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Mixing Antique Styles in Your Living Space

Grey paint and paintbrush with painted furniture

While walking through an antique store, you spot the most beautiful dining table. It's unique, ornate, and the exact style you want for your space. You walk over to it. You ooh and ahh, running your hands over every curve. There's just one problem: it doesn't fit with anything you own. So what now? It's the perfect piece, a forever piece, but do you buy a beautiful antique that doesn't work with the rest of your furniture? The good news for you and your table is that mixing styles can be done! Experts agree, mixing styles should be done! Adding that elegant antique table to your collection may just be easier than you thought.

Statement and Accent Pieces

This giant dining table is your statement piece. When you invest in a large piece of ornate furniture, it should dominate your space. The rest of the room should be built around it. To offset its boldness, consider filling the rest of the space with smaller, more streamlined pieces. Instead of heavy wooden dining chairs, try an ultra-modern chair in a bright color. Instead of a hefty curio cabinet, bring in a 70s-style bar cart for function and design. Let that beautiful piece draw every eye.

Maybe you're not quite ready for furniture that dictates the whole room. That's ok. Instead, focus on accent pieces. Accent pieces are smaller, less audacious items to layer around your space, from a chair to a cabinet to an end table. The great thing about accent pieces is that you aren't limited to one large item. Too many statement pieces will overwhelm a room, but you can build up quite a collection of accent furniture before it becomes too much.

Form v Function

Now you have bought your furniture, but what do you do with it in your space? Arranging mixed antique styles can be daunting. Luckily, there are a few rules of thumb to help guide you.

Bulkier items like to hug the wall. For those heavy, ornate pieces, it's often better to place them near the room's outer edges. There they take up less visual space and allow the room to feel more open. Lighter pieces are comfortably sprinkled near bulky items. This allows the furniture to play off of each other and create balance throughout.

For even more visual interest, mix curves and lines. Place more modern pieces with stark lines next to pieces with beautiful curves. This contrast of shapes tells the eye what to focus on, and will also help keep your design from feeling dated. Simply put, mix and match. Don't place all the modern pieces near one another while the antiques are in a separate corner. Let them mingle!

Refinishing What You Have

You may think refinishing vintage furniture will diminish its value. While that may be true of some antique furniture, it isn't true of everything. Many antique pieces do hold their value, but just as many have fallen out of style. All they need is a creative eye to bring life back in. With a few changes, you can create your own statement piece from a shabby thrift store find.

Bring in new textiles; fabrics can age furniture quickly. That  could make your space look out of touch. Instead of throwing that piece out, reupholster it. Choose fabrics that contrast the form of your furniture. For example, a fabric with curves and circles adds a touch of softness to a chair with stark lines. To bring cohesion, consider letting a common color palette run through all textiles in the room.

New colors are an easy way to liven up a poorly aged piece. Painting furniture can be tricky, but it creates something completely unique. Choose a palette that compliments the rest of the room, which we will discuss more later, and watch it transform your piece into something brand new! If your furniture is wooden, use a wood stain to change your room. Staining something in a lighter color will brighten your space and make the piece feel less bulky. Staining it darker could create a statement piece to build your room around. Remember when refinishing to do your research before diving in. Painting, staining, and reupholstering can be challenging, but it will create a piece all your own. Your friends will be amazed when you tell them you did it yourself.

Color Unity

Even after purchasing, arranging, and refinishing your pieces, they still may not feel cohesive in a room. One critically important element is color, which can pull disparate pieces together to form one charming space. There are many ways to go about color. We'll discuss a few options you can incorporate to use color to your advantage.

Many design styles focus on a single color throughout the space. Picture a shabby chic design; this style uses minimal tones to create a clean look. Many of them pull shades of cream across a room, creating a united look from a single color. This can be done with furniture, accessories, or both. Other color styles focus on one or two vibrant shades while keeping other colors neutral. An antique emerald couch with modern emerald accent chairs might be bold but works perfectly with a cream-colored wall and accessories. This will pull focus to those pieces without making the room feel too bright. Still another way to go is choosing one main hue but working with multiple tones. Think of a paint sample card. It has a main color, but with varying shades. If you find a color you love, try using darker or lighter versions of that color as you accessorize. Putting thought into the color in your space will make it feel designed like a pro.

Remember that creating your dream space is all about balance. Balance curves and lines, color, and heavy and light pieces. Ask yourself, how do you want this space to feel? Maybe you'd like it to feel peaceful or exciting, young or vintage. Whatever that emotion is, let it run through your space. You'll find that mixing antique pieces into your home isn't so hard after all.

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