A Beginner’s Guide to Using Antiques in your Home
By Emma Joyce
There’s an old saying that goes: “What goes around, comes around”, and as old as it is, it’s proven to be true, at least when it comes to fashion and design. We witness the return of some old trends which we thought to be obsolete, and everywhere you look you catch glimpses of bits and pieces of distant past. Vintage pieces of furniture are stealing the spotlight in homes of famous designers, and we are here to help you implement the same style in your home.
Open your mind
“No room is complete without something of age and provenance and character”, states Ken Fulk, a San Francisco decorator and designer. If a cousin or a family member offers you a piece of furniture, your first instinct might be to say no, when instead you should embrace the heirloom and see how well it goes with the rest of the furniture in your home. Imagine a room where sleek contemporary glass vases stand on a modern steel-and-glass coffee table, and the wall behind them is lined with gilded, leather-bound books. Or you can try keeping the old, dark-stained English-style library table and place light-colored neo-classic style dining chairs around it. You might think that these things don’t go well with each other, but you can never know for sure until you give it a try – you might fall in love with the result.
Antique dressers and secretaries
Dressers are for bedrooms and a secretary is to be kept in your study, right? Well, you might be wrong about that. If you have a lovely vintage dresser, it may be a real waste to keep it in your bedroom. Instead, you can think outside the box and place it in the living room where you can use it to stash different things (cables, batteries, old magazines, even children’s toys). What is more, it can also come in handy as a console for your TV, or you can use it to prop some art or your family photos in modern frames on top. As for your old secretary, you can easily turn it into a bar. All those shelves and drawers are just perfect for glasses and bottles.
Rugs and carpets
The best thing about having a decorative rug is that you can keep the rest of the room as modern as you want, it will not look odd. Antique rugs are often oriental, and they will do a great job grounding the room filled with minimalist, modern pieces. Not only will it give the room much needed balance, but it will also add nice dose of texture and pattern while still being discreet. If the rug in question is not too big, you can even consider hanging it on the wall – it will act both as a painting and wallpaper, and it will add an ethnic feel to the room.
Display your collection
If you have some family heirlooms or you are a passionate collector of particular items, why not display your collection instead of keeping it locked in a box or a garage? Or if you’re already showing off your collection by spreading the items throughout the room, why not group them together? This way it will have a bigger impact and leave a much better impression: put your collection of hand-painted plates or gilded photo frames on the wall or on the shelf and make them a centerpiece of your living room. Old books, ‘ancient’ black and white family photos, your collection of old cameras or jars filled with sea shells and rocks you brought back from your holidays can look great on your shelves and make the room more inviting.
Luckily, there is absolutely no rule that says all the furniture in your home has to come from the same era. In fact, by choosing to have different (even contrasting) styles in your home, you will get a chance to bring more life and texture to every room instead of keeping things sterile and common. Find inspiration in more traditional pieces if you have a modern home and vice versa, but try not to turn every room of your house into a flea market.