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How to combine vintage and modern furniture in the interior

Interiors tell stories, keep memories, unite eras and can look balanced, even if you add the most unexpected ingredients to the “recipe”.

Vintage things, remembering our grandmothers’ childhood or those found in the treasuries of antique stores and flea markets, can harmoniously coexist with the hottest trends, collections of modern designers and practical mass-market. Here’s how to make them work together.

Styling

One way to twin retro with modern is to make vintage items the main protagonists of the interior, and all the rest of the furniture and decorations pick up under them. Nowadays it is an easy task. To assemble an interior in the style of a certain era, it is not necessary to hunt for rare items at auctions, or to arrange excavations in attics.

Contemporary designers are actively nostalgic for bygone eras, regularly reviving them in their collections and projects: glamorous art deco from the roaring ’20s, practical mid-senchuried modern on thin lacquered legs, relaxed hippie era and bold Memphis from the ’80s are all relevant and relatively easy to access now.

Characteristic styles from bygone decades are constantly traveling through time and appearing on the trend list. This year the most fashionable trend is the ’70s: terrazzo texture, rounded furniture, corduroy upholstery, macramé and other signs of the hippie decade are massively present in designer collections. Authentic vintage of the period will feel good in such company.

Striving for one hundred percent conformity to a particular era is not necessary, after all, we are not talking about an art production in a movie, but about a residential interior. 

Contrast

A mix of styles and eras in one interior has every right to look contrasting. And the sharper and more noticeable the contrast, the better. The most relevant technique at the moment: take a simple, solid interior base and expressive accents. By solid base we mean a neutral finish and modern interior minimalism, and by expressive accents – accentuated non-residential furniture and accessories. 

If you want to beat the vintage sofa, add contrasts in the form of cushions with modern prints. Put modern tableware in a vintage sideboard, or misuse it at all – for example, to store hats. Surround an antique homestead wooden table with modern chairs – all to make it clear that you’re only playing with retro.

As always, the key is the right proportions. The abundance of vintage can squeeze the air out of the space, turning it into an antique shop. Use retro elements as condiments.

Making furniture shapes from different eras come together is a challenge; it’s easier with accessories. The more minimalist the interior, the more interesting a vintage object will look in it. In an abode of glass and concrete perfectly fit “beaten by time” wooden stool. On the shelves of minimalist kitchens with smooth fronts without handles vintage utensils will take root. Faded carpet will lie beautifully on the stone floor or porcelain tiles, it is desirable that the furniture and other accessories in the room looked emphasized modern, then the contrast will look like a deliberate decision, and the carpet will not seem like a random relic of bygone times. 

The principle is simple: the cozy vintage contrasts with the modern technological. In such a contrast, retro things seem even more “alive”.

Especially brave ones can hang a nostalgic carpet on the wall. But it is better not to pull this trick in a classic interior among the massive wooden furniture – it may look too Soviet. 

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Recycling

Sometimes we want to nestle a vintage piece in the interior not only because of its aesthetic or practical qualities, but simply because it is memorable. Some of these items can no longer be used for their intended purpose, but you can always give them a new life. 

Your grandfather’s vintage suitcases can become a bedside table.A three-liter jar, in which grandma rolled cucumbers, can be used as a colorful vase. Do not be afraid to fit such a seemingly unsightly accessory into a modern interior, the main thing is to pick him the right neighbors.

Old boards that have already lived the life of a rustic fence or the wall of a private house can be used as screens for radiators, decorative panels or bed headboard cladding. Window trim will turn into a frame, Dad’s bicycle into a creative coat rack. And such things as a samovar, kerosene lamp, typewriter or gramophone and did not need to look for alternative uses, they can be seen purely as decorative objects. 

Vintage and modern things can look like forced neighbors, to turn their cohabitation into a thoughtful interior, you need a concept.

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Fashionable vintage: 15 simple ways to age furniture, textiles and accessories

Retro motifs in the interior – at the peak of popularity. You, too, can bring them into your surroundings, and it’s not too difficult to do it with your own hands.

1. Painting with a worn-out effect

The most common way to paint your furniture to create a vintage effect is to first apply a layer of contrasting paint, and after it dries, rub it with a candle (the most common one) on the ledges, corners and other places where you want to see scuffs and the effect of the peeling from time. Then cover the item in the base color, allow to dry and go over the areas rubbed with a candle with a spatula or fine sandpaper. The top layer of paint is easy to remove, exposing the contrasting “substrate.

A tip: if your furniture is dark and you decided to repaint it in a light color (or vice versa: the furniture is light and the new planned look is dark), you can omit applying a contrasting “undercoat”.

2. Wax tinting.

To give furniture and accessories an aged look, you can also use waxes. The effect is especially noticeable if the surface has ledges and recesses, or if it is rather textured in itself. Depending on the desired effect, you may want to see a more pronounced effect, but choose a more contrasting one. 

For the tinting process, you can combine several waxes for a more interesting result.

3. Stencils

Using a stencil (ready-made or homemade), you can apply a vintage inscription or a distinctive pattern to furniture or an accessory to give the item a retro look.

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4. Dry Brush Method

Another method for paint lovers is dry-brush painting. Pick a color that contrasts with the base color – and with an almost dry brush, go over the projections and edges with light tapping motions, simulating scuffs and scratches. 

5. Adding Filler Paint

By adding filler to the paint (often quartz is used), you can create a peeling effect in places. Apply the filler paint and after it has dried, gently scrape away the excess with a spatula. However, if you like textured protrusions on the surface of the object, you can not knock them down, it also looks original.

6. Physical Damage

The method is especially good for antiquing wooden furniture, boards, and storage boxes. If you want to physically damage the object, make it look as if it has been physically damaged, beat it with a hammer, scratch it with nails. You can make a mallet out of plywood and self-tapping screws and tap it on the surface to imitate pest-eaten wood.

7. Liquid metals

Liquid metals and oxidizing agents can turn even an object that just came off the assembly line into a vintage object.

8. Moldings

Add a retro touch to your furniture and accessories with moldings by painting them the same color as your object and then gluing them to the surface.

If a gap develops between the molding and the surface, use filler, and when dry, paint the joint.

9. Changing the upholstery

By changing the upholstery of a sofa, chair or chair with retro-style textiles, you will give the furniture a more vintage look.

10. Vintage details

You can add vintage details to an item (or replace existing pieces with other pieces) and its look will instantly change. A pedestal from a Singer sewing machine will turn even the most modern table into a retro piece. Antique fittings can easily transform your furniture, boxes or storage boxes.

11. Paste for volumetric decor

In the assortment of construction stores and in stores with goods for creativity you will find a special paste for creating volumetric decor.

With its help, you can use a stencil and a spatula to create a three-dimensional drawing on the surface of an object, giving it an antique feel.

12. Uneven staining

Is there an artist in you? Give him free rein: deliberately uneven staining is another great way to age your furniture. At once it seems as if the object has been painted and repainted more than once, and its history is counted in decades.

LIFT: For a more pronounced effect, this technique can be combined with others. For example, apply a contrasting undertones or imitate dents and scratches.

13. Tinting with Tea

Textiles and paper can be aged by tinting with strong tea or coffee.

14. Tinting with diluted wood paint

If you stain natural wood and boards with well-diluted (to the consistency of a stain) paint, you are guaranteed a vintage effect.

Tip: You can pre-burn the wood (of course, if it is not painted and varnished) portable torch and go through the metal brush along the fibers, so the effect will be much more pronounced.

15. Decoupage

A simple, proven by many craftswomen way to give an object a vintage spirit is decoupage. By the way, it is not necessary to hunt for special tissues, you can print the image on a laser printer and briefly soak it in warm water before applying it to the surface.

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What is retro furniture style

Retro style – unique in its essence in the interior. Why? Because it is never outdated and always fascinates with the combination of grace and contrast! Complicated in simplicity – this is about retro.

But where is the boundary that separates the retro from the vintage? Which style can really be considered retro? What good is a retro style? And why the retro style renovation – is not only beautiful but also beneficial?

Let’s find out?

What is retro and what can this style be?

Retro is quite a broad concept, in which it is very easy to get confused. Music, clothing and interiors in this style can be interpreted in different ways. Some people say that retro is something that is older than 30-50 years. Others say that retro is the 1930s and 1950s. And others attribute the concept of “retro” to the second half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. Where is the truth?

We will not argue with the opinions, and consider the broadest understanding of style – it originated in the 1850s. Then it was not quite retro, but retro, strongly seasoned Rococo: pleats, ruffles, curved candlesticks and gilding. But the very form of objects is already getting more strict and simple forms. The interior is dominated by light neutral or dark deep shades in combination with gilding. Wall decorations are characteristic: paintings in wooden frames, wallpaper and trellises with gilding.

To get a good idea of such an interior, visit the museum with the interior of a pre-revolutionary noble family. There is a very good transition from complex Rococo forms to simpler and clearer, but at the same time there are bright elements of chic French style.

If we talk about timing, retro style for a while frozen, stopped in development and up to the 1950s almost unchanged. The reason for this is the war, which made people forget about aesthetics. But after its end people who were tired of asceticism, deprivation and lack of bright colors made a real revolution in style. Here begins the heyday of retro, revealing its essence and character.

If you’ve seen the movie “Stilyagi”, then you can imagine how retro was realized in ordinary living spaces. And if we talk about elaborate repair in the style of retro – it is already vinyl records, Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe. Sleek lines, elements of gloss, strict and thoughtful forms – it’s all retro. Simplicity is combined with laconic glamour, and retro acquires its characteristic look, still beloved by many for its refinement, thoughtfulness and absence of unnecessary details. What is called “firm”!

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Important elements: Retro walls, prints and decorations

The modern retro style is made today materials and furniture, stylized as the products of that time. Some of the requirements of this style are high quality materials, good finishes, neat workmanship. It is for this reason that retro can be confused with vintage. However, vintage is a style that implies not stylized, but original elements of the time. In other words, if you can buy furniture, wallpaper or other items in the retro style in a regular store, then the vintage items in their majority will be sold in an antique store.

Bright (sometimes to the point of acidity) colors in combination with precise, absolutely thought-out lines of furniture or drawings. No picture frames, abstract color or black and white prints, lacquered surfaces and gloss. These can be attributed to the main features of retro, which is still popular today. For a standard apartment in a high-rise building, this is one of the universal style choices. If you love vintage, you know that styles that are from earlier periods require breadth and scope. And that’s what we all tend to be limited in.

You might say that retro is a kind of elaborate chic. Beauty is where you can afford it, and no more. For example, the walls can be painted with monochrome paint or wallpapered with a small or medium repetitive pattern. A lot of finishing elements is not about retro. Here it’s more of a play with color and lines. Contrasts in color are combined with soft roundness of lines, the atmosphere of a soldier’s barracks meets joyful colored prints.

Interesting accents in the retro style are curtains and paintings. The former are not without rococo influence. And this means that curtains can be of heavy, satin or translucent fabric, but necessarily with soft drapery, laid with large or medium ruffles. The very essence of the style here is the thoughtfulness of each fold. Hence the impression of chic.

As for wall decorations – pictures without frames, there are often portraits with interesting and bright color combinations, characteristic font: clear, with smoothed lines. The style of paintings – printed on a color printer, and no realism.

Chandeliers in the retro style are also laconic and simple forms. They can be light or colored (again, contrast and alternation of colors) and even minimalist in their design.

The good news is that retro is not too demanding on wall finishes. It’s all about the elements with which they will be decorated. Gramophone, records from it, paintings, carpets with short pile and abstract neat lines and even waffle towels instead of the analog from microfiber and will make the right impression of the room.

Retro style furniture

Requirements for furniture – the same alignment and severity of forms. But, it must be said, it can also manifest itself in unusual forms: elongated chair backs, round seats and asymmetry. But the most important thing is the impression of completeness.

Another important feature is the quality of the furniture. Retro is often wood, the lack of luster of fittings, stability and durability. Therefore, if you prefer this style in the interior, you make quite a profitable investment. High-quality materials last for decades, and the retro style (which is already actually antique) does not lose relevance over time.

A good substitute for expensive wood are three-layer chipboard and deep milled MDF. With quality workmanship, these materials create things comparable to durable wood.

Metal is also present in the frame of furniture: chairs, beds, tables. Closets are more chests of drawers and sideboards on legs rather than full-wall closets. Good fittings are the key to the “health” of furniture. And for retro it is especially important, because moving metal parts of poor quality quickly lose their look and performance. And if you do not know which style to choose, if you doubt your information savvy, if you want practical advice and high-quality work, contact a consultant from “Angstrem”. Any questions about the interior, furniture and the quality of materials, as well as ordering work from one of the largest holdings with a good reputation. A good choice, isn’t it?

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What is the difference between vintage and antique furniture

For most people, far from the professional world of design, vintage and antique furniture are synonymous words. It is something bright and clean from our childhood, the time of our parents and grandparents. Things that evoke nostalgia. At the same time, there is a significant difference between the antique furniture and vintage style.

What is the fundamental difference between antique furniture and vintage

If in a nutshell, it’s in the time frame. Although in both styles we surround ourselves with elements of the past in order to immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of a bygone era, but in the case of antique furniture it is the stylistic features, form and color scheme typical of the 50s-80s of the 20th century.

Vintage can cover the whole of the last century. Including such significant for the development of fashion and design epochs as the twenties of the 20th century and the pre-war period. But we can also call things from the 50s and 60s vintage. Items that are more than a century old are called antiques.

However, for each area of fashion, design and decor there are nuances. For example, clothing older than 50 years is already considered antique, and younger than 15 years – modern. Those made from 1915 to 50-60s are considered vintage. And in different countries the time range can be different.

Age is not the main thing!

Can we call antique furniture and vintage the style of the 90s? From that time many people for sure have such archaic things as cassette players and tape recorders, radios, CRTs, VCRs, push-button phones, tableware, souvenirs.

If we approach formally, vintage is defined as objects and style over 30 and under 100 years old. However, depending on the application, the upper limit may be 20 or 40 years. Antique furniture style formally has no clear time limit. In this case, they should have a bright distinguishing features of the historical period, which they represent.

That is, age is not the main criterion. Things can be vintage up to the end of the twentieth century, if they are recognizable and stand out against the background of contemporary fashion. And at the same time “gray” impersonal items have no historical and artistic value, no matter how old they are.

Materials used

The term “vintage” is borrowed from the world of winemaking, where so called aged noble wines. As a rule, these are objects made of wood, stone, natural textiles, cane, rattan, with brass or bronze as accessories. When recreating antique furniture style in interior design, natural materials are also used.

On the other hand, the antique furniture style has its roots in the era of popularized space travel and the boom of the chemical industry. In the ’50s and ’70s, plastic, textiles made of synthetic fibers and synthetic leather were widely used. That is, synthetics in a certain combination is not only allowed, but also welcomed.

In contrast to the charm full of vintage items with a clear imprint of antiquity and traces of the impact of time, antique furniture-style likes bold, catchy, bright, lacquered, smooth surfaces.

A world of color

The difference between the two styles is clearly visible in the color scheme. Vintage tends toward old-fashioned elegance, romantic charm, restraint, creating peace of mind and harmony. The most suitable colors are white, beige, sandy, gray-blue, pale pink, cream and other pastel tones.

Antique furniture-style is much more straightforward. He “likes” provocative, bold and vivid colors. Since the early 50s previously unpopular brown, green, orange, ochre-yellow tones were actively used. In the 60s the color scheme became quite screaming. Bubble-gum style came into vogue.

Developing at that time aesthetics of hippie movement and dissemination of Andy Warhol’s art direction, sharp contrasts and strong colors preferred by pop art played their role in this.

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Shape and Style

Vintage is associated with carved frames, wooden ceiling beams, antique mirrors, glass or porcelain vases, lace tablecloths, small decorative statuettes.

Priority is given to functionality, not fashion. Minimalism is not in vogue. Chic big curtains, a bed with a canopy, a fur rug in front of the fireplace are typical and appropriate.

For antique furniture, style is important. As the historical period coincided with the technological revolution, industrialism, minimalism, futuristic and space themes are in fashion.

Motifs

Patterns of home textiles and wallpaper are strictly separated in these two directions, reminiscent of past trends. Antique furniture “prefers” geometric shapes, and vintage is associated with plant and floral motifs.