Decorating with antiques: How to make antique furniture work in modern spaces

Antique furniture and vintage-inspired style are rising in popularity again. Traditional designs don’t go out of fashion, simply because people are looking for comfort in the familiar. Unfortunately, many people who have antique furniture passed down to them have no idea how to incorporate traditional pieces into their contemporary homes. Often, they put them in the garage or attic, where they waste away and collect dust. On the other hand, some people place them in a random corner of the home, where they look out of place. Don’t make the same mistakes! Antiques not only add story and character to space, but they also give each home something unique that you can’t just go out and buy from any store. There are a few things you need to know about decorating with antiques, so let’s jump right in.

Benefits of decorating with antiques

Using antiques and vintage pieces as decor is all about blending old-world design with the new and modern. Since authentic antique pieces have already been produced and are still in use, they come with some obvious benefits:

  • There’s no carbon footprint, as opposed to brand new furniture.
  • If you know where to look, they can be more affordable as well.
  • Considering the incredible lifespan, you can feel confident in their quality.
  • You won’t need to replace them in a few years, which adds to their sustainability.
A living room with an open piano

Mixing antiques with contemporary design

You’re probably wondering how do you bring old pieces into a contemporary home without everything looking museum-like or wildly mismatched? There are so many easy ways to make antique furniture work in modern spaces. One of the more interesting ways to incorporate antiques into your home is by mixing them with contemporary decor. Layer multiple styles together, and you’ll create a mix that feels unique and has a story to tell. Many modern home designs look like something that came straight out of a catalog, and you’ll want to avoid that and add a little bit of character and history.

For example, you can mix an antique wood dresser with a contemporary bench and bed in your bedroom. Brand new dressers can be very expensive, so this is a great idea to update your bedroom on a budget without skimping on style. You can add a traditional-patterned rug as a final touch.

A luxury modern bedroom with antique pieces

Statement pieces

Sometimes you can use a piece of antique furniture as the centerpiece of your modern space. Instead of blending it in, you need to make a statement. It can be one classic wooden buffet table in your dining room. Preferably, you’ll choose a piece in Victorian style, with ornate touches and carved details, maybe even with a bold high-gloss finish that gives a royal vibe. Still, your statement piece has to go with the design of the rest of the room. For example, put your sleek buffet table alongside a modern marble table and upholstered dining chairs to achieve a nice balance.

If you have an antique piano, it’s certainly a statement for itself, so the same rules apply. An office desk is also an excellent idea – it’s like having your own “resolute desk”. Whenever you add wooden tones, try to mix them with other natural materials for added depth. Some materials are decoration for themselves, so you can keep things pretty simple and minimal in the rest of the room to maximize the space in your living room. If you want a more informal vibe, consider asymmetrical styling.

Subtle accent pieces

If you don’t like the thought of using an antique piece as a statement, there are many other options you could try. You can incorporate antique furniture as a subtle accent in your modern space in the form of a rug, accessories, tables, etc.

For example, an antique crate can be used as a coffee table in your living room. It comes with built-in storage, as a bonus. The whole room can be a mix of modern and traditional lines if you want a crate to blends in naturally. However, if you still want a piece that stands out a bit, you can contrast the crate’s dark finish with a light sofa or vice versa. Use pieces throughout the room that help highlight the color tones of the antique wooden crate. Also, be sure to incorporate natural textures which complement the weathered wood finish.

: A living room with beautiful antique accents.

Mix antiques from different styles and periods

When it comes to decorating with antiques, don’t limit yourself to just one piece. Many find it very charming to mix antiques from different styles and eras. For example, try to put together an antique chair and antique dresser. Even if they are not of the same style, they can blend quite nicely and complement the rest of the room. The color of the wall should help highlight the natural patina and character of those furniture pieces. A well-chosen mirror and wall art can add to the collected vibe of this space.

Another approach: repurpose or repaint antiques

Sometimes, it just happens that the original intended purpose of an antique doesn’t make any sense in your modern home, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. Instead, you can repurpose it and create something new. Repurposing antique pieces can add a sense of charm and character to your setup. You can also paint the antique pieces in another color if you think they will blend in better with the style of your modern space. For example, you can easily turn the warmth of the natural wood into something modern if you paint it white.

Protect your antique furniture when moving to another home

When it comes to moving to another home, antique pieces are something you need to take special care of. If they are not well protected, they can be easily damaged in transport. The best option would be to hire specialized moving services to take care of the transfer of items such as pianos and antiques. Specially trained teams of movers will know how to carefully pack your treasured items, transfer them safely to the moving trucks, and deliver them to your new property safely and securely.

After a successful move, once you’ve unpacked all your belongings, you can start decorating with antiques, stress-free and without any rush. Try different combinations, mix and match your furniture until you find the balance, feel, and look you want to achieve.

All in all

One thing is for sure – antique pieces will far outlive the fast-paced trends of today and tomorrow. They are meant to enliven a space with context, history, and imperishable charm. Decorating with antiques will bring positive energy into your home and add character, beauty, and timelessness to your modern space.

Photos used

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2 Responses

  1. Joss says:

    Great tips! I’m a big fan of using antique pieces in modern homes – they are almost always better built than modern furniture and dark wood can be painted to any colour but still retain the solid quality of an old piece. Perhaps the only problem is that antique furniture is usually larger than it’s modern equivalent so may not fit in smaller homes.

    • Sylvie G says:

      I so agree with this Joss – antiques are much better value than modern furniture especially hardwood pieces. They were often made by master craftsmen with beautiful pieces of wood unlike what we see today.

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