Building a Design Scheme around Vintage, Retro and Antique Furnishings

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I’ve had a run of projects recently with clients possessing the most wonderful antique and vintage pieces. At times like this the question, “can you work with these?”
is music to my ears. “Why yes I can”. Building a design scheme around vintage, retro and antique furnishings is one of my most favorite types of projects.

I literally have to contain my excitement. I really enjoy having design perimeters especially when those perimeters happen to include a circa 1950 glass top cocktail table with a gilt “sheath of wheat” base, an Edwardian rotating bookcase, or a Curtis Jere’ raindrop mirror like my most recent design projects.


Why Blending Antiques, Retro and Vintage Furnishings with Modern Day Furniture Eras Works

The fun in this type of project lies in finding the proper furnishings to go with them. The perfect sofa, chairs and coordinating fabrics pull the eras together into a visually pleasing, style appropriate design scheme.
It’s much harder to achieve than buying all your furniture at one place in time but the benefits are numerous. By blending eras, your design schemes will evolve much better and stay in style longer. You won’t be replacing everything at once, in fact you probably won’t be replacing much at all except changing out the fabrics every twenty years. It looks better. The appearance is less cookie cutter. The whole environment is more original.

Other Decor that Works Well with Antiques, Retro and Vintage Furnishings

  • Traditional style fabrics
  • Trendy fabrics
  • Trendy colors
  • Modern lamps
  • Modern rugs
  • Antique trunks
  • Quality pots, ceramics and jardinière
  • Baskets
  • Modern throw Blankets
  • Throw pillows in traditional style fabrics
  • Potted plants and topiary











Coordinating New Fabrics with Antiques, Vintage and Retro Furnishings

When blending new fabrics and upholstered or slip covered seating with old tables, hutches and wooden chairs think first about the coloration of the wood. Light, ashen wood tones look stunning with black, red, cobalt and taupe fabrics. The yellow tones inherent in pine work well with Kelly green and dark, bluish red. Cherry wood stains work well within many color schemes.


Placing Antiques, Retro and Vintage Furnishings

Placement of your antiques and vintage pieces is also important. Unless space is confined, I always place the most desirable furnishings to be seen first as you enter the room. I do this in the living room and entry areas especially. Wherever there is something particularly beautiful, I emphasize or call attention to it in some way.

Shiree’s Style Sheet

  • When furnishing a home with antiques, try working in some trendy fabrics and accessories to bring them up to date.
  • Mixing traditional and contemporary pieces is easier if you find a common denominator such as color and fabric styles.
  • The term antique as applied to furniture is defined as being at least 100 years old, while vintage is defined as at least twenty years old.
  • To collect artwork, research, evaluate and buy pieces that attracts your eye. Choose each individual work in a way that forms meaningful groupings, also called collecting.
  • Serious collectors agree, don’t decorate your home around your artwork and don’t collect artwork around your décor.
Don’t be quick to discard your old wood pieces, antique, retro or vintage. Try using them as the catalyst for your next design scheme.

That’s it for today! 

I hope you find all my ideas super helpful! I love sharing with you. And if you’d like to dig deeper into this topic then check out my free download “The Functional Home Blue Print” where I go further into each of the zones, plus I cover the biggest, most important zone of them all: the kitchen!

Here’s that link again.

For some goodness on yoga and wellness at home, check out Joy of Nesting’s, “Your Exercise Sweet Spot: how to create time and space for yoga, workouts and meditation”!


September 30, 2014

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Building a Design Scheme around Vintage, Retro and Antique Furnishings

Building a Design Scheme around Vintage, Retro and Antique Furnishings

Building a Design Scheme around Vintage, Retro and Antique Furnishings