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.
1. Echo Park Wall Art | 2. Cait | 3. Peonies by Night | 4. Into The Pink | 5. Pastel WildFlower | 6. Thank You | 7. Framed Floral Black and Orange | 8. Garden Peony | 9. Pastel Wall Flower
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.
1. Portrait of a Woman | 2. Day Dream | 3. Vintage French Gentleman | 4. Human One: Anton | 5. Head | 6. Willow | 7. Verity in the Garden | 8. Vintage French Woman | 9. Portrait of Edward
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!
Thank you for this! I’ve been searching for a dark floral wallpaper for my bedroom and now I think I’ve found it!
Let us know what you end up going with! Would love to see it 🙂
I live in Germany and not everything is available here (Anthropologie, I’m looking at you :-P) and the murals were out of my price range . . . so we’re going with Eijffinger Masterpiece 358000. My husband is on board (surprisingly) and I’m so excited!
Scrolling this photos was a delight. Thank you!
If anyone is looking for a pretty green paint, I just used Amazon Moss by Benjamin Moore this weekend. It is so beautiful, a true green. It is on the built-in bookshelves and the cable guy even commented on it!
Thanks for the recommendation!
That couch in the first photo is A++++++++. That’s like my dream library couch.
Does anyone own the Josh Young Design House print (No 6 in the portrait roundup above) or has anyone seen it in real life? I feel drawn to it, but I wonder if what I see as cheeky could come across as supporting the censorship of a woman’s face when seen out of the context of the artist’s website or instagram page?
I LOVE his work! I own one of his large Emma portraits and I get complimented on it all the time! He’s mentioned before that he crosses out the eye’s (male portraits too) to draw your eye to the other elements in the portrait including their clothing, facial features, etc.) It’s super chic
Thank you Cara!
I’ve been eyeing a few of his portraits for months — seeing one here just made my decision!
What an amazingly through post! Thank you!
I’m (yikes!) considering Bay Area Toile wallpaper on my half guest bath. I live in the Bay Area.
Any thoughts? Is it in this vibe?
As someone who was born and raised in San Francisco, I personally find the toile to be enjoyably weird. And since it’s going in a space where you don’t have to look at it all the time, like a guest half bath, I’d say go for it and take a design risk. If your feeling unsure though, try the $5 sample roll perhaps?
I am wishing I had a guest bathroom right now, and I would be hella delighted if I used your bathroom.
I’m so digging this. Special thank you shout out for the paint colors! (But how did you render those cute paint dots like that? Inquiring minds…)
I love this look! Our style is more “happy modern eclectic”, but I can totally appreciate how lush and luxe this look is! Sigh. I am currently selling a GREAT little framed portrait piece that would be perfect for this look and I’m only selling it for $20 (on my blog shop or my Instagram). I got it from this gorgeous old house in Detroit.
That big floral wallpaper just about makes me cry, it’s so lovely! Someday I will do this in my house!
Does the v-board work for this style? If so, how far up the wall would you do it?
Thank you so much for this post! I love this style, but have been thinking how much it seems limited to particularly gorgeous architectural spaces… this shows that it’s just not so 🙂
YESSSSSS I love this. It is so moody and rich, and the tiniest bit cheeky. More, more, more, please!
I am ga-ga over this style! Strong, colorful and layers of interest — wow! To change the subject. I have a suggestion. I have two daughters in their first homes: 8′ ceilings, smaller builder grade windows, semi-open rooms. You get it. Have you ever thought of doing a series of posts for their situation? By that I mean, showing the elements of Modern Victorian (or any other style) that would work in their homes? In today’s post you show the ideas in rooms with high ceilings and tall windows and beautiful trim. I want/need these wonderful posts! BUT… thinking about translating the appropriate elements to the real world home many of us have….. that is a chore beyond most people! I envision a series in which you take different styles and break them down into ideas that might work in ‘first’ homes. I don’t necessarily mean inexpensive; many are able to buy a piece that we hope to keep forever. This might be more about proportion, emphasis, color and maybe a few “it-won’t-work-wells”. (I think this could be extremely tough, maybe why it isn’t done?) You and your team could do this! Everyday, I love your posts. The depth and… Read more »
Completely off topic but I am completely captivated by the wire chandelier in the 2nd to last photo–any information?
PS, I do love the botanicals, I have a series of Blossfeldt prints that I have hanging in my bathroom.
Yes I recognise it!! & agree it is totally gorgeous & striking! It’s from Abigail Ahern here in the UK but I know you can have it posted to the US (if that’s where you are based) – I love it in the white option, looks great against a dark paint colour https://abigailahern.com/collections/lighting/products/copy-of-neo-baroque-chandelier-large
I would have never suspected that I was a “Victorian” style lover. But, looking at these amazing shots – I TOTALLY am. God, those floral wallpapers. STUNNING.
I’m just LOVING this right now! The dark walls, the florals and wall textures! Also the mix of old and new. I think I need to change my powder room right now. 🙂
Any chance you could do a round up on British Colonial style? You don’t hear this term often but I love several components — the rattan, the use of live plants, bamboo, etc. Many items you see used in other styles and I think it really brings them fresh look.
What an amazingly thorough and comprehensive post! This was a joy to read! Very rare to find so much information, fantastic images and then examples to boot! Loved it!
totally agree. a lot of work and thought went into the post. I really enjoyed it.
LOVING THIS STYLE.. keep it coming 🙂 saving (on Houzz… the BEST website for interiors) so many of these photos! Totally the sort of direction I’m taking my art-deco-Yorkshire-Tudorbethan house! 🙂
I think that this entry is very interesting
Amazing post! Modern Victorian is not my favourite style, but I love some of your ideas. So, thanks for the inspiration. P.S: I’ve found beautiful floral art on Society6.
Anna From Italy
I like the mix but it’s funny that the stark look that makes it less fussy, is SO reminiscent of mismatched random furniture in college and post grad apartments in the Bay Area, home to many aged Victorian homes. Am I the only one reminded of their post college early 20s life? A lot of the pictures remind me of not being able to afford much furniture, craigisting older things and having cheap modern bedding or bedframe or lighting. These are cool spaces but it’s just funny how not having money always becomes a look. Like rustic barn tables. Industrial lofts. Hip bare coffee shops. Sought after style seems to come from the poor creatives.
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Dua For Parents
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Modern Victorian Style is wild!! Thanks for the inspiration!