"Vintage pieces can add character, charm, and a sense of history to a space."
When I was a child, I spent a lot of time hanging around my father, who studied antiquities in parson’s school of interior design in New York, he always made a big deal out of pieces he would find and bring home. The non-stop talk about it, how it made him feel, and his constant rearranging the living room until he achieved what he called “perfect harmony” would fascinate me. I guess this really shaped my appreciation for antiques and vintage pieces.
Now as a designer I get to play around with designs, and one of my favorite ways is to introduce vintage pieces, and my go to as of late is usually something Asian inspired.
One thing to note is that vintage pieces are often more durable and affordable than contemporary pieces. They also bring a soul and sense of authenticity to a room in a way that new pieces just cannot replicate, and they are essential to creating a home that feels lived-in and loved rather than curated.
Do keep in mind not to get carried away with too many vintage pieces, and be strategic about it, the pieces are to compliment the room and not to become the star of the room.
Here are Four Ways To Go Vintage in your designs.
One of the best ways I like to incorporate vintage or antique pieces is with the use of furnishings. I normally lean towards tables but if I find a special one-of-a-kind chair that can be a good statement piece, I won’t pass on it. Since most vintage pieces are well-made and more affordable than current trendy furnishings, I love how it creates a bespoke design to a room.
In general, for pieces that are most-used like beds and sofas I go straight to newer modern furnishings and save vintage for the statement pieces that won’t be necessarily used as often. Vintage always is a great choice for case goods and mixing styles and periods is how I achieve that layered, timeless look.
BUYING TIP Do your homework. It’s nice to have at least a basic working knowledge of furniture styles and time periods. You will likely find books on the subject, but you can also learn quite a bit by browsing online auction sites and reading descriptions.
Another way to add a vintage flair is with the use of antique rugs, these hand-made beauties are both works of art and durable since most are hand-made wool rugs. The preferred way to use these would be in areas where there is high traffic, and these will help disguise any mess with their already vintage and worn covering up stains. As an added benefit they are easy to maintain due to the wool construction making it easier to clean than their synthetic counterparts. I love placing vintage runners and smaller rugs in kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, and entries, and larger pieces that can easily set the tone for living spaces and bedrooms. I also like layering vintage rugs over another low-pile natural fiber rug like jute.
Don’t forget to use pillows or drapery to bring out the texture and movement of the rugs.
BUYING TIP: Know your measurements. If you are looking to fill a spot in your home, measure it and keep the numbers on hand (the Notes app on your phone is a great spot). It’s harder to get your exact desired measurements when sourcing vintage, but at least you’ll have an idea.
ART & ACCESSORIES
Another great way of adding vintage is with the use of accessories and I usually like to incorporate special smaller items like vintage pottery, original art, and unique mirrors. You can easily find these items in local antique shops and estate sales, but it will take some patience and time.I must admit that I’m not one who likes to go thru piles of items just to find that one piece, so my favorite place to go to when I’m looking for something special is online. There are many online sites which I’ll share with you below that are great for finding beautiful one-of-a-kind vintage accessories.
Lighting is another great way to add a nice conversation piece to a furnishing and I usually like incorporating this to an entry way and/or hallway. Vintage mirrors are my go-to for bedrooms and over fireplace mantels. I'm currently on the hunt for the perfect antique vanity mirror for a primary suite.
BUYING TIP: Be prepared to make a quick decision. Vintage items rarely come back in stock, so if you leave something behind, be prepared that it might sell to someone else. If you are on the fence about a decision, ask about hold or on-approval policies.
A GUIDE FOR INCORPORATING VINTAGE
It’s OK To Mix and Match: One of the key benefits of using vintage pieces is that they can add a unique touch to a space. Don't be afraid to mix and match different eras and styles to create a cohesive look that feels personal.
Consider Scale: When incorporating vintage pieces, it's important to consider scale. If you're working with a small space, for example, a large vintage sofa may not be the best choice. Similarly, if you're working with a large space, a small vintage accent piece may get lost.
Balance with Modern Elements: To keep your design feeling fresh and up-to-date, it's important to balance vintage pieces with modern elements. For example, you could pair a vintage rug with contemporary furniture or a vintage mirror with modern artwork.
Repurpose and Reuse: Vintage pieces can often be repurposed and reused in creative ways. For example, an antique dresser could be repurposed as a bathroom vanity, or a vintage ladder could be used as a unique bookshelf.
Embrace Patina: One of the things that makes vintage pieces so special is their patina – the natural wear and tear that occurs over time. Embrace this patina and don't be afraid to leave vintage pieces in their original condition, even if they show signs of age and use.
LINEN + ORCHID is a full-service design studio, focusing on residential projects from furnishings to renovations. We can assist in all aspects of a project from start to finish in pursuit of a design concept that reflects your individual style and personality. Our goal is to transform your house into the home that you love and enjoy.