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, macram√© 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. 

furniture

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.