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Incorporating Vintage Elements in Your Home Design: Dos and Don’ts

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Incorporating Vintage Elements in Your Home Design: Dos and Don’ts
4 min. read
Incorporating Vintage Elements in Your Home Design Dos and Donts 1

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The days of walking into one store and picking out a matching living room set complete with end tables and lamps are behind us. Today’s home design trends are all about creating custom spaces that express your personality and suit your lifestyle.

One of the secrets to creating unique interiors with a look all your own is to combine modern pieces with one-of-a-kind vintage finds. But if not done correctly, adding antiques can sometimes make a space look dated instead of curated. There are a few tricks to successfully mix and match modern decor with vintage treasures.

DO Start with a Plan

Before you start adding vintage finds at random, stop and make a plan for your space. Ideally, you shouldn’t bring anything into your home that doesn’t serve a purpose. A vintage piece for the sake of a vintage piece will look out of place, but a vintage bench where you already need a bench can make a real impact.

Consider your home’s current design style and select a compatible look for your vintage additions. Do you want rustic and weathered artifacts, ornate antiques, or classic retro pieces? Once you choose a style, use this as a guide when hitting up antique shops and garage sales to ensure that everything you bring home will work together.

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DON’T Mix Time Periods

When you’re mixing old and new, one way to avoid a hodge-podge look is to incorporate multiple items from the same era. A Victorian chair may look out of place with a mid-century stool and a gothic lamp. But if all three pieces are from the same time period, it will present a unified look.

For an even more cohesive feeling space, choose pieces that come from the same time period as your home. When you have pieces that complement each other and relate to the home itself, it will create a more consistent look.

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DO Use Smaller Vintage Finds to Add Personality

If you’re not ready to invest in large antiques, try starting with smaller vintage items which can still have a big impact. Smaller pieces that are in good shape are often easier to find and bring in a lot of character. Items such as old-fashioned globes, antique clocks, and vintage suitcases will bring a unique look you won’t find in any other home.

Vintage lighting is another great way to add personality and style without making a space feel dated. From delicate paper lanterns to funky industrial lighting or ornate chandeliers, vintage lighting can run the gamut of styles. Look for fixtures such as pendants and wall sconces that have a lot of personality but are easy to install.

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DO Use Vintage Pieces in Unexpected Ways

If your goal is to create a unique and original space, using your vintage pieces in unexpected ways will provide even more impact. A vintage dresser in the bedroom won’t be a big surprise. But if you bring it into the living room to use it as a TV stand with valuable extra storage, you’ve got a conversation starter.

You can also put old and new items together in unexpected ways to add a bit of contrast and interest.  Pair a vintage desk with a modern office chair or an antique dining table with luxe upholstered seating to get the best of both worlds. Hang an ornate gilded mirror in an ultra-modern bathroom to create a captivating focal point.

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DON’T Buy Pieces That Aren’t in Good Condition

Not all vintage pieces are created equal. You can often find antiques that are better made and more durable than most new furniture. However, old furniture in disrepair should be avoided.

Skip pieces with deep scratches and rust unless you’re ready to put in some work to repair the item. And always test furniture to see if it can hold its intended weight. If you find a wobbly chair you love, first determine what the problem is. If decaying wood is the culprit, it’s best to walk away. But if it just needs a few nails or re-gluing, you should snatch that new treasure.

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Using vintage elements to create beautiful and original interiors will give your home a personal touch you can’t find at a big-box store. For the best results, keep it simple and avoid impulse buys that don’t fit with your overall plan. The goal is a collection of old and new pieces that work together for a space that feels intentional.

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