These modern Victorian living room ideas will help you get achieve that Victorian flair in no time.
I might be biased, but a modern Victorian living room is one of my favourite ways to pay homage to a Victorian property.
Why? It lets us still appreciate the beauty of the Victorian era, and the architectural parameters that come with the property, whilst bringing in touches of today that stop a room from feeling dated.
A Victorian living room can vary in size, but many were often small. Original details are everything. Ceilings were high, and cornicing and ceiling roses were just one of the ways to demonstrate wealth during this era.
We have just renovated our small Victorian living room to create a modern Victorian style, retaining and restoring the original details that once stood was so important to us, whilst modern rustic style is one of my favourite ways to dress and accessorise a room.
These modern Victorian living room ideas will help you to get that perfect balance between old and new.
Modern Victorian Living Room Ideas
1.Create A Focal Point With A Victorian Fireplace
A fireplace is a focal point, and was a defining character in Victorian living rooms. Very few Victorian houses have an original fireplace these days as homeowners have stripped them out over the years. This has often been the result of those trying to modernise a property, but a fireplace doesn’t have to make a room feel dated!
Restoring a Victorian fireplace or getting a replica fitted is one of the best ways to hold onto that Victorian charm.
When we moved into our Victorian home the fireplace hole had a plastic cover on it and finding a near as Victorian replica was the first thing we wanted to tackle when restoring some of the original details.
We sourced a cast iron fireplace (with mantel) on Facebook Marketplace for £50 and we were able to fit it ourselves. It has become the first thing you see when you enter the room, and a defining focal point that looks amazing.
2.Consider The Colour Scheme
The colour scheme is incredibly important in a modern Victorian living room. There’s a couple of different ways you can approach this, and it’s really dependent on your personal taste and the rest of your home decor.
However, I think you can take it a couple of ways.
Opt for a neutral colour palette so it becomes more of a modern rustic style, think creams, whites, olive green and light shades of blue. Or, you can go for something slightly more Victorian, opulent route which is a darker colour scheme. This could include navy blues, sage or emerald green.
But, let’s not forget black. Black is a defining characteristic of modern interior design, it helps to define and ground aspects of the room, whilst it also ties the room together.
Black should be used subliminally as an accent colour, this could be on select pieces of furniture, interior hardware details, the fireplace, and decor styling pieces.
As fireplaces are usually black anyway, the focal point of the room means that black can easily be interwoven into the rest of the living room.
3. Exquisite Lighting
Demonstrating wealth with beautiful light fittings was just another display of extravagance by the Victorians.
For that Victorian touch you might want to opt for a replica or original chandelier light fitting. This certainly brings a more traditional look to a living room, but it can be beautifully fitting if the existing ceiling rose is still intact.
For a modern twist on a Victorian living room, you should consider adding modern lights for the living room.
To be in keeping with modern decor, I don’t think you can go wrong with a black light fitting with clean lines, such as with a lantern style pendant light.
I LOVE this look in a modern living room as the black accent ties in well with other black pieces of furniture or interior hardware in the room.
4. Original Details
Retaining the integrity of the Victorian original details is the cornerstone of nailing a modern Victorian living room.
Restoring the fireplace is key, as are the finer details. If the ceiling rose has been removed, source an original, but there are many replicas on the market that can look just as good.
Adding cornicing to the ceiling is another way to restore that architectural gravitas, whilst it helps to define the room too.
When it comes to skirting boards opt for those that add height to the room, Georgian or Victorian style skirting boards are the best type to look for. They add a traditional touch whilst the extra height of the skirting boards helps to elongate the room.
5. Natural Furniture
Furniture made from natural material is a big part of modern design, delivering quality, style and hard wearing furniture to a space.
It’s easy to incorporate natural pieces sparingly, from wooden coffee tables, and wooden accent chairs to other nods to the natural world such as rattan and seagrass.
Whilst these are technically decor pieces, they forge a perfect relationship with natural furniture and modern design.
6. Introduce Patterns
Mixing patterns is one of my favourite things to do when creating a cosy modern living room. Keeping things simple and very symmetrical can just leave a sofa or perfectly plumped armchair look a bit flat.
You can absolutely mix patterns when it comes to cushions or throws to ignite depth and visual impact, but just make sure that they tonally work together.
Don’t shy away from introducing pattern in other areas too. To keep things more traditional you could opt for a William Morris esque wallpaper print, a patterned pouffe and patterned tiles to create a hearth for your focal fireplace.
7. Create Alcove Shelving & Cabinetry
Victorian living rooms are renown for having a central chimney breast and dead space on either side. If those alcoves are still sitting empty, one of the best ways to utilise that dead space is to build a cupboard in an alcove, and add shelving too.
We did this in our Victorian terrace house small living room and it has transformed the space! We added 3 shelves and a cupboard with brass knobs for that nod to the Victorian era. We tidied the ends of the shelves off with mouldings to give it more of a traditional look. I also LOVE T&G panelling at the back of shelves in alcoves, so effective and it looks fab.
You’ve then got a series of shelves to create some beautiful shelf styling, you may want to have a combination of both modern and traditional decor accessories here.
8. Restore Original Flooring
As far as modern Victorian living room ideas go, this is one of the easiest. No one made things like the Victorians and if you reveal a set of original floorboards that are salvageable, don’t you dare cover them up again!
Flooring can be restored by experts or on your own if you fancy a spot of DIY! You can hire industrial sanders if you want to strip the colour and you can seal with an oil.
If original flooring has bad signs of damage and damp, then it might not be possible to restore it back to life. Always get an expert opinion if you’re not sure on how, and if it’s possible.
If you can’t restore the flooring opt for something that would be reminiscent and high quality of this era like Engineered Wood Flooring.
If you want to add value to your property and benefit from the qualities of wood flooring then this a great choice, available in lots of different finishes.
9. Embrace Cornicing & Dado Rails
One of my favourite modern Victorian living room ideas. Beautiful cornices and dado rails were very much a part of Victorian design, they can still be appreciated in your living room today with a carefully considered colour scheme.
Cornices painted in a different colour to the walls works by drawing the eye up as you enter the room, giving the illusion of a bigger space.
In a bright white, it provides a crisp and beautiful contrast against this cool grey tone.
10. Introduce Playful Colour
You know a Victorian living room when you see one, with those architectural details at play, simply introduce some playful colours into your colour scheme.
Combining a mix of warm colours will deliver a touch of modernity and softness into the space.
11. Cool Things Down With Sage Green
Sage green is the colour of the moment, and a sage green living room is hugely popular right now.
It provides an inviting and restorative feel in a living room, pair with a dado rail for perfect colour separation, and to instantly draw the eye up as you step into the room.
12. Exposed Chimney Breast
Now an exposed chimney breast wall or brick slip wall definitely wasn’t on the cards in Victorian times, but it delivers a really modern, warm and inviting feel on what is a focal wall in a living room.
Keep the floor neutral to let the chimney breast walk ground the space, and introduce a bold pop of colour on a sofa for a striking look.
13. Go Moody With Navy Blue
Navy blue is a great colour choice for a modern Victorian living room, whilst it delivers an inviting, cocooning feel to a room.
Pair with a bright white on the ceiling to draw the eye up, and don’t forget to introduce some black accents, it will define the space and add a touch of modernity.
14. Create A Jungle Like Living Room
An all white space with plants is one of the best ways to deliver a striking contrast, and it’s proof that a white colour palette doesn’t need to feel boring or lifeless.
Plants are a great way to add a dash of colour in a considered way that’s good for air quality, and our mental health too.
15. Colour Drench With Grey
A living room is a perfect place to create a cosy yet enveloping feel, and colour drenching is an effective form of painting that literally cocoons the space.
Use the same colour all across the walls and up onto the ceiling. Introduce other colours through woodwork, decor accessories and artwork to avoid the room feeling flat and lifeless.
Modern Victorian living room design is one of my favourite interior design looks for a Victorian property as it helps to pay homage to what was a beautiful era, yet introducing modern touches that stop the room from feeling dated.
If you like this style, take a look at my other home interiors posts where I used modern interior design as a defining decor scheme in my home.
Which of these modern Victorian living room ideas is your favourite?