If you have a Victorian home, you may think that you have to decorate solely with antique furniture and period pieces if you want to keep the integrity of the house. However, you can liven up your home by adding modern touches while still making things look harmonious and beautiful. Here are a few tips for doing so.
Add Wood. Deep, rich woods are a hallmark of Victorian style, and you can mesh that antique feeling with modern design if you choose to include modern wood pieces as well. This gives you wiggle room in decorating with things like lamps, mirrors and wall art, tables, and bedroom furniture. Look for woods like walnut, cherry, and mahogany to complement Victorian pieces.
Use Color. Color-themed rooms are another classic Victorian decorative idea that can work well in a modern style. Avoid white or neutral walls in most rooms, instead using bold and rich colors that are specific to each room—and that allow you to modernize in other ways, such as with furniture. Look for a "historic" or "heritage" color palette at your local paint store, and focus on around three basic shades within this palette. The exception to this color rule are private rooms like bedrooms and the kitchen, which you can modernize with a simpler and more neutral color scheme.
Mesh Styles. Mixing and matching modern furniture and Victorian pieces can be tricky, but it's possible. You can modernize a chair grouping, for example, by upholstering the classically styled wood furniture with a modern chevron or diamond fabric. Opt for the floor-to-ceiling drapes that Victorians loved, but choose a more modern print. Or, you can liven up a traditional table by painting it a bold and unexpected color (or even just black or clean white). Be careful about how you mix things up, avoiding the temptation to mix too much in one area.
Use Restraint. Victorian designers loved to fill spaces with details and accessories. To bring your historic space into the twenty-first century, you may want to simply practice more caution when adding details. Simplicity and clean lines will help the room feel less traditional and more up to date. You can still use Victorian decorations, such as a great throw rug, but offset its impact by minimizing the furniture and artwork around it.
Modernizing your Victorian home takes time and some creative thinking, but it's a great investment in creating a home you'll love and cherish for years to come.