In times of uncertainty, we often look to the past to help define our futures. There’s something comforting about the familiar. So, it makes sense that this desire would show up in our homes. And in 2020, an uncertain year to say the least, traditional and historically-inspired interior designs styles are a trend on the rise. From classic formal to American traditional and even Victorian-inspired design elements, it seems that people are looking for grounding and comforting elements to incorporate into their homes.
In fact, this has created the perfect moment for Victorian style to come back—it’s a trend on the rise! (So much so that we dedicated a whole podcast episode to unpacking Victorian design history and how to shelter in place like a Victorian!) In the Victorian era, much of life was centered around the home. (Sound familiar?)
We’re big fans of Victorian design, so we want to show off some ways to incorporate Victorian design elements into your home. But to bring this style into the 21st century, we’re giving it a farmhouse slant—because who doesn’t want some extra cozy comfort in their highly considered, traditionally inspired space? It’s a rustic country interior design style that we’re calling Victorian Farmhouse.
What is Victorian Farmhouse style?
First things first. What is farmhouse design again? Here’s a quick refresher: it’s a country style that uses actual farmhouses as inspiration, with rustic decorative elements. Farmhouse design is a warm, cozy, and relaxing style that’s full of charm and character.
Victorian Farmhouse style takes all of that, but mixes in the elements and principles foundational to Victorian style—but stays with a definite farmhouse aesthetic. It’s basically Joanna Gaines meets the Victorians—aka the best of both worlds. It takes all of the comfortable, cozy, and approachable parts of farmhouse design, then pulls in some of those antique and classic vibes, with a bit of a collector approach. It’s an elevated country style, with a bit of French country decorating mixed in—and we can’t get enough of it.
Want to see this style come to life and get some key decorating ideas? Keep reading. We designed a living room, dining room, and bedroom, decorated with Victorian Farmhouse style to show off this look.
The Victorian Farmhouse Living Room
Rustic, classic, and eclectic elements combine in this Victorian Farmhouse living room. It’s full of adorned elements like the classic-inspired floor mirror with its gold frame and that beautifully elegant chandelier. But it’s also very livable, with a major focus on comfort.
The Key Elements:
Opt for classic shapes with an antique twist. Victorian design featured a lot of what we now consider classic and traditional furniture shapes. Opt for classic forms in your foundational furniture, with details like turned legs or elegant curvatures. This is also a great place to incorporate antique furniture. Layer in vintage-inspired prints in your textiles—whether that’s plaids, stripes, or hints of chintz and florals in your pillows or a washed-out vintage rug. Materials like velvet are also perfect for this style, as they’ll help elevate the overall look of a space.
Focus on comfort. While a Victorian’s definition of comfort was much different than ours today, making their homes comfortable was definitely something they valued. And comfort is most certainly a big part of the farmhouse aesthetic. So, making the living room—the center of the home—a place of warmth and comfort is essential. Make sure your sofa is plush and comfortable; a slipcovered style would be perfect, and you can layer in extra coziness through textiles.
Embrace a rich color palette. Normally Farmhouse style is neutral and high-contrast. But Victorian Farmhouse pulls in a rich palette of colors, celebrating the elegant and sometimes opulent side of Victorian style. Incorporate deeply saturated colors through your textiles and perhaps through an accent chair!
The Victorian Farmhouse Dining Room
This dining room is rooted in the more rustic side of Farmhouse style. The overall look is comfortable and cozy. But the Victorian elements come through in the more ornate details of the room and through the display cabinet, which gives the perfect space to showcase your collections and treasures!
The Key Elements:
Take a Rustic Farmhouse approach to the furniture. In a Victorian Farmhouse dining room, lean into rustic interior design ideas when picking out foundational furniture. We opted for a farmhouse dining table, though one with a more modern base for a more streamlined look. We paired this with rustic chairs—but in a slipcovered style that is comfortable and adds warmth to the space.
Embrace ornate details. The details and home decor have a more classic and Victorian-inspired vibe. The chandeliers lean into an ornate and classic-formal look, adding some polished refinement to the space. The shapes in the chandeliers echo the mirror’s curves, and the intricate geometric metal detail of the cabinet contrasts with the simplicity of the table and chairs.
Put those collections on display. Victorians loved to amass collections of decorative objects—and loved showing them off even more. (They were basically the original maximalists.) While a cabinet is generally intended to conceal things, the geometric cutouts in this one give you a place to put your objects on display. Showcase your favorite decorative objects, treasures, or collections, both in a cabinet like this and styled on tabletops and shelves.
The Victorian Farmhouse Bedroom
This Victorian Farmhouse bedroom has an old-world feel—but is certainly not without modern sensibilities. A high-contrast black and white color palette grounds it in a Farmhouse aesthetic, but pops of rich colors and gilded, ornate decorative moments gives an air of refinement to the space. It’s all about polished and refined moments being juxtaposed with the casual comfort of Farmhouse style. The use of shiplap on the walls is a great example of this; it’s a casual element that really helps to highlight the more ornate details of the room.
The Key Elements:
Make a statement with a four-poster bed. In a Victorian Farmhouse bedroom, a classic four-poster bed is the perfect statement piece and grounding element for the space. It gives that old-world feel, but with interesting spindles like the ones pictured above, it definitely has a modern twist.
Layer in Victorian-inspired decor. Victorian homes were often filled with portraits of both past and current residents, along with tons of collected objects. We love the idea of using classically inspired wall art and home decor in a Victorian Farmhouse home, but giving it a more modern twist. Need some Victorian decor ideas? Perhaps a vintage-looking portrait in a modern frame, a classic bust statue with a modern finish, or an eclectic collection of decor that you’ve collected through your travels. This is a great way to bring color and personality into your space.
Incorporate decorative materials. Victorians embraced a sense of “decorated living” where everyday objects and furniture had a little something that made them feel special or considered. To help a Victorian Farmhouse room lean into the Victorian side, incorporate decorative materials in the furniture and decor. The cane chair pictured here combines the high-contrast palette of Farmhouse style with a refined shape and style that features decorative caning. The gold mirror and chandelier elevate the look. And the four-poster bed, with its unique spindles, feels really special.