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How to Incorporate Vintage Furniture into a Modern Home


Some of the modern trends we see in interior design involve furniture pieces constructed with monochromatic colors and lighter woods. The modern aesthetic is an effortlessly elegant look, with some furniture pieces even appearing futuristic. So how does vintage furniture, with its dark woods and ornate carvings, stay relevant? And how can we tie in vintage pieces with modern furniture in a way that doesn't jar or clash with your modern aesthetics?

Start Small

If you already have a modern aesthetic in your home but want to tie in some vintage pieces, start with smaller accents like accent chairs, mirrors, tables, plant stands, footstools, or even display shelves. Since accent chairs are made to draw the eye and make a room more interesting, you can have a vintage accent chair customized to match your modern furniture and then place it in a picturesque corner of your living room. You could also consider using it in a living room or your bedroom, or even beside your favorite bookshelf in your home office. By doing so, you'll seamlessly tie in a piece of vintage furniture with the rest of your home without drawing the wrong kind of attention to the vintage piece and creating a unique space.

Mirrors are another subtle way to tie two styles in a room together, though some vintage mirrors are large enough to work as stylish statement pieces. When an antique mirror is placed in the right spot and finished with the right stain, it adds an air of regal elegance to even the most modern home and, like all mirrors, can even help make a smaller space seem bigger.

Side tables are generally quiet pieces of furniture, especially in living rooms, where entertainment centers and sofas attract the most attention. It's the understated nature of an antique side table that blends modern and vintage styles seamlessly. Because side tables don't draw a lot of attention, you should consider using a vintage coffee table if you'd like a piece that catches the eye instead. You can also have the best of both worlds by purchasing a vintage side table and a vintage coffee table in matching styles.

Perhaps the simplest way to incorporate vintage furniture into a modern home is by decorating a space (or multiple spaces) with plant stands. Plant stands aren't meant to draw attention to themselves but rather to the flowers or greenery they display. These accent pieces fit into nearly any décor and can be found in all manner of designs from simple to conversation pieces, making plant stands a great place to start when you get the first urge to include vintage pieces in your home.

Antique wall shelves are similar to plant stands in that they weren't created to draw attention to themselves but rather to whatever you display. However, shelves might garner a little more attention simply because they sit higher than most plant stands, generally at eye level. By choosing the right wood or design that blends well with your more modern aesthetic, your antique shelves will be praised for their intricate details and flawless finishes. Beyond the function they provide, they can be as eye-catching as the art or items you choose to display.

Antique wooden footstools can garner about the same amount of attention as coffee tables. Footstools typically sit by a couch or an accent chair, and because people more actively use them, they will notice the details of your footstool a bit more than they'll notice the details on a plant stand or side-table. For that reason, it's important to choose upholstered footstools with fabric colors that don't clash with the colors in your living room, and ideally, that might match the accent chair you couple it with, unless you plan on redecorating the entire space to match your vintage furniture piece.

Statement Pieces

If you're not as much interested in subtlety as you are in placing one or two large vintage statement pieces in a room, consider vintage sofas, armoires, bookcases, and entertainment centers. Splurging on one vintage sofa to match your modern living room is a bold move that pays off; it shows your unique tastes without giving up a living room that seems put-together. With the right fabrics and wood, a vintage sofa or love seat in an otherwise modern living room can showcase your eclectic taste and sophisticated style in a way your guests will appreciate.

Armoires are some of the most imposing pieces of furniture any vintage reproduction enthusiast can own, making them great statement pieces. Though armoires are traditionally placed in bedrooms for extra clothing storage, you can also use an armoire as a talking piece in your living room or dining room.

When you want a dash of Old World in your modern office or study, a vintage bookcase can suit your specific tastes and needs. Use the bookcase to store all your favorite novels and reference books or find a more creative way to use it by turning its shelves into a modern in-home coffee bar. However, a bookcase can easily be an accent piece in a living room and, coupled with a few unique pieces or well-worn books, can become a conversation piece in its own right.

Because entertainment centers typically display televisions, it's one of the pieces of furniture in your living room that garners the most attention. Suppose the rest of your living room is modern. In that case, an ornate, intricately carved entertainment center can bring an air of sophistication to your space, whether you'd like a large, imposing entertainment center or one that is small but functional.

The easiest way to make sure your vintage furniture pieces match the rest of your home is to have your vintage furniture customized by wood stain and fabric color, either by good luck looking for the perfect piece or through reproduction. Custom reproductions can help by relieving the stress and stylistic limitations of only choosing vintage furniture pieces that already match your home. Don't limit yourself to a very small range of color and options, as even the smallest amount of color can breathe life into the modern aesthetic's often monochrome palette.

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