Out with the old, in with the new? Not so fast! Upon hearing the word “antique,” many people conjure up images of smelly homes filled with horrifying mounted animal heads and cabinets full of plates too fragile to ever use. It’s no wonder many people today don’t want their parents’ old collectibles.
That said, while it’s true an over-abundance of antiques will make a home feel dated and stuffy, having some vintage pieces sprinkled here and there can make an otherwise-modern home seem more comfy. Mixing the old with the new is a great way to enhance a living space.
One of the reasons people like antiques so much is because they are great conversation pieces. Family heirlooms often have interesting stories attached to them. A sleek, modern table may be too plain on its own, but adding an old sculpture or vintage candelabra can complete the look. The more unique the piece, and the more history behind it, the better it will be for starting interesting conversations.
There are other ways antiques can brighten up a modern home. In the world of interior decor, trends come and go throughout the decades and centuries. Certain forms of art have gone out of style, making it impossible or too expensive to buy modern pieces. This is the case for stained glass, grandfather clocks and certain types of photographs and paintings. Also, some fabric patterns that were once common are now rare. Luckily, antiques transcend time and current fashion. They can be found in any shape, size, pattern or color desired.
For example, adding stained glass to a door will instantly transform it from boring to gorgeous. Adding antique photographs to a wall can give a room a hipster feel, or it can help one feel connected to the past. For the artsy and slightly eclectic look that’s trending now, upcycled art projects made from salvaged antiques can add a quirky, stylish charm. Upcycling is ideal for those who want a true mix of old and new.
A third reason to include antiques? They add character. Modern decor is focused on having a clean, simple and minimalist design. That’s great, but when one goes overboard with it, it becomes sterile, bleak and uninspired. Balance is key in design. Adding some rustic furniture can add interest in a home that is too neutral or safe. For an intriguing contrast, mix modern chairs with an old, club-footed table. Alternatively, use modern blankets and pillows on a bed with a century-old headboard. Using restored mirrors from the past is also quite elegant. It’s a good way to make a room seem a bit more fancy or grown-up.
Modern decor can sometimes be lacking in the cultural aspect. A modern-style American home will look very similar to one in Europe or Asia. Antiques can solve this problem by adding some heritage. For a folksy, Americana look, set a couple of old dolls to a couch’s cushions. For a more Old World-inspired design, incorporating imported desks, tables and lamps will add a nice touch. Be sure not to neglect bookshelves, either! Nothing says history and culture like a shelf full of classic books on display.
Antique furniture and decorations can also serve as a “safety feature” of sorts for people concerned for decor. What’s super-trendy today may be ridiculously out-dated in five or ten years. A home filled with nothing but modern trends is doomed to be viewed in a negative light in the future. Think of 70’s cabinets or 90’s countertops. Antiques, on the other hand, are not affected by what’s trendy and what’s not. They can make a home feel more individualized and less like a cookie-cutter product of its time.