One of the most common questions we hear at One Kings Lane is along the lines of “How can I incorporate vintage pieces into my existing decor?” The good news: There’s no right or wrong way.
Of course, that means there’s no magic formula either. However, the guidelines below will help you create a “something old, something new” space that you’ll love. And should you want to, say, integrate chinoiserie chic into your modern home or bold colors into a neutral space, these tips will come in handy for that too.
Decorate Around One Special Piece
Afraid that having a lone antique item will stick out among your newer furnishings like Great Dane among a litter of Chihuahuas? Make the most of the contrast (after all, both Great Danes and Chihuahuas are delightful in their own ways). Think of the surrounding contemporary pieces as a frame spotlighting your vintage find. The greater the differences between the new and the old pieces, the more dramatic the vignette.
Of course, not everybody wants their home to be dramatic. For a more subtle take, highlight what the old and the new have in common: a color palette, perhaps, or materials or silhouettes. This will create a harmonious effect, with the differences taking a back seat to the similarities. Which segues to…
Antiques do bring a sense of ancestry, but I think a lot of it has to do with something that says ‘hello’ to you and you fall in love with it... There’s always a place for something.
Play Up a Theme
Many of the best collections feature items of various provenances and periods that address one specific theme. A gallery wall might consist solely of depictions of roses, from colorful 19th-century oil paintings to black-and-white 21st-century photographs. A collection of lettuceware could include antiques, vintage favorites, and contemporary reproductions. And that’s good: The magic is the medley.
In fact, segregating your old from your new is pretty much the only mistake one can make. Imagine if that gallery wall of roses placed all the paintings by Renoir and van Gogh on one side and all the photographs by Irving Penn and Robert Mapplethorpe on the other. The display would feel not just awkward but discordant, as if the paintings and the photos were playing for opposing teams.
Mix and Mingle
When creating a beautifully balanced room of antiques, vintage, and contemporary furnishings, don’t think like a wedding usher (“Guests of the bride to the left, guests of the groom to the right”). Go ahead and place minimalist dining chairs around a rococo centuries-old table in the same room in which your grandmother’s Spode china is interspersed among your novelty salt-and-pepper shakers in a farmhouse-style cabinet.
In the end, your furnishings, whether modern-day or vintage, need to have just one thing in common: You need to love them. So long as they share that, they’re all but certain to play together gorgeously.