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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
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Styles come and go in design, just as they do in fashion, life and just about everything else. But as a daily editorial site whose job it is to navigate the new, weird and often obscure trends or styles that are becoming popular in peoples homes and in the design world, today we are taking this time to introduce you to what we are dubbing “Modern Victorian”, which we predict to be a big trend in 2018.

So, what exactly is “Modern Victorian” you ask? It is a style whose name we just came up with  that is a spin-off of a very classic vibe, done in a fresh, new, and relevant way. 2017 was the year of minimalism in many ways. The Marie Kondo method of tidying up became something everyone tried (and potentially failed at), California Casual was all anyone could talk about, and whites, washed linens, and neutrals dominated the design world. We aren’t here to say that these styles or methods are out (not at all), but instead that 2018 might be the year of maximalism (to a certain extent) and this style fits in perfectly with a shift from all things simple and plain to something that is more theatrical, detailed, bright and dramatic in your home decor. But, rather than going on and on about what it is exactly, let’s break it down to really SHOW you through pictures this style and then under each section we will talk about how you can get the look in a much more approachable way in your own home.

But to be honest, it was VERY hard to find accurate photos that represent this trend, probably because its risky and not really ‘in’ yet. We just know how we are gravitating towards it and seeing SO much of it in fashion, so its coming … First up….

Velvet, Tufting, and Fringe:

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In Victorian design, more is more and this is one of the key anchor points of this style. Specifically when it deals with the details on the furniture in these types of rooms. In this style, you will often see Victorian pieces that are done with an excess of tufting, fringing, pleating, or gathering of fabric on the furniture, BUT in a slightly more modernized and abstract way. Above they used the back of the sofa to really create a moment with that gathering of fabric creating a huge skirt along the back (the rest of the room is trickier). And below, they took a traditional tufting technique but wrapped it around a curved wall to make it feel a bit more modern.

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Anywhere and everywhere that you can add fringing or tufting is very much acceptable in this style.

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Along the bottom of a little settee like above, or on the sofas below… why not? Here’s how I would do it – use linen upholstery with a more matte fringe. I think that the shiny velvet doesn’t feel as modern, but I love that shape so much.

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If fringe isn’t your thing (whats wrong with you), then some sort of special detail can add that extra layer to your piece of furniture which will make it feel more Victorian. Like below, where they used that additional piece of trim along all the seams of the couch.

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You can also modernize the Victorian form and style with a more updated color and fabric treatment like they did in the next few examples.

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Above they took a very traditional and Victorian club chair profile and then updated it with a very intricate and modern tufting technique.

But it isn’t just for furniture. Fringe can also be added to just about anything in the room like they did with this light fixture – of which I LOVE. The fringe instantly evokes a sense of playfulness which is key in this style, as it is all about layering on the textures and details in a really playful and fun way.

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So, how do you get it in your own home in a slightly more toned down, and easy to live with everyday kind of way?

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This living room above is a perfect example of how to make it work. By bringing in a few very classic victorian fringed pieces to a rather simple and refined room it instantly brings a sense of drama to the room without it feeling like “ye old speakeasy” in London. A mix of the old with the new is key in making this work in an applicable and livable way. We will have some full roundups coming up on the blog to help you really conquer this style piece by piece, but for now let’s get into the next concept in the Modern Victorian style.

Modern Lighting in a Victorian Styled Space:

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The Modern Victorian trend needs you to mix different eras together so it doesn’t go granny. Specifically, this comes into play when you mix old architecture with modern lighting. This is a tricky one as not all modern lighting will work in all “old spaces” but if you adhere to the typical rules of scale and size then you can create a pretty unique looking space. Our tip would be to steer clear of anything that feels TOO contemporary (read: 90’s modern) and instead go for something that feels more inspired by midcentury modern or Scandinavian modern influences and lines – when in doubt anything that is French and from 1930’s – 1960’s will probably look awesome.

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Old with new, new with old. It is again about the mixing of styles and eras that you typically wouldn’t place together but again make it such a unique finished product. Could we live with black floors, walls and ceilings every day… probably not. But do we LOVE looking at this room and how rich and dramatic it feels… YES. Modern Victorian is about pushing the envelope both with style and with colors and accessories.

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Everything in this room below leans more old and Victorian feeling but then the modern brass standing lamp juxtaposes everything in there in such a nice way.

If you haven’t guessed already this style is a bit more theatrical and “dressed” than a normal livable style but it is all about embracing that sense of a bygone era and modernizing it to today. Crumbling walls might not be the most livable and we are pretty certain that this space might be a set what with that peeling wallpaper but it echoes our point of how bringing in a modern piece of lighting can update the room and bring it to a more modern look.

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So how do you make this one work for you? It is pretty self-explanatory but by using a few more modern piece of lighting in a traditional or Victorian space you get the perfect combo of new and old like you see below. The settee, blush-toned walls, and table all lean more victorian while the lighting and chairs bring in that modern element.

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Ornate Furniture in a Modern Space/Modern Furniture in an Ornate Space:

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We talked about what bringing a modern piece of lighting into the room can do, and the same concept is applied to furniture. Above, the entire room is pretty antique and Victorian feeling but then with the addition of the two modern and contemporary side tables there in front of the settee it brings it to the 21st century. Bonus points to this designer for echoing the rust color of the settee in the side table.

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This room has an obviously antique bedframe but then is paired with a more modern wardrobe, an abstract rug and a modern light above it all which makes it feel more fresh and fun.

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This kitchen does have a little bit of a Parisian vibe going on, but the combo of the modern flat-front cabinets and then the older piece above it works SO well together and exemplifies this concept in the Modern Victorian style. Not quite sure if they pull out a ladder every time they need a plate from that cabinet so the functionality of it is TBD, but we love the look. All of the above pictures are totally applicable examples of how to make this one work in your own home, keeping in mind that the mix of new and old is key with this one.

Two-Tone Furniture:

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If we haven’t pounded already into your heads that Modern Victorian is all about the mixing of two contrasting elements then this one will illustrate it even further. Two-toned furniture, or furniture where they used two different types of fabric is another element of this style. Above the designer used two types of fabrics (green velvet and a ticking stripe and then mixed it up on the different surfaces of the two chairs and the couch, creating a unified collection of modern feeling pieces that still retain the original antique and Victorian lines. I’m not 100% on board with those particular pieces, but the idea is interesting.

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This chair, what with its blue velvet tufted back and striped seat fit perfectly into the style. As well as the sofa below that again employs the solid velvet mixed with a stripe to modernize the bones of an old piece.

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It can also be taken in a more abstract sense like they did below where they used a tapestry mural fabric and then combined it with a solid color creating a unique statement piece for the room.

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So how do you make this one work in your own home? If you are into the look then you can simply find an antique piece (or one that you already own) and give it a new lease on life with an upholstery job similar to what is in the inspiration pictures.

Tone on Tone:

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Deep rich color hues are prevalent in Victorian style and design but when you start layering them tone on tone you can make the room feel more modern, which is what our next talking point is: tone on tone color palettes.

This one is about using one or two colors in a room and then using different tones of those colors throughout the entire room.

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This room above obviously took its color palette hues from the Moroccan rug on the floor but the repeated tones of orange, purple, and teal throughout give it a monochromatic modern vibe.

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Above and below it is all about the layered colors of black, and purple creating a VERY moody end result for these two rooms.

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But it can also be done in a warmer palette like you see below where they used reds, oranges, and rusts to fill this room.

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Or in a cooler palette of blues like below. The key with this concept is to take the color, slightly vary the tone of it throughout the room, and then keep the patterns to a minimum. You’ll find with all of these examples that the majority of them do not have many patterns in them, or if they do it is only through a few small elements. If you were to do the tone on tone concept and then put in a bunch of patterns in the room, it would end up looking chaotic and fussy. So by refining it to solids, you can make this concept work.

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How do you make this one work in your home without making it look like a colorful funhouse? Think about doing this tonally with more neutral colors. The below living room has a tone on tone effect by using whites, creams, beiges, and neutrals mixed in with the other Modern Victorian elements we have already discussed. It has a lot going on in the room but because it is all done in a tonal palette it works together without feeling chaotic.

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Large Scale Florals and Botanicals:

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Florals are back you guys, and in a very big (literally) way. Victorian design and style employed quite a bit of floral and botanical use and this more Modern Victorian style does the same, just in a bigger and more abstract way. In this style the Victorian floral has been enlarged which makes it feel more modern and abstract. This wallpaper by Ashley Woodson Bailey is a perfect example of how it is done in a modern and applicable way.

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This floral stair tread mural is serving up some major Modern Victorian vibes and we love how it still feels modern but in a subtle way as the material is antique but the application of it is modern.

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Could you handle a floral mural this large in your living room?

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If overscale and bright isn’t your vibe like the pictures above then the concept can be applied to something more neutral and tonal like below where they have a floral mural on the walls outside of the bathroom area and then pulled the deep purple color from the flowers into the ceiling of the bathroom, resulting in a cohesive feeling space while still feeling slightly whimsical which the Victorian style is all about.

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These next few examples run in the same vein as florals but is a bit more subtle and easy to apply in your own home. Botanicals are something that will innately feel antique and old as many times they are pages that are pulled from an old botanicals book and then framed. But the look can also be pulled off with pressed leaves or painted silhouette versions like below.

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So how do you do it in your own home? You could frame some old botanicals and then hang them on the walls in a collection like above or you could bring in the floral idea like they did below with this oversized floral wallpaper that is done in a more modern color palette.

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Statement Walls:

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This one echoes some of the statement walls that we saw above in the floral concept, however with this one it is about one feature wall acting as a statement in the room. Above the statement wall is wall that leads into the dining room where they applied an intricate and Victorian-inspired wallpaper and then tied it in with the rest of the space by painting the other walls in the same sage color.

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Above they worked in the tone on tone concept as well by using two tones of blue to create this focal wall.

But if you are going to go for, then take after nonother than the queen of “going for it” Kelly Wearstler, who used this abstract wallpaper in her entryway and took the more antique and victorian feeling space to very modern place.

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She also gave this bathroom a statement wall and did what we talked about earlier where she used an antique material (the stone) and then applied it in a modern way (the pattern and the introduction of pink).

How do you do it in your own home? Think about bringing in one accent wall with a pretty wallpaper or color that goes with everything else you have going on. You don’t have to go wild with color or pattern but something that speaks to the room while being a focal point will instantly bring in a bit of the Modern Victorian vibe.

Curated Collections:

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The Victorian look is not about minimalism in any sense of the word and is instead about opulence, over-exaggerated details and the display of items, which is what our next concept is: Curated Collections.

When it comes to displaying your collectibles this doesn’t mean it is time to pull out your collection of Hummel figurines or your favorite family knick-knacks, this is about displaying artistic and one of a kind objects in a more curated way. With collections you can go eclectic and boho very quickly which is why you will want to curate the collection a bit so that it doesn’t feel too thrifted or disjointed. This can be done by selecting similar items to display together like they did above with the boxes on the table. Or below with the collection of items inside glass boxes which helps it to feel cohesive. This allows the collections to feel intentional and curated, almost like a store display.

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It can also be done with art like they did below where instead of hanging anything they lent a mix of modern and antique prints against the wall in a tonal and cohesive palette so that it worked as one collection.

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But, just as in Victorian design more is more, so you don’t have to be too precious about your collections like they did below. Just be sure to keep it in a fairly tonal color palette, have a few different heights and use a few larger pieces to anchor the collection so that it isn’t all smaller items.

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So how do you do this in your home without it feeling or looking like a thrift store? Start small and choose one collection to display like in the photo below. By only having one single type of item displayed the collection feels very cohesive even though there are quite a few different colors going on.

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Portraits and Busts:

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There is nothing more Victorian than a portrait or a bust, but with this more modern version, it is about the way that you display them. Think oversized collections like in the pictures above or below. Both which feature old antique portraits but in a more modern gallery wall with some modern pieces in the room.

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But if you aren’t ready for a wall of antique oils then even one well-placed portrait can instantly give the room a bit of that Victorian vibe, like below in this kitchen area. The antique portrait contrasts with the modern chair in front of it as well as the brighter colors that are found in the windsor chair and books on the shelf.

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When it comes to busts think about either displaying them in a modern way like in front of a gallery wall of modern and abstract art like below.

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Or in a collection with a few others to give them impact in a thoughtful and curated way.

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When pulling this into your own home, like many of the other concepts – start small.

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One well-placed portrait can do a lot to bring in that Victorian vibe, and if you bring in some other modern elements into the mix it will again help harmonize the new with the old.

At this point, I am sure you have some questions on the trend, but first off…. we want to know, are you into this trend? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you think you could actually make it work in your home or is it not for you? Let us know below in the comments and we will try to get all of your questions answered. And stay tuned for a few more posts about this style where we walk you through specific lighting, furniture, art, and decor pieces to make it work in your own home with suggestions of pieces that you can buy online.

  1. Wow – your posts get better every day. I thought surely today couldn’t be as good as yesterday’s but you’ve nailed it again!

    I live in a Victorian conversion flat in London with some period details (large sash windows and high ceilings although some of the original features e.g. fire places and ceiling moulding were stripped out in the 80s by previous owners). There is soooo much inspiration in this post and its refreshing to see a new interpretation for what is a pretty common look this side of the pond.

    That said, I’m not sold on the whole fringed furniture look… maybe because my Mum had for most of my childhood a matching settee and two arm chairs that were velvet, tufted, button backed and fringed in emerald green.

    1. its tricky but man, when I see a colorblocked fringe piece (like my chaise) i LOVE IT. but its few and far between. (and thank you :))

  2. I am so excited about this series! Victorian elements in design has been my favorite for decades. Funnily enough, my husband and I, who are slowly renovating an old cottage in the forest, just said to each other we think the style is emerging as “Rustic Victorian.” (If a Victorian era couple had a cabin in the woods, what would it look like?) This was such an inspiring post. Really looking forward to more!

    1. OH that sounds awesome. Perhaps Brian and I would be ‘Rustic, Victorian!’

  3. Emily! What a great post, breaking down all the elements making it easier to understand how to incorporate it into your own home. I LOVE this style, I think it is a hard one to achieve without looking cliched, or a pastiche of Victoriana, but when done well it can definitely ground the room and bring in some much needed colour. It’s great to see tufting and fringing used with modern fabrics which stop them looking matronly.
    Think you for such a great blog, I love reading about all your projects. X

  4. What an incredible post! I’ve never cared for the Victorian “look’ but I’ve had a change of heart. The new simplicity is really lovely. The color spectrum is gorgeous as well.

  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this style and so inspired by all the photos you have included. Thank you for an awesome post!!

  6. Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. I’m so into adding Victorian vibes to a modern space.

    Also, it seems that a lot of these inspiration rooms feature an ornate mirror or picture frame. I’d be into a roundup of those, as I think that might be one of the easier ways I can incorporate this style in my own place.

    1. OOh good idea…

  7. This topic is so timely for EH and her team, as I feel since her new/current house, her design has shifted much more towards traditional – yet she never denies her modern roots. We just completed our master bathroom, and I have been calling it “Modern Vintage” – I really mixed the two styles: floating RH Modern vanity with antique wall mirrors topped with floral detail; clawfoot tub with painted black feet over 12×24 gray/brown marble tile in a stacked pattern. Next up are two sets of glass pane black french doors with satin brass hardware with a round knob/rectangular back plate. Our house is a modern 1978 ranch, so as much as I wanted to dive into the Antique look, I couldn’t depart from modern. It was a lot of fun mixing the two styles, and per my contractor – I nailed it!

    1. Would love to see some pictures!

      1. Me, too. that actually sounds similar to the Portland master bath design 🙂

  8. This is interesting to me because I live in an old Victorian and have struggled to mix the old with the new myself. I noticed that in every picture you used as an example the trim is painted. I have beautifully preserved stained wood trim and molding throughout my home and that has proven to be the most difficult thing to design around. It would be interesting to see a post about making an older space with stained wood feel modern and fresh. I think this something many of us with older homes struggle with.

    1. I agree. I lived in an super charming Dutch Colonial for years and it had absolutely gorgeous woodwork in it. We did not want to paint quartersawn oak! White would have looked more modern and provided a better backdrop. I would love to see a post on working with woodwork!

      1. Love this juxtaposition of old and new, and echoing this request for a post on working with stained woodwork!

    2. I agree, I would love to see a post on working with/around stained woodwork! Our family room has beautiful walnut trim and moldings and it’s difficult finding inspiration — most often I see wood painted over in white but I’d like to work with the wood as opposed to against it.

    3. Yes, yes, yes! I also live in a Victorian with lovely old unpainted woodwork and without wallpapering everything with cole & son (which i can not afford to do) it can be hard to know how to be respectful of the home’s bones without living in a period room.

    4. YES!! I second this. I was excited to see the title because I thought it would have advice on decorating my 1865 Victorian to look more modern and like a young family (us) live here. Stained wood trim is the bane of my existence.

    5. Check out making it lovely blog. the main floor kept the original oak stain in tact and was inspiration for our tutor renovation.

    6. Have you ever checked out lovetaza.com ? Her family recently moved into an apartment with the most beautiful stained wood trim and she did a wonderful job adding lots of color with old and new elements (while keeping the original details in tact!).

      Emily– this was one of my favorite posts to date! I think this style takes a lot of creativity and even as someone who’s been crushing on MCM for a while now, it’s so nice to see a new style out there that feels fresh (but respects old world elements). Thank you thank you!

      1. Thank you! and thanks to my great team. I agree about Love Taza. Just today a friend of mine was looking at a house with a ton of medium-toned wood paneling and it was gorgeous. It made me want to do a post to show that it can work, but FYI it will always be darker so that is something you kinda have to comes to terms with. But drama is GOOD 🙂

  9. This post is everything I didn’t know I wanted! We just signed a contract yesterday on a home built in the 1890’s, and I already know I will be referencing back to this over and over again!

  10. I’m so conflicted!! Ordinarily I enthusiastically devour all your posts, especially these style-focused ones… but I have to say I’m not feeling this one. And I don’t mean the Modern Victorian style – I was delighted to see this come up in my feed. I myself am a modern woman living in a Victorian house, trying to master the combo of respecting the unique features and architecture of my home while still keeping it fresh and modern. I think what bothers me most about this post is the lack of research into *actual* Victorian styles! I don’t claim to be an expert at all, but it’s really very interesting and I highly recommend reading into it more.

    The Victorians were a fascinating, bold, cheeky bunch. They layered wallpapers with friezes with ceiling papers way before layering patterns was a thing. They mastered the art of ‘faking it till you make it’ with amazing faux wood finishes. They incorporated cutting-edge technlogies with new materials like Lincrusta (basically decorative linoloeum) and the brand spanking new gas/electric – and then eventually fancy ALL electric – lights. They were very futuristic for the time! To me, this history is what is informing this Modern Victorian style (modern lighting in a more traditional space, for example, is precisely what the Victorians did, albeit the technology itself was a little different) and it’s important and fascinating to look at – and you kinda missed that part. Apartment Therapy did a neat little round up of it last year (they called it ‘New Victorian’) including a historical reference to show the roots of the new style and put it a little more into context.

    So, like I said, I’m conflicted. I’m into this style, I love that you’re recognizing and highlighting it, and some of your examples are spot on. I just wish you went a little deeper into the very cool history of Victorian decorating to give some context into how that is now being translated into contemporary interiors. I guess a little less ‘get the look’ and a little more ‘why the look’. Having said that, I do love these focuses on certain styles and I’m looking forward to more in this series!

    1. I am a history nerd and super into juxtaposing old and new and never made this connection between the Victorians and technology. Thank you for this insight!

    2. WOW. ok we are listening. We just started dabbling in this style because we were seeing it on the runways and lord knows i’ve loved fringe since I was literally 8 years old, recovering lampshades for 4-H. So I think our research is more aesthetically based, not historically. Thanks so much for the feedback. We are happy to research more and even get more into it. xx

  11. No doubt one of the best posts you’ve ever done. I found this to be so intriguing and new but also applicable and realistic. I have a few antique chests, shelving units, etc. that have been handed down to me that I know are worth a pretty penny, yet they don’t seem to fit within the more “2017” trends. I love how this makes the old seem new, and the new can really shine if you pick the right pieces and curate the environment correctly. Well done!

    1. Yay. We thank you 🙂

  12. Hmmm…. trying very hard to approach this with an open mind and palette. And I know it can take the eye and mind some time to adjust to new trends or images. That said, I just feel sort of claustrophobic and like I’m at my grandma’s house looking at most of these images. Some of the botanical images I like — but I think that’s more just liking elements of nature (i like having lots of branches and plants and leaf patterns in my house and artwork, and otherwise not much visual stimulation). But thank you for stretching and pushing us to think past what’s comfortable, which is always a valuable exercise.

    1. picture this – an all white or black lamp with the same color shade with fringe. You have to color block victorian to make it modern. that navy sofa with the tufting and navy fringe is perfect, against a white or navy wall is better. I’m not going pro-damask and I think there isn’t enough imagery to properly convince you yet, but stay tuned 🙂

  13. I love this!!! More, please!

  14. That velvet couch with the skirted back is luscious!

  15. LOVE IT!!!! It reminds me of the time you were on Design Star and someone was supposed to decorate with a vintage theme. She did not pull it off, and you were all, “I would have crushed that.” I believed that you could.
    Now I see what you mean. So cool!

    1. OMG. I love you. I just found my old DVD’s of Designstar (debating when we should show the kids) and I totally forgot about that. xx

  16. I LOVE, love, love this post. I was just discussing this yesterday with my architect husband yesterday – how to integrate some these lovely Victorian elements into today’s homes. Thank you so much for all the visual candy!

    1. you’re welcome. my team kills it 🙂

  17. I really love all of the content you’ve provided lately. Great eye candy! I’m loving all the greens in paint and upholstery and the dark dramatic floral patterns are awesome.

  18. Funny, I was describing a certain style that I’m kind of into to someone recently, and I used the exact words “Modern Victorian.” This post puts that into pictures perfectly! I’m not sure I’d ever be brave enough to go full on with this style in my own home, but I do love the juxtaposition of the modern furniture and light fixtures with the more ornate, victorian architectural details.

    1. see? its in the zeitgeist. we are all feeling something a little more decorative after years of minimalism 🙂

  19. I absolutely LOVE this style, and this post! I learn so much from you every day! Thanks for taking the time to provide content that is rich in detail and that, as a writer, I know is so time consuming. The pictures were great, and overall it was a truly inspiring post! You nailed it! Thanks!

    1. thank you 🙂 (and you are welcome) xx

  20. I am definitely into the California Casual and Scandinavian Minimalism that we’ve been seeing a lot of everywhere. BUT I LOVE to see stuff like this just to mix it up. While I personally wouldn’t introduce this into my home, it’s very fun to see you break down all the different elements, and I would love to see this in person, like in a hotel or airbnb I could stay at. I love to hear/read about what you see as up and coming trends, perhaps even more so when they aren’t exactly in the wheelhouse of what I put in my own home.

    1. I agree. right now i’ll stick with my chaise with fringe and my old record player but i don’t seem to embrace this as much as the others but MAN its fun to see. xx

  21. It’s interesting that most of the Victorian photos have dark, moody shadows, compared to the lighter, brighter Scandinavian and California Casual. Lighting makes such a difference in the feel of a room.

    I love the large scale florals- I hope that is part of the style that has lots of staying power!

    1. Agree about the light – I live in California and really can’t imagine shutting myself away from the sun in all these rooms.

    2. I have seen Scandinavian homes on blogs which are typically light and bright but have the odd feature wall of full blown floral wallpapers. It works amazingly! I suspect we may see a lot more of this.

    3. A lot of these pictures had a very European feel. I.e. gloomy days 🙂
      Tall buildings block the light too. But there are houses like these in New York and San Francisco, dark and tall ceilinged, and full of ornate detailing.

  22. I lived in England for a few years as a child, and I feel like even though I was little it really affected my design taste lol. I LOVE this style. I don’t think I could ever do a whole room in it, but I am always trying to find ways to add some victorian charm to my home.

  23. *moan* This is all so scrumptious and wonderful to see on your blog – you do simplicity and airiness so well. But, I really hope to see some of the jewel tones, luxe textures, and general fancy-ness featured here in the Portland house! I feel like you can definitely integrate some of this Victorian/Edwardian style there, while keeping it modern, family friendly, and at a cost you can swallow for resale. *fingers crossed.*

    1. Will do. dark green office. navy blue living room. its all about being brave enough but this is encouraging me for sure. xx

      1. I’m already drooling

  24. When I first read “Modern Victorian” I thought to myself, not for me! However, after scrolling through, at least 2/3rds of the designs shown I would plonk right into my house. It fits right in with what I’ve been drawn towards lately, and I totally just overloaded my pin boards. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  25. Um, yes.

    I mean,


    Also, thank you. I’m slowly refurnishing my guest room and with this post you’ve given me a name for what I’m doing. I got to fringe, BTW, with an embroidered silk shawl of my grandmother’s.

    Now that you’ve showed me the way for our ceiling lighting fixture, I have to go search carefully for curtains and shades for this look.

  26. I absolutely looooove this style! I can see how this can be harmonized with a bit of boho and some mid-century to create a really warm space.

  27. I work for a furniture outlet and we have some beautiful velvet tufted pieces, but customers shy away from them because they’re a bit formal. Most of my customers are looking for casual pieces. I think every home deserves some “jewelry”. How would you encourage customers to think outside their box?

    1. Its so hard. I think they just need one piece here or there – a tufted chair in the bedroom, a settee in the hall. you can’t convince someone who wants a sectional to go victorian but it also depends on the pieces you are offering. Not everything with that kind of detailing works with all types of furniture. Our goal is to try to get you to embrace a style with a piece or two as well. good luck:)

  28. I liked this a lot! This look can really flow well with the Paris Art Deco style you profiled a few months ago, I think. Somehow, a combination of the two seems to be my sweet spot.

  29. I love this! And the information you provided was great.

  30. Some of these photos are fun to look at, but I mostly hate it as a design! I do like some architectural Victorian elements, and I love the artwork/accessories, but I hate, hate, hate the furniture. You did such a great mix of different ways to use this influence – I’d love to see more style roundups.

  31. Oh thank god. This maximalist was getting reeeeeal tired of all the California Casual. Color – yes! And fringe – that pink fringed light fixture is amazing, and now I need to go find the perfect mauve-y purple to paint a room! Long live color and clutter!

    1. YES! 100% with you! Color and clutter and art and history. Mixing and matching is life!

      1. I love both but man, when I saw that pink fringed light I was like YES EXACTLY THIS AND A LOT OF IT. 🙂

  32. I literally just inherited two velvet setees from my grandmother, and have been trying to figure out how the heck I can blend them into my home. This could not have been more timely. Thank you!

  33. Eh. I’ve never been a maximalist but having the craziness of little kids and being a stay at home mom really pushed me toward quiet, calming interior design. There are a half dozen of these pics that I liked, not ever to emulate but would make a great coffeehouse to visit. You know where I saw this style before? Sherlock and Watson’s apartment in the Benedict Cumberbatch series. Which is quite a few years old now!

    1. Ha! i remember that. its definitely more european, for sure. but hopefully more modern and less cluttered than that apartment. but boy did I love that place and I soaked up the production design (kudos to them)

  34. I love this! Would love to see a post on modern Colonial style too!!

  35. YES!! Thank you!! I have liked this style for a LONG time and I’m so happy to see you talk about it!! Hopefully it catches on……..I’m soooooooo tired of seeing fake ship lap and chippy paint every where!

  36. I’m not for fringe (thought my cats would disagree), but I’m all for velvet, florals, and deep colors. I’m tired of ALL WHITE ALL THE TIME. Bring on the curated maximalism. I’m on board.

    1. 🙂 I love this rejection to what is the pervailing trend. yay for friendly opposition. xx

  37. This is such a smart, interesting post. I wasn’t interested in Modern Victorian at ALL when I started reading, but was completely fascinated by the end. Beautifully put together – thank you!

  38. THANK YOU EHD TEAM! I recently purchased my grandparents Victorian home (it’s been out of the family for almost 20 years) and have been racking my brain on how to furnish it in a more modern style while preserving the roots of the architecture and period. Most of the original details of the house remain and there is a TON of wood. That floral staircase made me tear up! So beautiful. Truly amazing inspiration.

  39. I love this post so much. The photos speak to me. I am a Modern Victorian! Thank-you EHD!!!

  40. Love this! We’re currently house hunting for a rowhouse in Old Town Alexandria, VA and I’ve been struggling with design inspiration for how to balance a historic home with more modern furniture and decor. I think this series is a sign we’re on the right track!

  41. I think the most exciting piece about this style (and there are many) is that PURPLE gets to be featured (on the walls, on the furniture, in the art, etc.). I’m happy to see the color palate become more dynamic.

  42. Love this so much. So nice to see something different and more traditional on this site!

  43. Love this post and this series! I think Gwen over at http://www.themakerista.com/ does an excellent job executing a style similar to what you have featured here.

    1. Agreed, I instantly thought of Gwen’s home. I was a bit disappointed I didn’t see her mentioned in either this blog post or other comments (though I didn’t scroll through all of them…) It seems like only high end design is featured in this style round up, though it seems like a perfect opportunity to highlight the work that some have been doing for years in a much more accessible way…

    2. I mentioned Gwen as well, her design aesthetic is attainable but so lush! That deep mauve in the library always makes me swoon

  44. Whoa – totally not my thing and I live in AZ so this style would look SILLY in 99% of the homes in my region, anyway. But it’s beautiful and I love reading about this! Great post.

  45. my husband and i recently stopped in a neighborhood bar in Chicago (Scofflaw, for the locals) and I was mildly surprised to see a full blown Victorian decorating theme, complete with lots of tufted ornate settees! My brother has for years been trying to pawn off my great-grandmother’s Victorian settee on me…while I can appreciate all of its glorious potential, it won’t work with the rest of my life…but I’m glad to tell him this style is coming around and maybe he can either enjoy its trendiness or find someone else who will love it!

    1. That decor you described reminds me of the coffee shop in Friends.

      1. there are more of them popping up. commercial design tends to do this first. think of 1930’s style hotels that are popping up. easy in a hotel, harder in the home. but doable!

  46. LOVE THIS! I have many antique Victorian pieces that were hand me downs from my great grandparents and family members so this would immensely help me to better incorporate these pieces in a modern way so my house doesn’t literally look like my grandparents’. Love it and thank you for the fabulous (as always) work!

  47. Your posts have been so fabulous recently – informative, full of beautiful images ( even if the styles are not “my own”), & well thought out journalism! Know you & your staff are putting in a lot of hard work, but please keep it up!

    1. ah, thank you so much. xx

  48. LOOOOOOVVVEEE this look!! I’ve always loved antiques and interesting objects all around me, and this post is such great inspiration for making the old things I’ve inherited look fresh and new. Great post!

  49. Yeeeessssssss! I live in an 1880’s victorian and while I looooooovvveee the old world charm and special moldings and details, I have a serious preference for the modern and streamlined. When you were designing your current home I remember you saying things like ‘make sure the hard fixtures in your home fit the architectural style’ which I hated to hear and didn’t listen to–luckily for once! I’ve been trying to fit in more modern lighting and furniture to freshen things up while using paint and restraint to keep the highlights on the original detail. Can’t wait to see the roundups on this one and to reference over and over and over… keep it up!

    1. I think i needed to be more specific. “don’t use bad 90’s or current generic fiip-style lighting in an old beautiful home.” you can use awesome modern lighting or dope midcentury, but please don’t put a brushed nickel generic piece of garbage into your 1880’s home. i think i needed to be more specific. awesome is always good. xx

  50. My favorite thing about most of these spaces is the use of rich, dark colors. I love rooms with plenty of natural light, but I prefer to be surrounded in dark-painted walls with strong, moody colors. I don’t care for white walls or cool/crisp/breezy spaces at all. Since this is an emerging trend, I’d love to see some ideas for incorporating the moody of a Victorian Revival space without having to turn into Mrs Haversham and cover every surface in novelties and clutter.

  51. Oh hell yes! I’ve told my guy on more than one occasion “Emily Henderson is my girl crush.” This style is me, and so fitting for my 1916 home…it’s a foursquare, the bohemian style doesn’t quite work here (which I love but it’s practical for me at 100%), but this Modern Victorian – more please!

    So one of my problems – I have a teal velvet tufted sofa with nailhead trim and lovely dark wood feet. It’s gorgeous. I want an ottoman or bench to use as a coffee table, but the room is small so it needs to be the size of a bench, roughly 20″ wide and the sofa is 100″ wide. Every piece I find that works with the size and look that I want is tufted…would it be too much tufting?

    1. ah thank you 🙂 and yes, tufting on tufting is very tricky. but narrow coffee tables are also so hard to find ,,, i can’t think of one off the top of my head, but i’d say to try and find something more simple and quiet to work with the teal tufting.

  52. This is a freakin’ incredible post. I just kept scrolling mouth agape at the beauty. I am INTO this trend, as well as the other great feature you had on French Deco (can’t remember the exact term). I’ve got a few things in my home that fit the “modern victorian” aesthetic, including velvet drapes, fringed pillows, and a dark floral wall. If this trend goes mainstream, there’ll be much more affordable and available things in that style!! I’m waiting to fill in some incomplete spots in my home, so let’s hope!!!

  53. Love this style. It’s so evocative.

  54. Oh wow Emily! this is the perfect visual treat for the eyes to wake up to! THANKYOU. I love this style and you’re now inspiring me to bring bits of it into my home.

  55. Like Bea says, your posts get better every day!

    I am in the process of buying a “victorian bungalow”, built sometime before 1911 (that’s as accurate as we can get at this point!) and I really do love the victorian style but want our new home to be a comfortable family home suitable for 2018. I also don’t want to lean too heavily on the style since our home was built during a transitional phase and isn’t a true victorian with all the ornate details.

    I have been pinning away and even pinned several of the photos in this post but have been struggling with how to bridge the gap between my inspiration boards and how to actually decorate my home.

    I love the moody vibe, velvet, tone-on-tone basically everything in this post but don’t want to feel like I’m living in a museum, I love that you showed the inspiration and then tied it back to everyday normal life and how to tone it down for a real home, not a photoshoot.

    This post came as such a perfect time for me and I am so so excited for the follow-up posts.

  56. All I can think about when I read this post is Nicole Balch from Making it Lovely: http://makingitlovely.com/ Anyone who has a Victorian and is looking for that balance of modern and restoration should look at her blog!

    1. I second this!
      And for authentic Victorian finds and a laugh check out victoriaelisabethbarnes (and her “kingdom mirrors” as well!

    2. Yes, I have loved Nicole’s blog for years! And themakerista.com and houseofbrinson.com have been killing it at this mix of modern and Victorian for a while now. I was surprised not to see any of them mentioned in this article. l love the depth, personality and COLOR!

  57. once again, fab house porn!!!

  58. I LOVE velvet sofas. My plan is to get a blue velvet sofa this year and maybe a chaise in another colour possibly a dusky rusty red.

  59. So much gorgeousness! Most of this is too much for my humble home, but I love seeing so much beauty, and seeing different styles than most of what is out there. And this post is so full of information–great job. I particularly love the oversized florals–so gorgeous!

  60. Love, love, LOVE that you are breaking down this style for us! I’m looking forward to the posts to come!

  61. Gwen from The Makerista does an amazing job of showcasing this style in her own home. Very livable, but follows in this same vein.

  62. These are some really gorgeous rooms! I’ve been tracking a category of Modern Victorian for a while since there are so many Victorians in the Bay Area and people want to make them fresh and functional while preserving and relating to the original architecture.

    I super love the colors and the portraits/busts. Fringe, velvet and other luxurious trappings will never mix with my pets and the indoor/outdoor stuff we’ve got going on at my house, but I’ll be happy to visit them.

  63. Now I know what to call what I like! Nicely done

  64. This post was absolutely amazing and inspiring. Thank you!

  65. East coast rowhouse dwellers rejoice! A style that doesn’t require huge windows with natural light to look good! I also love the appreciation of beautiful things in the Victorian style. Ornate craftsmanship? Yes please!

  66. I’M OBSESSED with this trend!!!!

  67. In love with the images here– especially the first half of the post.

  68. ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS. So excited to see a post with some fresh new trends and color palettes. Never been into mid-century modern much and I feel like it’s EVERYWHERE and getting so cookie-cutter. Please do more like these!!!

  69. You should check out House of Brinson if you haven’t already. Their home immediately came to mind with this post. You’d love them!

  70. Yes yes yes !! I love it ! some of the pictures you collected are in my own pinterest boards :-)… One element I gather from what you say is also how quirky and fun this style is, at least to me. One question though : how do you choose a rug ? I guess modern if the furniture is old, or tone and tone, etc ?
    Also, do you add moldings if your home don’t have it to better match the victorian style ? And how do you twist it ? So excited to read more of this serie !!

  71. This is cool for me in the bay area because San Francisco has so many Victorian flats! This is a great post about mixing the modern lighting into a vintage apartment! LOVE this series because I learned from it. I won’t think I will be decorating this way unless I move however (I live in a 1958 modernish home).


  72. Oh goodie – I adore passementerie, and I’m going to use it on drapes next month! I’m old, too, so people that hate it can blame it on my age. I am thrilled that it’s “in” again because it is so beautiful!

  73. I’m gonna go ahead and say it now- I’ll be a late adapter to this style. I loved Victorian in the 80s and 90s, and I’m not in any big hurry to bring it back. So maybe for the Millennials or younger? I wasn’t going to believe you that’s it is coming back, except you mentioned that bit about seeing it in fashion, and you’re totally right…

  74. I am SO INTO THIS! Thanks for being so thorough in your post. I’m feeling very inspired by all your ideas. I was already heading this way in my home, but now I have a clearer vision of what can be done, or at least what I could do. That satisfaction of putting a name with a face! Thank you guys so much!!!

  75. I love this post because now I have a name for my style! I love mixing clean-lined MCM furniture and decor with more ornate and moody Victorian pieces, especially mirrors and artwork. I would definitely love to see future posts on “Modern Victorian”. Major shout-out if you can help me figure out how to layout my 1890s living room that has an angled-wall fireplace and a built-in bay windowseat next to it. 🙂

  76. I don’t know about anything else but the quirky table with the “bird legs” has to be one of the coolest pieces that I have ever seen. Love it!

    1. I think that’s from designer Matthew Williamson. He designed a collection for CB2 that has something similar, and I know Anthropologie has a few similar pieces.

  77. Thanks for all the visual candy! The exhilarated feeling comes after watching above clips. People those who love contiguity of traditional and modern luxurious decoration, the Victorian design is first preference of theirs. It never gives you clumsy feeling.

  78. What I found so great and helpful here is that Victorian is so NOT my style and yet you managed to curate a series of images and provided spot-on written break downs that made this look seem much more approachable and appealing than I ever could have imagined. Thanks for broadening my horizons!

  79. Love this post! So thoughtfully curated! And yes, I love this style! 🙂

  80. I love Victorian interior design and I’m thrilled to see you feature it!

  81. I love this look and when I saw it I immediately thought of The Makerista. Her library, wood room and her recent One Room Challenge in her daughter’s room are amazing examples of this style!

  82. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this style and your breakdown of it. Will be pinning this post as a reference.

  83. Such rich and gorgeous rooms. I “did” Midern Victorian 30 years ago when we restored an 100 year old home. We bought what Victorian pieces we could afford at antique fairs and thrift stores and then “filled” in with newer items and newer styles because we knew we didn’t want the house to be “period” nor could we afford to do it and we didn’t want it to feel like a museum. I think these rooms are gorgeous and makes me miss that old Victorian a bit!! Great post! I’m looking forward to seeing this evolve and hopefully some great blogging will emerge because things have felt a bit homogenous in the blogging world for a bit!!

  84. Yes! I think I sort of requested this style in the comments a while back when you asked for other styles we wanted explained, although the details shake out a bit differently than I had envisioned (in a helpful way).

    One element I often see at least in the Seattle-Portland versions of this style is lots and lots of animal stuff just like real Victorians. Taxidermy, framed butterflies and beetles, skeletons under a cloche, tortoise shells like in one of your images—maybe this falls under curated collections but actuallu I think it’s often one statement piece like with the single pheasant in another of your images. I’m a sucker for it, I’ve yet to find the right dead animal piece but it’ll come.

    My biggest woe is that this style looks best with older architectural details that my 1947 house just doesn’t provide. I’d die to get a carved marble ornate fireplace up in here (even though every designer I’ve ever mentioned it to shudders because it so doesn’t match the style of the house overall), but alas, gotta work with what I have.

  85. I LOVE this style!! I was trying to describe what this style was and all I could come up with was “very Anthropologie” 😂 I love the bold colors and florals but also love it mixed with some modern elements.
    I’m curious – I’m about to move into a new build apartment and have been searching for ways to make it feel less cold and feel more customized and encorporate this Victorian style! Any tips? Have you done a post like this?

  86. Well, what I want to say is “I hate this and never cover it again, ” but that wouldn’t be truthful. The truth is that I forwarded this post to my husband to say this is almost exactly what I’m aiming for in the home we are about to start renovating. So, while I am really looking forward to future posts on how to make this style come to life in real homes, I also don’t want people going out and buying MY stuff. Leave all the things for me!!!

  87. Great post! I just realized I’ve been aiming this way in my own home for years. I always thought it was my British roots fighting with my love of modernism – I have a William Morris fabric pillow on our Eames chair! I have slick modern shelves housing Toby mugs! I’ve always felt a little weird about it, like I’m cross polinnating era’s and creating some kind of monster house that doesn’t know what it wants to be. I always told my husband I was trying to “add a bit of the UK” to the house (less trying, more like compulsively piling on). I feel like this post is letting me breathe now. I wish I could invite you all over to see what I’ve done! Thanks Emily!

  88. I love this post and this style. I live in an old Victorian home, but my soul is boho. Can these styles be mixed?

  89. Yay!!! I’ve been trying to decorate my house since we built it two years ago and while previously my tastes leaned towards very simple, modern and clean – I found myself buying a gush ornate gold mirror, pinning pictures of antique portraits and velvet tufted stools and benches, etc. My poor DH, who doesn’t care for that style at all is wondering what has happened to me. I think its refreshing after so many years of modern design being dominant – it feels a little rebellious and fun. Trying to incorporate these elements along with the modern elements I’m still drawn to into a new build with coastal-influenced bones has got to be the hardest thing ever. I’m not sure it will ever work out, but we’ll see!

  90. Love it!! Thank you for this thorough look at this emerging trend.

  91. Ugh, I am SO pro-this post. I grew up in a Victorian house (folk Victorian – think a hair more subdued than a Queen Anne) and have always loved old, but fancy things. I’m happy that there seems to be a coherent name for what I’ve currently got going on in my own apartment: dark, antique-y (but pretty) furniture that I stole from my parents, some Eames inspired pieces, and a slew of personal treasures.

    I’m feeling quite validated in my ongoing search for an affordable velvet settee. While I’m also drawn the lightness and simplicity of some of the Scandinavian minimalism that’s been quite in vogue, I’m ready for maximalism to be make a comeback in 2018 (thank god).

    Will my roommates think I’m weird if I hang an oil portrait of a 19th century stranger over my bed? HA TBD

  92. Beautiful post! The common denominator in all the images is the wonderful juxtaposition of all the pieces, materials, colors, emotions, etc…. I find a room so much more interesting when it has that tension.

  93. I love this so much! Partly because I’m English and while I love the blog I rarely see stuff I can replicate – I see sunny white rooms and it doesn’t translate to grey rainy light and low ceilings! – and this reminds me of lots of friends’ homes. And my sister’s house (though for anyone thinking of doing the black wall thing, or navy – looks awesome, but with all the lamps in the world you still won’t be able to see a thing in there).

    You missed one take on ‘modern Victorian’ – all English student housing, ever. Crumbling, damp Victorian houses… filled to the brim with IKEA furniture. 😉

  94. ALL THE HEART EYES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My first favorite mix of style is 1920s + Mid Century, but my second fav is Victorian modern. Now I feel a little less weird in my tastes, so thank you for that!!

  95. Emily, I’ve always adored your blog, but have always felt like the California Cool style wasn’t quite me, as a gal from New Orleans. THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR ON YOUR BLOG!!! Finally, a style that is “me”!! SO… in my humble opinion, MORE MORE MORE!!! I’ll take as much Victorian Modern as I can get.

  96. Love this! I feel like I saw some of these elements in the makeovers done by the “Restored by the Fords” duo. Have you seen the show yet? Would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear your thoughts on their designs so far. Part of me really likes their makeovers because they’re fresh and original but the other part feels like it almost seems like something is off and maybe they would be better suited for commercial design rather than residential?


  97. This is so not the Victorian I knew from older relatives homes in Massachusetts. My grandmother had a mural that was downright scary to me as a kid. Absolutely love it. Particularly the more eclectic Victorian. The large floral murals are gorgeous. My fantasy has always been to have one act as a headboard in my tenement apartment teeny, tiny bedroom. That and a sitting room with Timorous Beasties wall paper and fabric with a very large, comfortable, exaggerated scroll, soft yet acid green, velvet tufted sofa with a contrasting blue wing chair. And an exaggerated tuffet, we all need a tuffet. Simple tastes.

  98. I’m in the middle of making new prints for some large frames. I really wanted to put some old floral still life paintings in the modern frames but they are large and would dominate the space and I was nervous. BUT these oversized floral murals are so cute, I’m just gonna go for it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  99. I was not here for it until the huge florals and then OH MY GOD I WANT THAT. It’s probably been mentioned, but Nicole Balch (of Making it Lovely) is queen of the blog world with this style.

  100. Love this! I’m planning a bed room redesign and this is going to provide lots of inspiration

  101. You guys nailed it, this post is fascinating and such a welcome contrast to a lot of the California/Scandi stuff we see everywhere. All these rooms are weird and I like it. So inspiring to think about this mix of styles. I love that you are showing us kooky and risky stuff, it’s so, so exciting. Thank you!!

  102. I feel like I saw a lot of this already in brownstones of Boston (where I used to live) where people keep Victorian architectural details of home while bringing in some modern elements. It was a nice contrast.

  103. I love it! I just don’t think my house could handle the dark colors.

  104. Hi Emily & team!

    I love this type of post. I can only imagine how much work must go into it. It’s so easy to churn out a blog post with four or five inspiration images and no text, but this has inspiration and practical ideas along with tonnes of really well researched images and we get it all for free. Thank you!

    I’ve a suggestion for a future similar post, but maybe it’s only me who will love this…

    How about instead of gocussing on a trend to do a post of examples and ideas on how to design something timeless? I know it’s tough but you mentioned an image in the voting post for your new house that was timeless and it got me thinking I’d love to see more timeless ideas or tips on how to do it particularly in expensive areas like bathrooms.

    Keep up the great work!

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  106. Thank you so much for this post! I love the California style that has dominated for the last few years, but living in an old Victorian home doesn’t really jive with that aesthetic. One idea I would love help with (and I’m guessing many others might need help with as well!) is how to incorporate antiques into a more modern (or Victorian modern) style. I live in Virginia and southern culture and style is one that places a high premium on family heirlooms and passed down furniture. Most people have a basement full of want to actually use it without their house looking too grandma. However, we would rather die than paint it! So it has to work as is. 😉 Thanks so much!

  107. I was so so excited when I saw the title of this post!! I designed my living room in this style (having moved to the Midwest from New England, where Rustic Victorian is pretty much everyone’s style), but then started to feel so out of trend with my pink couch with carved wood everywhere. Maybe the trends will swing back! My mom is the queen of rustic Victorian. She doesn’t have anything modern feeling but she mixes ornate with rustic primitive pieces and it looks fresh even though she’s had her stuff for forever. Thanks Emily! Love the post!

  108. This style is definitely gaining steam. I follow a few boards on Pinterest called “Antique with modern” and have been repinning from them for a few years. A lot of the images you featured also passed through those boards.

    It’s a style that tends to look better in a place with architectural details. I don’t think that it would work as well in a boring, white box, new build.

    Thanks for sharing Em! I hope more and more people start to embrace this style. And for what it’s worth, most of furniture pieces from pre-art deco can be had for a song compared to what we pay for MCM.

  109. YAAAASSSS I’m into it! Moving into a folk victorian!

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  112. I just wanted to say thank you, thnk you so much for this article! Lots of examples and ideas are super-useful, and your analysis how to make it useful in everyday not-so-journal-styled life is priceless. Thanks again!

  113. I am waiting your More Updated Post…Keep update fastly.

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