of the room, your walls. The key to the Modern Victorian style is mixing new with old and old with new. But, what if you don’t have those old aged and detailed walls like a lot of the rooms you see in these inspiration pictures? Well, then you add it of course. And while adding wall paneling sounds quite laborious, expensive and annoying, it can be surprisingly easy and affordable if you are willing to do a little DIY to bring some value and character into your home.
We explored a handful of different ways that you can add character to your home in this post, but with Modern Victorian, it is about the “applied strip moulding”, “paneling” and “crown moulding”. No shiplap or tongue and groove will be found here as this style is more refined, detailed and simple than some of the more rustic wall treatments we discussed in that post. Adding just a little bit of strip moulding to your walls like these rooms have is something that will instantly bring that character into the room that all of these rooms have.
If applied strip moulding and paneling isn’t on your “honey-do” list this V-Day weekend. Then this solution might be a bit more manageable before you dive into the chocolates and bubbly.
Paint is one of the easiest and quickest ways to change the look, feel and vibe of a room and the same rings true in the Modern Victorian style. Slap some saturated and moody paint on your walls and before you know it you’ll be channeling some major Modern Victorian vibes. As far as colors go, you really can work with quite a few colors but generally, you will want to pull tones that feel saturated, highly pigmented, and bold. Steer clear of anything that feels too pastel, bright, or poppy and instead grab a tone further down on the paint chip that is a bit darker and moodier.
Here are a few of our favorite colors right now that work within the Modern Victorian color palette. We haven’t tried all of these in person but we have seen them used in rooms and can attest to how pretty the colors are. A quick tip on painting anything that is saturated like these tones, grab yourself a sample pot and test it out on your walls before you commit to painting the entire room. These colors are all a major departure from the “swiss coffee” that most people have on their walls so be sure to test it out before you commit.
1. Symphony Blue | 2. Hidden Sapphire | 3. Stiffkey Blue | 4. Compass | 5. Vardo | 6. Calke Green | 7. Breakfast Room Green | 8. Grappa | 9. Peerage | 10. Organdy | 11. Primrose | 12. Book Room Red | 13. Salmon Mousse | 14. Pink Ground | 15. India Yellow
You know how we feel about wallpaper (just check out the portfolio if you aren’t aware at how much we love to use it) and it is for good reason. The right wallpaper can completely transform a room, bringing in life, pattern and color that you can’t get any other way. And it can be done in a half a day either by you or an installer, so it isn’t quite the commitment that paneling or wood moulding would be.
As with the other elements in this style, the wallpaper should be playful, saturated, and decorative. Overscale exaggerated florals like this room below with wallpaper from Ashley Woodson Bailey are a perfect example of how you can pull the Modern Victorian vibe in through the wallpaper on your walls. She has a huge selection of florals in different colors, sizes, and patterns all which work within the Modern Victorian style.
And if you can handle something bolder, then go even larger with the scale of your pattern like they did below. Now, before you all start wallpapering (or shopping around for said wallpaper) this is a style that can go cheesy really fast, so if you do pick a photo-realistic version then find something that feels slightly abstracted or blurred like you see above. And if you find something that is a drawing, painting, or pattern then look for something that feels slightly antique or old to help it stay true to the Victorian trend, and so that you don’t look like you blew up a stock image of flowers and put it on your walls.
You can even go more soft and subtle (if this counts as subtle) like they did below with this more muted palette.
To get you started and to help you navigate the overwhelming plethora of options that show up if you google “floral wallpaper” here are a few of our favorites that all lean more large scale and abstract.
1. Centerfold | 2. Artemis | 3. Light Turquoise Background Vintage | 4. Great Meadow Mural | 5. Vase Flowers de Heem Mural | 6. Into the Garden (Sage) | 7. A Golden Age (Deep Moss Green) | 8. Kaia | 9. Blush Bouquet | 10. Vivian Mae | 11. May Meadow (Pastel) | 12. Dutch Love
Next up is a much more approachable and palatable way to bring the floral trend into your home if you aren’t ready to go full twee with a large scale wall to wall mural of a peony on your wall (which we get isn’t for everyone). Floral art is something that is timeless, tasteful and works with just about any style and you will find a heavy dose of it in Modern Victorian inspired interiors.
Whether it is a more modern version like above where they had an old print and then filled in parts of it with watercolor giving it a modern color overlay, or more antique like the examples below, floral art is something that will always have a place in this style.
You’ll notice in all of these examples that when they used a more antique looking print or piece of art they paired it with a few modern pieces around the room to help with the old/new, new/old aspect of the style.
Here are a few of our favorites currently online that embody the style and would work well to bring the trend into your space. But you can also find some incredible vintage florals online on etsy, charish, EBTH or ebay. You might have to do some digging but they have an amazing selection to browse through.
In the same family as florals are botanicals and although they both would be considered “flowers” by some we decided to separate them into two different categories as both can be used independently, and although botanicals are still floral feeling they are a more subtle approach to the Modern Victorian trend if you are still one of those people that are feeling a little shy about trying to adopt it into your own home.
Use them organically in a gallery set up like they did above for a more curated look or you can arrange a collection of framed ones of the same size into a grid like below.
Here are a few to get your botanical collection started, and bring a bit of Modern Victorian into your own space.
1. Remember: Lily of the Valley | 2. Vintage 1876 Botanical Print | 3. Wild, Wild Wildflowers | 4. Viteri Hanging Frame | 5. Spring Blossoms | 6. Greyscale Poppies | 7. Upright Fern | 8. Dryopteris Arguta | 9. Vintage 1946 Botanical Print | 10. I’m Frond of You No. 1 | 11. Whistling Stem | 12. Wild Pea
Last but not least – Portraits. If there is one thing that is iconic to the Modern Victorian style it would be portraits. Just about every room that we sourced when we were pulling this post together had at least one portrait if not more. And while they might not be for everyone we do love them and the story, quirk, and whimsy that they can bring to a room. Nothing like a random strangers head saying hello to you every day from your living room wall.
With portraits, you will want to look for the variety that has more subtle and moody tones. Steer clear of anything that is too bright, abstract or poppy in color as those will make the room lean more eclectic than Victorian.
So, are any of these ideas something that you think you could incorporate into your own home or is decking your walls with antique art, wallpaper, portraits and tones just a bit too far for you and this Modern Victorian trend. Let us know if you have any questions below on any of the ideas and we will do our best at answering them. Until tomorrow, Happy VDay!