Get the look… Funky Victorian

How to create a vibrant home full of curiosities.


As predicted by many, the style ‘Funky Victorian’ has become a big trend. Victorian interior design was often influenced by social status and comfortable living. Funky Victorian is about blending traditional principles with the demands of modern living and using vibrant contemporary pieces in a distinctive and often quirky way.

Designers are taking the Victorian approach to interiors – in essence, ‘more is more’ - and contrasting it with bright modern fabrics, patterns and textures. Striking use is made of modern pieces in dramatic colours like shocking pink and electric blue. It’s this use of contrast that really makes the look work. By creating intimate rooms painted in moody, dark, period tones, whilst adding pops of colour with deep-buttoned period furniture, upholstered in bright velvet fabrics, the signature contrast is accomplished

Image Shootfactory
Image Liberty London
Image Devol Kitchens
Image Pinterest
Image Pinterest
Image Shootfactory

Original Period Features

Most generously-proportioned Victorian drawing rooms were dominated by a fireplace and a large overmantle mirror. These items still feature heavily as part of the Funky look. However, the fireplace might be painted the same colour as the rest of the room and the mirror would be in a more ornate and gilded frame.  Or perhaps an elaborate and brightly-hued plastic frame for a colour pop. Architectural features like sash windows, panelled doors with decorated handles, and picture rails, are all typical, but often painted to match the walls to create a dark, moody, monochromatic look. This neutralises the intricate details of the period features, making them less fussy but with enough presence to create an interesting backdrop.

Contrasting Colour

Dark moody colours such as Railing No.13 by Farrow & Ball, work well with pop colours like Tiru, a serene metallic teal paint (Graham & Brown's 2019 colour of the year). If you’re using complementary tones of the same colour throughout your room then make sure you keep the variety of patterns to a minimum - keeping to one or two styles avoids making a space look chaotic and fussy.

A Touch of Luxury

Soft furnishings are a dominant feature of Funky, with deep-buttoned upholstery, elaborate curtains and fitted carpets softening the harder finishes of the panelled walls and doors or parquet flooring. Velvets are chosen for their soft shiny finish, whilst tufts and tassels are also a popular trend that add textural and visual stimulation. The Millicent Chaise by Koket is a great example of this.

Be Bold with Pattern

Bold patterns are often incorporated into Funky Vic interiors in the form of large feature walls covered in decorative wallpapers or murals. Curtains, cushions, and upholstery often used eclectic bold patterns with motifs that deliberately clash to create the signature contrast effect. Floral patterns like these from Liberty are bang on trend. Traditional Victorian interiors featured a fair amount of floral and botanical patterns, and the Funky Victorian adopts the same style, just bigger. This wallpaper by Ashley Woodson Bailey is a perfect example of Funky floral on a bigger scale. Ornate monochromatic patterned floor tiles are also a signature of ‘Funky Vic’, and work well in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways. Don't limit tiles to the floor either, the Victorians loved a glazed tile wall.  Fireclay Tile do a great selection of black and white tiles made from the same material as a Shaw's sink.

Create a Gallery Space

Turning a feature wall into your own personal art gallery is very much part of this look. Mix modern art prints in simple frames with ornate guild-framed period oil paintings, to achieve an eclectic mood wall effect. Go for scale and mix it up. It works well in a sitting room or even a kitchen space. Alternatively, use the same technique but replace the artwork with mirrored glass for a stunning reflection wall in a bathroom or on a staircase. To really show off your personally-curated collection of ‘objedare’, try placing your prized possessions beneath antique bell jars or in glass cases to create a Victorian wall of curiosities. Add in a few antique busts to complete the look, like these humorous examples by Barcelona based artist, Gerard Mas.

Animal Magnetism

Animals feature strongly in Victorian interiors. Animal prints and faux animal skins are used for fabrics, carpets and rugs. Taxidermy walls (faux and funky obviously) are quirky and quintessentially Victorian. Exotic animal cushions like these from Liberty add a funky accent to any room.

Bathe in Victorian Funkiness

Bathrooms can be ‘funked up’ with ornate freestanding baths or contemporary basins mounted on traditional cabinetry.  Painting your bathroom walls or adding wood panelling in dark hues really makes a traditional white fireclay bathroom look pristine and glorious.

So go on, embrace Funky Vic and have some eclectic fun! We are most definitely amused!