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Monday, September 27, 2010

Gracefully Blending the Old and New


It is a rainy day here in New Jersey, but a great day for writing to all of you.

Many people wonder how they can blend antique items with their new decor.  What they may not realize is that antiques actually tend to soften a contemporary decor.  Antiques work well when combined with traditional, French, or other styles.  Each antique item represents a piece of history and has a story that goes with it.

It can be exciting to use your imagination to come up with other ways to use vintage furniture.  An element in common between the new and vintage furniture can help pull a room together.  For instance, you might repeat the wood color of the antique pieces in the new pieces.  Antique accessories also make interesting topics for conversation, especially when used in different ways.  In this family room photo, an antique school desk makes a fabulous end table.  The color of the wood in the desk blends well with the sofa and the color in the pillows and quilt.

Contrast can make antiques look their best.  For example, you might use an antique dining room table with new upholstered chairs.  This can look terrific, not to mention the chairs are more comfortable.  The dining chairs that go with the antique table can be used as side chairs in other rooms.

Try using an heirloom quilt with a modern sheet set in the bedroom.  Antique baskets are as great for storage on a new wall unit as are the new baskets on the market now.  Repurposing antiques may also make use of "parts" remaining from antique items.  In this example, the base and treddle from a vintage sewing machine now form the base of a terrific table.

Centerpieces made with antiques can be delightful.  A bowl can be used on a table to display a collection, such as antique door knobs or vintage glass ornaments during the holidays.  Try using a dough box on a large table to fill with flowers.  This centerpiece was made by my sister Lisa with a beautiful yellow-ware bowl.

Antique photographs or letters from your family members may be framed and hung on the wall or placed on a shelf.  Other art can be made by framing a crocheted doily against the backdrop of a cloth napkin, or try hanging one or more plates as artwork.  You can also try vintage frames on new art.  Some antique enthusiasts hang a row of door knobs on the wall to use as coat hooks.

Besides using contrast, you can create an interesting display of accessories such as a single color grouping of glass.  I do this with cobalt blue glass bottles and vases.  You might display a collection of green depression glassware or of vintage white ironstone pitchers.  If you buy and use what you like you will never be disappointed.  One rule of design you might try following is to group items in odd numbers, which surprisingly is more visually appealing.

Your selection of window treatments and area rugs can also help pull together a room with different periods of furniture and accessories.

The blend of homey antiques with a more modern group of furnishings is eclectic and tells a story of who YOU are!  Be confident when you combine the old and new, as this creates a richness and depth to your home environment.  So get that imagination going and start blending the old with the new!  Please comment on this post and share your ideas with me and my other readers.


1 comment:

  1. Growing up I had a small school desk like the one in the photos above. My parents and I stained the desk to match the wood with the other newer pieces of furniture in my room. I used it as a nightstand next to my bed! Perfect size for a small lamp and a book or glass of water at bedtime.