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How to Mix Vintage Pieces into Modern Spaces

Dear Modsy,

I’m a new homeowner in the process of designing my first place. I have a few antique and vintage pieces that I’d like to keep, but overall I’d like my new home style to look and feel modern. How can I mix these pieces in without it feeling like two conflicting styles?

Please help!

Sincerely,
Curious Collector

 

Dear Curious Collector,

We love the look of mixing vintage pieces into modern interiors. Vintage pieces are a great way to infuse your space with some old-world charm and texture, and make your home feel unique and full or character.

While we know it can be a challenge to imagine a vintage steamer trunk looking great with your modern sofa, we have a few tricks that will help.

So whether you’re in the market for some antiques or have a vintage piece you simply don’t know how to make work, here are a few easy, stylish ideas for combining vintage pieces with modern furnishings in your home.

 

Mix In a Little Patina

The appeal of vintage pieces often comes from their timeworn look. These signs of age give vintage pieces their signature “patina,” and can work wonderfully to warm up a room that’s predominantly white or spare.

Pair with solid hues… to strike a visual balance of old and new. For instance, the roughness of the old steamer trunk repurposed as a coffee table in this living room, is a stylish visual counterpoint to the clean-lined leather sofa.

Pair with soft textures… to offset the aged look of a vintage piece, especially if it’s made of weathered wood or tarnished metals. Crisp pillows, shaggy rugs, and other rich textiles will help to soften the rough-hewn look of a vintage, patinaed piece.

 

Consider Classic Furniture Details

Most antique furniture was constructed using traditional techniques, and their forms often reflect that craftsmanship. Think X-bases and ornately carved table legs. These classic design elements can add an eclectic vibe to a modern space.

Combine classic details with minimal designs… to create contrast. In this dining area the carved antique table works perfectly with the minimal design of the console and round mirror. The idea is to contrast heft with lightness to create a balanced look for your space.

Combine classic details with curvy shapes… to take the edge off classic antiques. While carved wood pieces provide a sophisticated note to a space, they can appear solid and rigid, like the dining table above. Round accents like the hanging pendant or the curving seat of the iconic Bertoia chairs, will help create a space where modern and traditional elements collaborate rather than clash.

 

Work with Mid-Century Lines

There’s no shortage of gorgeous mid-century pieces in the market these days. Among vintage designs, these clean-lined pieces are great for mixing into modern spaces.

Mix mid-century with iconic designs… for a distinctly contemporary look with an air of design sophistication. Here, the polished vintage desk is matched with the Modernist Ghost Chair, which shares its sleek lines and simple form with the desk.

Mix mid-century with brass… to add a little modern glimmer. Many vintage pieces sport brass hardware, so try layering your vintage piece with even more brassy accents to tie the whole look together. Additionally, brass makes for an eye-catching and warm visual contrast to polished woods.

 

Add a Statement Antique

If you’re looking to make a statement, opt for an antique or vintage piece that’s rich with history. Consider them conversation pieces that will stand out from the rest of your furnishings in any room.

Balance statement antiques with big pieces… to match the grandeur of your vintage design. What contemporary designs may lack in history, they can still make up for in bold scale and style. The grandfather clock here is balanced by the green velvet sofa and the large-scale art that’s equally eye-catching.

Balance statement antiques with gold touches… for a way to unify the old and the new. Gold accents, such as side tables or gilded frames, can be a great way to bridge antiques and modern furnishings – they have a way of making big antiques, like this grandfather clock, feel contextualized and they add a glamorous touch to the space. Try layering a few gold pieces in between your antiques and your modern pieces to create a cohesive look.

 

Go Bold with Vintage Woods

Many large vintage pieces feel especially out-of-place in modern homes because of their dark wood (not to mention those ornate carved details). When it comes to big antiques, such as storage pieces, try pairing the bold with the bold.

Pair vintage woods with bright colors… to offset the dark wood tones. Lighter hues and textiles with patterns can be a great counterpoint to vintage furniture in dark woods. For example, the dark-wood dresser in this bedroom blends beautifully against the marbled, blue wallpaper, for a look that’s modern, playful, and easy on the eyes.

Pair vintage woods with light upholstery… to create a space that’s equally relaxed and refined. Upholstery, even in the form of a single chair, placed alongside a vintage dark wood piece can help to ease up its strong appearance. Try bringing in side chairs in bright fabrics or a light white upholstered seat that can easily be pulled up next to a dresser or a console for the perfect visual balance.

 

With Modsy, you can create a 3D model of any piece of furniture, like your vintage credenza, and we can help incorporate it into your design, no matter what your style.

Need help mixing in your vintage furniture?

 

You’re Gonna Make it After All

An Ode to Mary Tyler Moore and the Modern American Woman

Mary Tyler Moore, the ultimate lady hero, was an important and influential woman for a lot of people. At Modsy, we are a company founded and run by female leaders, and we would like to thank her for paving the way for us and other fierce females.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the first program to feature a single, independent, career-driven woman in a leading role. The show also marked one of the first instances that time prime-time TV turned an eye towards issues such as sex, birth control, and women in the workforce. Mary’s humorous, compassionate, and lively character offered a new depiction of the American Woman to her prime-time television viewers.

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To celebrate Mary Tyler Moore’s legacy and her memory, we designed a modern version of her studio apartment for our twenty-first century single (and career-driven) ladies. Like Mary’s, this apartment, also set in snowy Minneapolis, has an open floor plan that is divided into a living/dining and entertaining space, a small office area, and a bedroom.

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In the living room we selected a golden velvet sofa and the bold floral rug, inspired by Mary’s  studio apartment on the show. We ditched the coffee table in lieu of a small cocktail table that can be used for dining and entertaining – multi-purpose pieces are important for small-space living. The two mismatched side chairs create the sense that the space was designed in pieces with objects collected over time, as the apartments of many young adults are.

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Across from the living room is a small office nook, where we imagined our young career-driven dweller can study, work, or pay her or his bills on time.

For the bedroom we opted for a canopy bed to bring some drama to the space. Studio apartments mean that everything is on display – if people are going to see your bed, why not make it a statement?

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Designed spaces communicate identity; our homes are not only the places where we live, but they embody elements of who we are. In the mid-twentieth century, apart from Mary Tyler Moore and her studio apartment, the only other depiction of women and their homes in the media was of the suburban housewife. By contrast, the alternative home-based identity for males was that of the single, heterosexual bachelor who lived in his trendy, urban penthouse.

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A little seating nook hidden behind the dividing bookcase offers a private space for reading or relaxing with a glass of wine after a work day.

Images of such “bachelor pads” were showcased in Playboy Magazine alongside centerfolds of naked women. These were dwellings created for the educated, tech-savvy, elite male with ample disposable income and sex appeal. Mary Tyler Moore, by comparison, was also a single woman, living in an urban area, and focused on her career rather than finding a husband. Her home, as a trendy studio apartment communicates this, and she provides the female role model to her male, bachelor counterpart. Like the playboy bachelor pad, Mary’s home is open, designed for entertaining, and full of an eclectic mix of Mid-Century Modern and more traditional furnishings.

 

We love Mary Tyler Moore and are continuously inspired by her go-getter, boss lady attitude. Thank you Mary for being the incredible woman that you were, and for paving the way for the rest of us. Together we are going to make it after all.

Shop all the products in this collection below, or see it in your space with Modsy.

The Collection

 

Anthropologie

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Modsy Collections: The Mod Collector

Introducing Collections!

We are excited to introduce our new Collection Series! In this series we will be presenting a variety of styled collections carefully curated for you to discover new products, makers, and styles you’ll love. Look out for the new collections here on the blog or sign up to have design inspiration delivered directly to your inbox.

If you find an item you love (or are taken by the entire collection) but aren’t quite sure how it could work in your home, Modsy is here for you! When you purchase a Modsy design package you can see exactly how any of our featured collections would translate into your own space. Just imagine the possibilities!


Our first featured collection is based on one of our most popular style guide categories, the Mod Collector. The Mod Collector blends together a mix of classic mid-century modern pieces with accessories that showcase unique personality and taste.

This collection presents the Mod Collector sensibility, but with a Minimalist styling. Inspired by a modern Scandinavian feel, the pieces are characterized by a pared down palette of neutral blacks, whites, and creams with accents of natural wood and leather to add a bit of warmth and depth to the space. There is a lovely simplicity and brightness to the collection, managing to strike that tricky balance between a living space that is both sophisticated and inviting.

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Design Within Reach

 
West Elm

Artfully Walls

BoConcept

Scandinavian Designs

Trying to visualize how this collection would look in your home? Let us do it for you! Get started today!