Antiques add story, character and create a sense of history in a home. Combining antiques from different periods and from countries makes for an interesting mix. It’s fun to give an antique new life with a fun fabric or repurpose it as something else. A house filled with only antiques can make a room feel dowdy and museum like. Here are my five tips for decorating with antiques so your house doesn’t look “granny”.
In one of my guest bedrooms, the beams were repurposed from old telephone poles. The tole trays are repurposed as art. The headboards are some sort of architectural detail from a building in India. I almost forgot the lamp was once a baluster.
In our bedroom we used old shutters to create a cabinet for the tv that houses books etc.
MIX ANTIQUES AND MODERN
In my bedroom the fireplace mantle holds a vintage painting of a child, made to look old candlesticks and brand new Studio McGee for Target vase and stone link.
In our family room we have mixed new upholstered furniture with a vintage round table, and a new coffee table. The junk shop round table is topped a lamp made from a repurposed wicker covered bottle.
BLEND ANTIQUES FROM DIFFERENT ERAS
This corner cupboard is American from the early 1800’s. The wicker chairs are vintage. Mixing it up creates interest. The floor lamp is Mexican and the coffee table is contemporary.
In our TV room vintage shutters hide the TV, a vintage pot holds old roses, on a twig table that was newly made (25 years ago by a local artisan) and a fairly recent purchase of vintage chinoiserie chairs. I know this is an unlikely mix but to me it works.
CHOOSE PIECES YOU LOVE
Sadly we don’t need a thing (especially now that we are downsizing), but if we find a great accessory we snap them up! This vintage travelling trunk is a newish addition to our entry. I searched for one for years and finally came across this one. I love everything about this vignette. I have a live plant that is still alive (hip hip hooray). An antique bowl is filled with a collection of moss balls and some naturally shed antlers and horn. The mirror is not old or vintage. You can find similar traveling trunks on Ebay here
We recently purchased the french brides box pictured here on my modern coffee table at Roundtop before Covid. We told ourselves we were not buying any more boxes (a bit of an obsession) before we left. We came home with three!
CONSIDER FORM AND FUNCTION
Antiques are often not very utilitarian. Many of the chests etc. just have a couple drawers and the top was meant to store blankets (hence the name blanket chest). It’s hard to find large dining or harvest tables. Many are too small or too big. Steve built our dining table over 30 years ago. The base is an old quilting frame and the top constructed by him. The chairs are fairly new (maybe 10 years ago). We had windsor chairs in here for years and finally had these built by our upholsterer, as they are much more comfortable.
On the table an antique tray purchased in New England over 25 years ago. We talk about how accessories make an outfit. Collecting interesting accessories make a home. If you buy/collect what you love, you will always find a place for it.
I had a cushion and pillows made for this antique bench in our family room to make it more comfortable and inviting.
Thanks for reading my five tips for decorating with antiques. You might also enjoy Ten Tips for Achieving Timeless Interiors ,Over 55 Decor, and Rethinking Your Space for the Way you live now. Most items in my home are one of a kind but you can check out my Shop My Home Page for items that are available.
For more information on decorating with Antiques you might enjoy the articles below.
Have a Great day!