INTERIOR DESIGN: TIPS FOR MIXING VINTAGE AND LUXURY PIECES

by | Nov 28, 2022 | Interior Design, Real Estate

You’re likely familiar with the grandmillennial interior decorating trend, otherwise affectionately known as “granny chic.” This home decor style has been trending for some time, beloved for its warm, cozy look and familiar feel.

Related: 6 tips for staging your condo to make it look luxe

The latest iteration of these departed designs is making a comeback among modern luxury spaces, where old meets new, vintage meets luxury, and it’s all premium.

Vintage versus luxury

What’s the deal with this dichotomy of styles? While the two appear to be complete opposites on the surface, vintage and luxury are actually closer than you might think. Both are characterized by quality construction and materials, thoughtful details and longevity. Given the higher price point, you likely are purchasing these items for the long run.

Aesthetically speaking, luxury and vintage are certainly headed in opposite directions on the style spectrum, so use this contrast to your advantage. Here’s how to combine pieces from each class.

Interior design vintage pieces: Start with one

Depending on your taste for vintage furniture or if you’re just dipping your toe into the vintage pool for the first time, this is a good strategy. Start by adding one antique piece into a room that would otherwise be classified as modern. Choose a large-scale piece with a vintage vibe and let it stand alone as the focal point in the room.

For example, a contemporary-style office with a solid-wood antique desk. In this case, the desk won’t detract from the modernity of the room but would instead become a feature in its own right. Leaning into those stylistic differences will not only accentuate the vintage piece itself, but also help highlight the high points of the surrounding environment.

Follow the 80-20 Rule

If you’ve collected or inherited a few vintage pieces but aren’t sure how to integrate them with their modern-luxury counterparts, the 80-20 ratio is a good rule of thumb to achieve balance. The 80-20 ratio dictates that approximately 80 per cent of the space would reflect the dominant style of the space (in this case, modern luxury) while the remaining 20 per cent would be reserved for your vintage furniture and accents.

The trick to this rule is to commit to one design period – Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern or 1960s-1970s Retro. A great look is pairing unalike pieces, such as a contemporary chair with a vintage desk.

Give your vintage a modern makeover

Refresh your vintage pieces to better suit the existing luxury tone to the house, such as repainting or reupholstering them to complement your current suite of furnishings. Before you gasp in sheer horror at the thought of refinishing that 100-year-old antique inherited from your great grandmother, know that showing it a little love might actually increase its value.

If you’re the proud owner of a particularly valuable piece of furniture, I recommend employing the services of a professional with experience in this type of restoration. Alternatively, go out on a limb and make it ultra-modern, such as a classic armchair with a bold, geometric upholstery to usher it into the 21st Century. If you’re not sold on updating the piece itself, consider dressing it up with a complementary-coloured pillow, throw or a tabletop accessory to tie the various elements in the room together.

Focus on lighting

Lighting is a great way to add a vintage vibe to a modern space. That’s because lighting often doubles as art, by way of its emotive and expressive shapes, colours and broader visual impact. The right lighting becomes an instant focal point and can be a subtle yet effective way to infuse a little vintage flair.

For example take an antique chandelier or vintage sconces, put them in a modern room and turn them on – an instant attention-grabber! Lighting is also a great way to really push your style boundaries, with more freedom to push it, since it’s also viewed as art.

Blending vintage and luxury pieces can be tricky, but it’s certainly not impossible. Aside from these tips above, the only other rule is to choose and use pieces that you love. It’s your home and should be a reflection of your style, your interests and your inclinations. It’s literally all about you, so ultimately, if it feels right then who’s gonna tell you it’s not?

Red Barrinuevo is the Principal Designer at Redesign4More, and an award-winning property stylist and interior decorator based in Toronto, who also appears on HGTV Canada’s Hot Market series.

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