As children, many of us dreamt of living in castles. Unfortunately for us, royalty is something you are born into rather than a goal you can achieve, so our dreams of spending our days in an opulent palace have been thwarted. But, the modern Victorian aesthetic has offered us a way to recapture them—at least a little bit.
For the uninitiated, modern Victorian spaces are exactly what they sound like: homes that blend parts of the Victorian era with bits of the modern day. In a modern Victorian home, you can expect to see cement on the floors and chandeliers on the ceiling—or ornate mirrors juxtaposed with works of abstract art. Thanks to this unique blend of aesthetics, modern Victorian spaces manage to feel sleek and palatial at the same time.
While the modern Victorian aesthetic can’t get us any closer to inheriting a castle, it can make our current home feel a little more like a castle. And considering our primary goal is unattainable, that’s not a bad second best.
Read on to see 26 modern Victorian interiors worth daydreaming about—and to score some modern Victorian design ideas you can try in your own space.
Pair Old With New
Crafting a modern Victorian aesthetic is all about pairing newer pieces with more classic ones. Look for places in your home where you can do exactly that: consider pairing an ornate marble fireplace with an industrial-looking lighting fixture, or placing a sleek dining room table alongside it.
Splurge on a Statement Mirror
Nothing sets the mood like a statement mirror, and if you’re curating a modern Victorian space, a single ornate statement mirror can go a long way. Spring for a massive option and hang it above a more contemporary piece of furniture, or stock up on a few smaller ornate mirrors to sprinkle throughout your space.
Invest in Your Antiques
Most furniture loses value over time, but you know what doesn’t? Antique furniture. Stunning antique furniture is often worth the investment—even if it feels like a splurge at the time. And, the good news is that it will fit seamlessly into your modern Victorian interior.
Many modern Victorian décor schemes are made up of Victorian pieces paired with more contemporary ones. But, there are less literal ways to get in on the trend.
Instead of combining items from different time periods, look for décor that alludes to two eras at once. A freestanding tub might suggest a Victorian silhouette, while its sleek, contemporary color palette feels much more modern. The same can be true of marble floors, metal chandeliers, and more.
Make the Most of Built-in Accents
No matter what aesthetic you’re cultivating, you’ll want to utilize the way your home currently looks as a starting point. So, take a gander at your space and make note of any built-in accents you’re working with.
Are your walls adorned with crown molding? Are your floors lined with original hardwood? Is there a marble fireplace in your living room? Find ways to draw attention to the stunning accents that are already in your space—then go furniture shopping.
Let Your Statement-Makers Set the Tone
Show-stopping pieces are bound to set the tone in any space, and so make sure yours are saying exactly what you want them to. Pair a Victorian bed frame with a contemporary throw pillow, and ground your space with an ornate rug. Once your boldest pieces feel in-balance, you can layer in extra details.
Take Advantage of Clustered Décor
When pairing complementary aesthetics, you’ll be playing with a lot of contrast—and spots where décor is clustered together offer excellent opportunities to do this. Make the most of every frame in your gallery wall to ensure you’re striking the right balance of modern and Victorian. These eye-catching décor arrays can really set the tone in your space.
Play With Victorian Silhouettes
You can craft a modern Victorian aesthetic without buying any Victorian furniture at all. How? You can simply stock up on contemporary pieces with Victorian-inspired silhouettes. Look for plush, majestic headboards, upholstered bedroom benches, and other pieces that allude to the Victorian era without directly mimicking it.
Learn to Love Juxtaposition
Any modern Victorian space will be filled with juxtaposition, so learn to love it—and have fun with it. Pair ornate gold chairs with an industrial-looking dining room table, and bring the room together with a beachy chandelier. This motley crew of aesthetics may sound like a decorating nightmare, but it can look surprisingly stunning when curated thoughtfully.
Spring for a Clawfoot Tub
Clawfoot tubs make a stunning addition to any home, but they look particularly great in modern Victorian spaces. Search for an option that’s as sleek or antique as you want it to be, and use the rest of your bathroom décor to balance it out.
One great way to create contrast? Play with the materials in your space. Since materials evoke different eras, you can use them to bring your modern Victorian aesthetic together.
Try pairing an antique metal mirror with a sleek cement console table, and watch as your space is transformed. Even just two items—when paired thoughtfully—can make a big impact.
Add a Chandelier
No Victorian home was complete without an ornate chandelier. Adding one to your space is a surefire way to make it feel more palatial.
If your furniture feels contemporary, consider opting for a more traditional chandelier. And if your home is already loaded with antiques, consider springing for a more contemporary lighting fixture instead.
Embrace Fun Luxuries
Adding a little palace-worthy luxury can be a great way to make your space feel more Victorian. And there’s no reason this luxury can’t feel fun. Add some contemporary flair to your space by stocking up on printed headboards, linens, pillows, and more.
Use Color to Keep Things Cohesive
When employing contrast so aggressively, you’ll want to keep your space feeling balanced—and a consistent color scheme can help you do that. Pair an ornate gold mirror with a sleek gold lamp, and if you really want to take things to the next level, let your nightstand’s hardware in on the fun.
Decorate in Pairs
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of combining Victorian pieces with more contemporary décor, simplify things by working in pairs. Start with a statement-making piece, then focus on choosing the décor that will appear alongside it. If the statement-maker is Victorian, opt for a more modern accent—and vice versa.
Play With Shape, Color, and Texture
When mixing aesthetics, you have a lot of elements to play with, and if you want your home to feel thoroughly put-together, you’ll want to consider all of them. Silhouette is an obvious place to start, but your palette and your materials can be just as important. Keeping at least one of these elements consistent—for example, committing to a crisp white palette—can help your space feel cohesive.
Make the Most of Aged Pieces
Many antique pieces could be considered “flawed” by traditional standards. But, these flaws make the pieces feel even more special than they would otherwise.
Instead of polishing your silver until it looks pristine, consider putting its tarnishes on full display. This will draw attention to the silver’s authenticity—and create welcome contrast with your more contemporary cookware.
Buy a Tufted Couch
Tufted upholstery manages to look Victorian no matter what material, silhouette, or palette it’s rendered in. Spring for a statement chair or sofa, and let its tufted upholstery add a welcome dose of luxury to your space.
Keep Things Consistent From Room to Room
If you really want to commit to your modern Victorian aesthetic, make sure every room feels thoughtfully curated. Yes, this includes your bathroom—especially if it’s one guests will see.
Remember, you don’t have to undergo a full-blown renovation or splurge on a fancy new tub. Even a single ornate mirror can make a difference in your space.
Use Pops of Print to Orient Your Space
If the silhouettes in your home are veering very Victorian, consider using prints to bring them into the 21st century. Graphic throw pillows can make an antique bed feel more modern, and using a different graphic print on your drapes can really bring the room together.
Layers Textures From Different Eras
Every home is filled with a variety of textures, so be sure to pair yours thoughtfully. Let marble and wood ground your space in elegance and luxury, and use metal accents to add contrast. Remember that mirrors—especially big ones—bring their own textural flair to the mix.
Set the Mood With Wallpaper
Covering your space in wallpaper is a pretty vintage choice—and that’s exactly what makes the accent such a great addition to a modern Victorian home. Choose a print that feels a contemporary and a palette that feels elegant, and you’ll be well on your way to crafting a statement-making space.
Put Thought Into Every Corner
Balancing two complementary aesthetics requires some amount of detail orientation and finesse. Yes, it’s most important to get your boldest pieces right, but even smaller corners—like reading nooks, shelves, and nightstands—can make a big impact.
Be sure to curate your decorative baubles as thoughtfully as you’ve curated the rest of your home. Pair antique books with a modern lamp—or place a small bust in front of an abstract print.
Find Pieces That Do the Work for You
Some pieces of furniture offer plenty of contrast on their own. A console table may boast an ornate gold base and sleek black marble top—two accents that are, in themselves, contrasting. Since these statement-making finds offer juxtaposition on their own, they’ll do a lot of the work for you, making your life as a decorator much easier.
Embrace Surprising Accents
Any complementary aesthetic is bound to be full of surprises—and modern Victorian décor is no different. A chandelier in the bathroom? Art in the kitchen? These choices may seem out-of-the-box by contemporary standards, but they’re exactly the kinds of things that will make your home feel more special.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
Deciding to blend two very different aesthetics is, in itself, a risk. So, why stop being bold now? Embrace other opportunities to take risks—and don’t be afraid to have fun.
Score a great deal on an old dresser and spruce it up with a fresh paint job, draw all over your mirrors, or bring a little rattan into your antique-filled space. These creative choices can absolutely transform your space. And if something goes awry, rest assured knowing you can always back-track.