A refresh or blast from the past, in terms of furniture and home décor can be just what’s needed to reinvigorate a look. Popular period entertainment like The Crown, Mad Men, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Stranger Things, or reality shows like Back in Time For Dinner have people longing to revisit their favourite aesthetics from different eras. People are celebrating these looks by bringing them back into their wardrobes and homes.
Some seek out vintage pieces as unique and often cost-effective ways to mix up the look of their space and upgrade their post-college IKEA showroom chic to something a little more individualized. During a time when many baby boomers are downsizing, a large flux of hand me down furniture and artwork has made its way into new homes, and people want to make it work for them in a way that reflects their own style. Others fall in love with an item that really speaks to them but may struggle with integrating the piece into their home in a way that feels natural.
Here are some simple ways to find, buy, and integrate vintage and antique items into any type of home décor. Yes, even if it’s quite modern.
Where the Vintage Things Are
Summer and Fall is a great time for farmers’ markets and looking for some unique vintage finds for your home! While it’s fun to shop at an antique shop you spot while you’re on the road, more ‘one stop shopping’ is a benefit of hitting the antique malls. Since more shops are showcasing their selection online you can often check out their website or social media accounts to get an idea of selection and price ranges. Get a feel for which stores are offering one-of-a-kind pricey pieces and which are providing access to cool and kitschy rustic pieces to determine where you shop.
In addition to antique shops consider checking out flea markets to get access to multiple sellers all under one roof. Thrift stores are great spots to find what you’re looking for. Others have luck at estate sales and auctions, depending on the budget. Local Toronto stores like Green’s Antiques and The Singing Lady Consignment Emporium have websites that will allow you to check out what they have online before you make the trip to their store.
If you’re looking for yard sales, don’t just drive around your neighbourhood. Many yard sales are listed in advance in your local newspaper, on Craigslist, or community Facebook pages.
Those searching for a particular item, should try the world wide web. eBay, Etsy, and Facebook Marketplace allow you to search for a specific piece. Go online and post that you are looking for something specific so retailers with your item may contact you. Factor shipping costs into your pricing before you hit purchase.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
Don’t go overboard when you go thrifting and antique shopping! Separate show- stopping items in different rooms to allow the eye to appreciate each one for its beauty without getting overwhelmed. Furniture and Interior Designer Reagan Hayes shared an important point with Elle Décor, “If everything is special then nothing is special. If you’re trying to let one piece be a statement, keep other things smaller or less ornate.” If you fill up a room with antique telephones or typewriters it will feel like a museum, or the antique store you just visited. Sometimes less is more.
Integrating Antique Furniture Into Your Home
No matter where you got that antique piece, it may not be working with your current space. Don’t redesign an entire room around one item. Instead, consider altering that cute little antique chair to better coordinate with your existing space. Interior designers Caleb Anderson told Harper’s Bazaar, “Breathe new life into antique furniture by re-upholstering pieces in fresh, new fabrics. Recovering chairs and sofas with new materials can completely transform them.” Something as simple as a complementary swatch of colour can make a huge difference.
Let It Stand Out
There is nothing wrong with letting a piece of antique furniture be the star of your room. Just set the stage for the item to shine. Interior designer Jamie Drake told Harper’s Bazaar, “The wood and gold tones in antiques can be so stunning; I like to compliment them with a beautiful paint colour on the wall. I always find it more harmonious when I’m looking at warm wood tones to stay away from warm colours, and instead go with a cooler shade, like rich blue walls.”
A room that matches too much is boring. When bringing in a pop of colour via your vintage pieceeasily integrate it into the space by including that colour (or items adjacent to it on the colour wheel if you’re feeling a little braver) into two other items in the room. This is often called ‘the rule of three’. Something as simple as a knickknack, throw cushion, blanket, or even a piece of art featuring the colour will help bring the space together. Another option is painting a less valuable vintage item to better blend with your room.
A lot of people are nervous about combining more modern and vintage or antique pieces. If you aren’t afraid to play around with them you can create an amazing look that is your very own. So, take a deep breath and remember not all of your items are required to come from the same time period. As a simple way to mix things up Designer Caleb Anderson suggests, “As a contrast to [your] antiques, hang a modern piece of art. The harmonious pairing enhances the distinct characteristics of both pieces.” To get more tips on making different décors work together read our blog on fusion décor here. Other fun items to play with can include a modern chair with a more conventional desk. Remember antique pieces traditionally designed for the bedroom can work beautifully in other spaces. So, consider placing an antique dresser or wardrobe into your living room or dining room. You can also integrate traditional furniture in similar woodgrains with your antique items, like a bookshelf or end table to help unify the space.