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?
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?