Whether it's your antique brass bed frame or a hand-me-down dining room table from Grandma's attic, the inclusion of old furniture in your home has a way of instilling a sense of character, warmth, and soul in your living space. Often, though, the unconventional shape or size, worn surfaces, and fragility of these antique pieces make them challenging to place in the home – especially if your place is filled with the sharp edges, sleek textures, and crisp geometric shapes inherent in modern style.
This idea book examines the blending of old and new decor in the home, detailing how to go about creating a unique space that harmoniously includes all of your furniture, no matter its age.
There is no standard recipe for striking the right balance between old and new in a room. It depends on the realities of the space – it's size, any available resources – as well as your personal taste and intuition. As a general rule of thumb, a larger statement piece of furniture such as a velvet-cushioned rocking chair or a stately freestanding bath on lion's feet may be all you need in order to bring a dose of that
old fashioned sense into your space, even if everything surrounding it is modern in its origins. At the same time, a collection of several smaller antique accessories can work just as well, as long as they are thoughtfully integrated in an arrangement that spans throughout the contemporary interior design, providing a sense of both cohesion and intrigue as they're spotted throughout the space.
What makes a piece of furniture or a decoration a statement piece? A statement piece is the centerpiece in the room (although it does not have to occupy the centre); it's a piece of furniture that immediately captures the eye, characterizes the space, and reflects one's own personality. As soon as a person enters the room the statement piece establishes itself as attractive and unique. This does not mean, however, that the object must brightly coloured or gigantic to attract attention. For old decor and furniture, the worn fabrics, rough textures, and faded wood will all stand out against a backdrop of polished, smooth decor – take advantage of these contrasts and create ample space for your statement piece to breathe.
If your old desk or chair really doesn't fit with your current decor scheme, add a splash of modernity to the piece by painting it or refinishing the wood. You'll maintain the original shape and style, but you'll finish it off with a fresh surface that fits it smoothly with your surrounding decor. Especially popular in recent years are matte monochrome pieces in pastels such as teal, rose, and peach, but don't forget the simple beauty of a solid black or white coat of paint as well. For added artistic flair, consider a metallic paint like a silver or a copper.
How about repurposing an old barn workbench to fit in the kitchen? Cooking is, after all, a craft – instead of placing a modern cooking island, in this kitchen a wooden workbench has been given this function, effortlessly transforming this utilitarian item into a stylish statement piece. The original working surfaces were adapted to those of a cooking and baking environment; for example, the trough is a practical storage space for spices, and oils, and on the middle level, cookbooks and utensils can be found instead of tools. Design experts at Ywona transformed this old piece into a high-quality and highly functional piece of furniture (and each table that they make is unique and is personally designed and built for the customer). Like these designers, you can re-imagine your household items, breathing new life into pieces that you were about to throw to the curb.
It's often the textiles that start to wear first on old furniture. Wicker or cane chairs in particular require maintenance from time to time; having these piece professional re-strung will preserve beautifully curved lines, rustic charm, and earthy design of these special heirlooms. Likewise, sofas, ottomans, and armchairs require a new surface from time to time. While a full re-upholstery job for a sofa is best left to the professionals, DIY fans will have their opportunity to whip out their sewing kits as well: smaller cushions and seat cushions offer simpler shapes and can be reupholstered and re-stuffed by anyone with basic sewing skills.
With the combination of old and new, it's also possible to work and experiment with one piece of furniture. If you decide to revive the original character of the piece, you may choose similar fabrics to the original covers, giving the piece of furniture it's own kind of
Renaissance. You could also use the basic structure or frame of the piece to provide a historic base for more modern fabrics and textures. For example, with geometric patterned fabrics on an antique chaise lounge chair will create a striking, artistic blend of old and new.
Perhaps the simplest approach to adding some historic charm to your modern home, you can simply take advantage of the centuries that humans have been producing art. Dynamic contrasts can and should be aimed at one another, creating a high-energy relationship between the items of your decor scheme. For example, by hanging a historic oil painting in an ornate golden frame above a minimalist chair, this juxtaposition will create a sort of tension that automatically highlights the importance and beauty of separate eras that produced both pieces.
Looking for more home decor tricks? Have a look at this helpful ideabook: 6 Tricks to Give your Guests a Good First Impression