It could be a family heirloom or a vintage piece that you stumbled upon and just had to have. Either way, blending antique or vintage pieces into contemporary design can be a challenge. That doesn’t mean that you should get rid of your grandfather’s beautiful, old desk or pass up those vintage lamps that you fell in love with at the second-hand shop. It does mean that you need to give careful thought as to how to integrate them into your decor.

If you typically lean toward modern or contemporary design pieces for your home, it can be difficult to envision adding an older piece. But keep an open mind. There are ways for pieces from different eras to coexist, creating a space that is interesting and inviting.

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One of a Kind

Have you ever flipped through an interior decorating magazine and seen a picture that made you think “Wow! I would have never thought of that!”? When adding older pieces to contemporary design, the result should be a look that’s one of a kind and create a space that is uniquely yours. Whether incorporating heirlooms or lucky finds, your blended design will reflect your personality.

Variety is the Spice of Life

An entire house, or even just a whole room, decorated in just one style can end up looking flat. Mixing the old with the new gives a home character and makes it unique. The key is to blend items from different eras without making the space feel chaotic. Often an antique or vintage piece of furniture can be the statement piece in the room.  However, there is a difference between making a statement and sticking out like a sore thumb.

Older pieces should be of good quality and condition. Super shabby isn’t chic, and pieces in poor condition will look even worse when incorporated into a contemporary design. Look for pieces that have a sculptural or unique quality that can hold its own amidst newer pieces and will add visual interest. Scale is also important when blending time periods. While pieces may vary in size, they need to remain in proportion to each other.

While your antique or vintage item may provide the focal point for your design scheme, it should complement the overall look and feel in the room.

The Perfect Balance

Attempting to incorporate just one antique or vintage item into a strictly contemporary design can be difficult. Try bringing in a couple of pieces; furniture, mirrors, and paintings all suit this purpose. Scatter them throughout your home, intermingling the different styles for a more cohesive look.

A New Purpose

While an inherited piece may be beautiful, it’s original purpose may not be relevant to your lifestyle. Think outside the box and find a new purpose for it. Don’t let your grandmother’s armoire collect dust in the garage just because you have a walk-in closet. Reimagine it as elegant storage for table linens or china in the dining room. What about mom’s hope chest? Adding a cushion to the top in a fabric that you love can turn it into a unique and functional bench at the foot of your bed, providing both storage and seating.

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Antique, Vintage and Contemporary Design

Properly blending older or traditional pieces with contemporary design is important if you want to avoid ending up with a space that looks like a hodge podge of mismatched pieces. Those with an artistic eye may make it look easy while others struggle. Does a recently inherited antique have you feeling overwhelmed? Or perhaps a new vintage acquisition has you inspired to do a bit of redecorating? Either way, it might be time to enlist the help of a professional.

CW Interiors was founded on a passion for design and specializes in creating interiors that are warm, inviting and timeless. Designer and owner, Carolyn Wesslen, can help span the gap between eras, seamlessly incorporating your cherished antique and vintage pieces into a design theme suited to your modern lifestyle.  

An Allied ASID member, Carolyn’s goal is not only excellent design but a pleasant experience as well. She prides herself on demonstrating integrity, courtesy, and professionalism when working on an interior decorating project with a client.

Each project begins with a complimentary consultation, with the end result being a beautiful space that you’ll love and enjoy for years to come. Schedule your consultation today!