Lighten Up: Proof That Victorian Homes Can Be Modern and Bright

Lighten Up: Proof That Victorian Homes Can Be Modern and Bright

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Katie Holdefehr
Feb 24, 2017

I've been in love with Victorian style homes for as long as I can remember (that gingerbread trim gets me every time), but I'm turned off by the often dark and drab interiors. To see how a major remodel, a few DIY fixes or just a coat of white paint can perk up these historic spaces and infuse them with fresh style, we're taking a look at renovated Victorians, from the quaint and cozy, to the grand and bright. Come along!

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

When Bonnie moved from her light, open-plan home in Denmark to a dark and drafty Victorian home in the UK, she knew she'd have to make some big changes in order for it to feel like home. After pulling up the carpets, taking down the heavy drapes and washing everything with a coat of white paint, the home's initial impression is now an airy, Scandinavian-style home. Take a closer look, and you'll notice all the original details, including the bay windows, fireplaces and moldings, are still intact.

(Image credit: Rock My Style)
(Image credit: Rock My Style)

When Hannah and Toby moved into what was once Toby's grandparents' home in Sheffield, England, they started by stripping back the walls. Rebuilding from the bones of the house, they were able to pick and choose which features to keep along the way. My choice for the best original detail award goes to those gorgeous leaded glass windows, but you can judge for yourself by taking the full house tour on Rock My Style.

(Image credit: Design*Sponge)
(Image credit: Design*Sponge)

Filled with plants, woven furniture and quirky vintage finds, this New Jersey Victorian featured on Design*Sponge has a bohemian bent. The key to filling the formerly dim space with light was to let the stained glass windows shine and to brighten up the kitchen with double doors. Although the doors blend seamlessly into the space, they aren't originals, just lucky finds from Amighini Architectural.

(Image credit: Chris Stout-Hazard)
(Image credit: Chris Stout-Hazard )

Perhaps one of my favorite house tours of all time (okay, fine, I say this about every tour) is Chris and Roger's Victorian home in Sharon Springs, New York. Even pulling up to the front of the house—where you're greeted by a dark gray exterior, fuchsia front door and overflowing window boxes—you know this isn't going to be your traditional stuffy Victorian. Inside, white wood planked walls and furniture in a mix of styles freshens up the 160-year-old space, while vintage paintings and laboratory antiques hint at the home's past.

(Image credit: Homes to Love)
(Image credit: Homes to Love)

When renovating this beautiful Victorian terrace home in Melbourne, O'Connor and Houle Architecture struck a balance between the preservation of period details and a design suited to contemporary life. The fireplace, moldings and staircase act as reminders of the home's history. Flip through the full tour on Homes to Love to see the rest of the renovation.

(Image credit: My Domaine)
(Image credit: My Domaine)

If you like your Victorians with grand arches and ornate details—oh, and a sleek modern kitchen—this home renovated by Australian architect Robson Rak is your new dream home. Browse the full tour on My Domaine to see the all-glass addition in the back of the house.

(Image credit: InteriorZine)
(Image credit: InteriorZine)

Some of the most beautiful renovated Victorians can be found in Australia, including this stunning Melbourne home from Hecker Guthrie featured on InteriorZine. To amp-up the drama of Victorian decorating, the design firm reimagines heavy Victorian curtains for the modern era and uses an eye-catching floor-to-ceiling stained glass window as a focal point.

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