Styling your home with vintage furniture is a brilliant way of adding character and uniqueness. Steeped in history, vintage details add a personal touch to any space that modern furniture can’t replicate.
These pieces can be in the form of a treasured heirloom passed down from generation to generation or a lucky find at a local antique store or yard sale. Whether it be a marble side table or an antique bookshelf, injecting the vintage feel with fill your home with history and cosiness.
Before You Start
There are many approaches you can take when deciding to decorate with vintage and antique furniture. But avoid falling into the trap of believing you have to spend a fortune to do so properly. Many interior designers agree that you should purchase pieces you genuinely love as opposed to pieces that are high in value.
The goal of using vintage furniture in your home is to add charm and history to a room, not increase the overall value of the space. Buy items that speak to you and that will fit nicely with your decor and existing elements. This approach will save you money and relieve the stress of maintaining expensive finds.
Invest In Quality Pieces
One of the biggest appeals of vintage furniture is longevity. Materials used in the past to make these items were generally of high quality, like hardwoods, silks and embroideries and unusual wood choices not used in modern furniture.
Typically, only a handful was made, as the quality was far more desirable than quantity. Check for authenticity markers on the item to ensure you buy a quality piece, not a modern reproduction. There should be labels, hardware, details of the maker’s name and location, or a certificate of authenticity.
Mix Old & New
When decorating with vintage furniture, experiment with mixing items from different eras. Each era had a standout and recognisable design that dominated that period. Finding a balance of mix and match can add extra layers to the room’s overall tone. Sticking to one design can feel stagnant and dull.
That isn’t to say that all your furniture needs to be dated. On the contrary, modern designs have their place and pair nicely with antique pieces in a well-curated room. For example, if you purchase a brand-new sofa, look for a vintage coffee table to match. They will stylishly offset each other. However, use only a few vintage options, as they can quickly start to make your home look more like a showroom, which can feel unnatural and cold.
Look at Lighting
Standing lamps, side table lamps and sconces can all be considered furniture, and there has been a noticeable increase in vintage designs available from which to choose. To make a decorative statement, the feature needs to have as much impact when it is off as it does on.
Antique-style wall sconces and dramatic chandeliers will do a fantastic job lighting a room and ignite a flair of drama when they are not being used. Glass, cast iron, and brass are popular material choices for these items, which add a unique but easy element to incorporate into the room.
Up-Cycle Vintage Pieces
Often, vintage furniture is passed over because it looks shabby and rundown. But the simple truth is that, more often than not, it simply needs a minor facelift to be brought back to its original state.
Giving these pieces a new lease of life with fresh paint, oil treatment, a new fabric cover or fixing any broken part reduces waste and gives you a one-of-a-kind piece for your home. In addition, when items are made to last, you don’t need to be an expert to restore them to a state with which you are happy.
Think Outside the Lounge
When sourcing antique furniture, our minds often don’t think outside the home’s main living areas. So it seems only natural to include this type of furniture in the lounge or bedroom as these are the areas most likely to have the most significant impact style-wise.
But if you think past these areas to places like the kitchen or the bathroom, freestanding pieces like a dresser, shelves, and buffet tables add personality and a more relaxed feel. In addition, they often come with more storage space than their modern equivalent, further maximising their functionality and help to break up uniformity. Finally, wood naturally brings a feeling of warmth, which can brighten up a bathroom that feels cold and clinical.
Double Function Pieces
With an increased desire for furniture with both style and function, as well as people searching for ways to keep their homes clutter-free, modern furniture often does double duty to satisfy both needs. This can easily be replicated with some unusual vintage finds and out-of-the-box thinking.
Antique wooden barrels, crates, baskets and trunks can double as a convenient place to store extra books, blankets, cushions and various miscellaneous items around the home, in addition to being used as coffee tables, side tables, additional seating and accent design features.