Hey guys! I hope you all had a FANTASTIC Memorial Day Weekend!! I certainly did. (In case you’ve been under a rock this whole time, I did my first craft fair type event.) It was insanely busy and tiring, but totally awesome.
Anyway, I’m back in the office Tuesday, so I won’t be able to share all the awesome details and photos immediately. However. . . I’ve got an awesome guest post for you all from Liz at Just About Home! I’m excited to share this with you, because Liz has done an amazing job of decorating her home with a good mix of vintage and modern styles. She’s so cool, in fact, that her home made it into an Apartment Therapy feature during the Small Cool Homes contest!
Hi! I’m Liz and I blog over at Just About Home. I’m thrilled that Jane is hosting me as a guest blogger here at The Borrowed Abode! Thanks! I’m talking today about incorporating vintage pieces into your modern home. I hope you learn a few tricks, since this is one of my favorite things to do in my home.
Some designers talk about having a layered home, or a collected home. When all of your furnishings come from IKEA, or West Elm, or any other modern furniture and accessories store, your home can start to look like a catalog. And while that may be nice, you might want to add some personality, some drama! to your space. One of my favorite ways to do this is by layering vintage and antique items with my modern furnishings and accessories. (I’ll let you in on a little secret too: it’s not an expensive way to decorate!)
Here are a few of the ways I’ve incorporated vintage objects into my home for a personalized feel:
Reupholstered or refinished older furniture for a custom look. Many, many blogs highlight tutorials on how to refinish old furniture. Many books were written on this subject before blogs. It’s an old standard, but an always modern option. The lines of a classic chair can be updated with the trendiest fabric for a fresh look. I found the chair below for $10 at a yard sale and recovered it with of-the-moment lattice fabric in current colors. Matched with an equally old mirror from the flea market, it brings some history to my living room that is otherwise outfitted with modern gray couches, an IKEA media cabinet and a flat screen TV.
Emily Henderson of Secrets From A Stylist (of HGTV Design Star fame) is the queen of reupholstery. Pretty much every episode features a couch or chair that has been recovered. I especially love these pink chairs from a recent episode. They have classic lines and ugly ‘before’ shot but stand out as featured pieces in the ‘after’ look. The pink stands out perfectly in a modern living room. (Note the current Ikea curtains in the background!)
Vintage furniture as standalone accent pieces. Vintage and antique furniture doesn’t always need work, and the original design and purpose of the piece can still relate to furniture and accessories that are sold in stores today. It is fun to find trends that repeat and notice the slight differences in styles over time. One of my favorite vintage furniture pieces in my home is my dresser. It was left behind by the previous tenant in my former apartment, and in that Victorian row home it looked way out of place. I was considering painting it a glossy white for a while, but then I moved into my 1960’s ranch house, and the dresser just sang! This was the space it was meant to be in. The chair I got separately, but is also vintage and reupholstered in modern fabric.
Useful vintage items. Shopping for vintage goods is like recycling! Many things, other than furniture, still can be used for their original purpose, like tea towels, kitchen accessories, and lamps. I found a beautiful crystal lamp at an estate sale that I use on my nightstand in my bedroom that goes well with my light and airy Martha Stewart bedding and gifted blue vase. This baby was a steal at $35—you can’t find a nice lamp for that price in stores!
I also use a 60’s ice bucket on the bar. The reflective chrome and round edges play against my Crate and Barrel glassware. A mix of old and new can relate to each other and bring in playfulness, sophistication, or drama!
Vintage pieces as objets d’art. Unlike items that are still useful in their original form, like lamps and ice buckets, some antiques are clearly outdated technology. A typewriter can be turned into art, or a bright colored phone can stand out in a vignette or be the inspiration for a whole room, like in the photo below, from Martha Stewart Living. You may still have a landline, but they are becoming more and more rare. I only have a cell phone and I’d love this phone as a fun object. Old interesting manual kitchen tools, garden tools, or textiles framed or hung on the wall make great art!
So now that you’re sold on layering vintage into your décor, I have a few tips on where to find antiques when you don’t have benjamins to spend. Here are a few places to look:
- Your mom’s /grandma’s/aunt’s basement. That old lamp that has been sitting there since before you were born? Vintage! Ask nicely and I bet they’ll loan it or give it to you. I recently bought a teak lamp at an antique fair from the ‘60’s that my mom said looked like one her family brought to Goodwill—in the 60’s. She may hate it, but I love it!
- Craigslist. Search ‘vintage’ plus whatever you are looking for. It will bring up lots of stuff. In fact, in the Bay Area listings, I get 385 results for “vintage chair”. Type in a keyword, like ‘Eames’ or ‘Hollywood Regency’, and you’re more than likely to find something that would work well for your space and taste.
- eBay and etsy. These sites have slightly higher prices, but you can get very specific and high-quality pieces. Lots of collectors troll eBay for the exact piece they’re looking for.
- Antique fairs, flea markets, and estate sales. Bargain shopping! You almost never have to pay the listed price, but don’t insult vendors by offing something obviously too low. While you’re there you can check out new styles that you might not have looked into otherwise. 70’s boho? I thought I was too classic for that, but now I’ve seen Suzani and Missoni and Ikat textiles and am loving the look!
Thank you so much, Liz, for sharing these fantastic tips for mixing vintage pieces into even the most modern of homes. And readers, be sure to hop over to Just About Home for more shots of Liz’s home, especially her fabulous kitchen renovation!