Ideas + Advice


How to Mix Antiques With Modern Furniture

Interior design is all about balance — but getting to that perfect place within your home decor can be tricky, especially when you’re working with antique pieces in a modern home. Here, we go over the basic rules for how to mix vintage and antique room decor with modern pieces and design trends.

What’s the Difference Between Antique and Vintage?
Let’s pore over a couple definitions before we begin, shall we? Antiques are generally 100 years old or older, while vintage accent pieces are less than 100 years old. Vintage items usually have the appeal of nostalgia; a childhood dresser from the 80’s or 90’s, for instance, would be considered vintage.
1. Use the Antique as a Statement Piece
Antique finds catch the eye all on their own. By the very nature of the antique style, they stand out from modern and contemporary trends — so it should come as no surprise that such a piece will make a statement. A minimalist approach, by decorating simply and with few surrounding objects, will find that perfect balance between your modern furniture and vintage style.
2. Accentuate a Side Table
A perfect place to place a unique figurine or sculpture? The side table. Choose a table that's not too large that a smaller figurine won’t look disproportionately small. You can even cluster figurines together to use as a set — in the same way you would cluster flowers in a vase to form a bouquet. Three, or odd numbers, is a good rule to keep in mind when grouping more than one decorative object together to give a look of completion.
3. Choose a Simple Color Palette
Part of the minimalist home design approach to decorating with a mix of styles is the color palette. Consider colors in the same way you would consider objects like keys, dishes, papers and electronics on a table: too many objects looks cluttered and messy. When the colors are simple and similar, it’s akin to a countertop that’s swept free of objects — it’s a fresh, clean look that focuses on the decor.
4. Incorporate a Vintage Chandelier
A chandelier is a great way to add vintage charm to a modern space. The reason? Balance, in more ways than one. The curves that chandeliers offer offset the straight and clean lines that are common in modern furniture today. Also — there’s the balance of space, in that making use of the height of a ceiling lightens the weight of any heaviness that comes from a set of furniture on the ground.
5. Focus on Modern Furniture
When mixing antiques with modern furniture, the key is modern furniture. You don’t want to bring in a rustic chair with a modern sofa, boho coffee table and glam ottoman and then add an antique decorative object on top of it all. Two different design styles (modern and antique) is all you need to create an intriguing contrast of the two different time periods — and the stories, history and character that go with them.
How Do You Style a Modern Room With Antique Furniture?
We just went over how to mix antique decor with modern furniture — but what about antique furniture with modern decor? Generally, either scenario involves the same rules: minimalism, simple color palettes, etc. But with antique furniture especially, you want to pay attention to shapes and silhouettes. Most antique styles are embellished, carved or curved. Since your goal is to mix modern with antique, finding the right balance will often start with shape; you want an equal mix of straight edges and ornate details.
Can You Mix Antiques With Mid-Century Modern?
Absolutely, yes. Mid-century modern is interchangeable, often, with modern. While we referred to only “modern” above, either mid-century or modern works. The clean lines, crisp colors and simple design of mid-century modern style makes an excellent slate for building out a room with antique touches.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.