How to create vintage contemporary looks that won’t leave your home feeling dated.
Most of the times, when we decide to give our homes a makeover, we opt to chuck out all the old furniture, bits and fixtures, and replace everything with pieces that are new and shiny. But what if we didn’t have to? Call it what you want: Vintage meets modern, or traditional meets contemporary, there’s a place for antique furniture in modern homes that will leave a lasting impression and won’t burn a hole in your wallet.
Keep the dresser, and the cabinet, and the chest of drawers!
Take a walk through an antique furniture store. Don’t be surprised if you see something familiar, only worth about 100% more in price. Vintage furniture — or ‘one-of-a-kind’ cabinets and dressers are wonderful pieces that add character and depth to your home. They’re also making a comeback for triple their original value from yesteryear. So instead of tossing out all of your furniture, pick and keep pieces that have stories attached to them. They’ll make for great conversation starters and set memories more valuable than any price tag.
Show some character!
Forget the matchy-matchy catalogue look! Have a sense of adventure! It’s your home and it should represent and tell of your past, present and future. You could start simply by using old crockery handed down from ladies in your family, or play old vinyl from your father’s record player. There’s something warm, fuzzy and inviting about nostalgia. And believe it or not, it brings people together.
Eclectic, eccentric and a little exotic
Think: Stainless steel countertops, modern equipment, open shelves, wooden rustic cabinets and oversized jars filled with sweet treats. Using colours and motifs on that either soothe or ignite the senses, such as a rustic sky blue cabinet with tall metallic vases sitting on top. You could achieve a Scandinavian-meets-Italian-coffee-shop vibe or an oriental flare to an old England look.
Make first impressions with your door
Whether you know it or not, your front door says a lot about what you and your family represent. It gives your guests a glimpse into how your world behind those doors might be. You know that feeling when you’re waiting outside someone’s home on Christmas, contemplating whether or not the RM50 box of chocolate was enough? Once that door opens, man, you’re in for a surprise! Treating your front door with a rustic touch may just be enough to give your home that dash of character it needs. If you like minimalist, clean interiors, opt for a door that’s painted in a vibrant pop of colour, or use varnish to give old, wooden doors a sophisticated sheen.
Front and centre, always
Where you place your antique or vintage piece of furniture is really the key to mixing and matching the old and the new. Keep your pieces as the focal point in your spaces. You can also place them on floating shelves so they accent the design of the room instead of clash with it, or simply place them on a bookshelf.
Not everything needs to look ‘paired’
Forget matching vessels, armchairs and artworks. Embrace imperfection and try to throw things off-centre. Abstract is the new norm when it comes to mixing antiques with modern, chic pieces. Be open to ‘editing’ your space – add something, take something away or swap pieces for others.
Take things lightly
If you have chairs just collecting dust or that you don’t like their colour or upholstery, go ahead and get creative to make them new and interesting! OK, so you may have reservations about dying fabric or painting over heirlooms but getting creative with old furniture doesn’t mean you need to overhaul them. Small touches like repainting stands or adding embellishments to cushions can keep your classics golden with just enough hint of shiny and new.
Find new uses for old things
Get creative with how you use your old furniture and antiques. Turn vases into lamps, drinking vessels into vases and glassware into beautiful centrepieces. You could also repurpose old chests as coffee tables, turn bookshelves into a photo display and use old fabric for cushion covers, table runners and placemats. The idea is to incorporate a piece on an era you hold close to your heart into your present so it makes its way into the future of the people around you.
Written by Steph Nambiar