The old adage “out with the old, in with the new” doesn’t exactly apply to one of 2023’s top interior trends. In fact, designers are taking a new approach to contemporary interiors by embracing the old. A tasteful blend of seemingly aged interiors and modern aesthetics can create a cozy, well rounded look that contrasts the picture-perfect homes that dominated the design space for the last several years. Mixing modern and antique décor is the perfect way to experiment with various design styles and portray your personality within your space.
Rather than delving straight into how to mix and match modern and antique décor, let’s discuss some components of what antique home décor might look like. When we say “antique,” we’re referring to the aesthetic of something, although genuine antiques would look amazing!
Nothing exudes old-world charm like a beautifully intricate Turkish rug. It doesn’t have to be from the bazaars of Istanbul to look great in your home, either! There are plenty of affordable options online that can ship straight to your home. Popular home décor stores have even begun to stock their shelves with rugs that feature detailed, Middle Eastern-inspired patterns as well. Wherever you find your woven goods, if you want the look of a Turkish or Persian carpet, browse for a color scheme that matches or tastefully contrasts your décor.
Brass Finishes and Décor
Metals like copper and brass lend a unique charm because unlacquered brass pieces patina over time, creating a genuine worn look like a badge of honor for your space. Thrift shops are a great place to look for authentic brass and copper pieces, and they may already be worn in for you! Measuring cups, utensil holders, mixing bowls, catch-all dishes, and sculptural pieces are all items you can regularly find in secondhand shops.
You know those homes that resemble your grandma’s living room or a coastal cottage dream but still have that wow factor? That is usually the work of some beautiful wallpaper! Channel a charming Victorian or cottagecore abode by applying chinoiserie, floral print, or vintage wallpaper on an accent wall or across an entire room. Got a rental space? No worries, just use a self-adhesive option that can peel off when it’s time to move out!
Lamps and Light Fixtures
The right sconce, pendant light, or lamp can add the perfect finishing touch to your home, and an antique revival motif is all about character. When looking for inspiration, take to your favorite era! In the mid-1800s, sconces and lighting fixtures were very ornate with brass detail. The 1920s saw art deco-inspired lighting fixtures, while the 1950s were all about minimal, mod aesthetics. So, choose your favorite time period and roll with it!
Renter friendly hack: There are tons of cool lights to choose from online that you don’t even need to hardwire. From puck lights to self-adhesive pieces, there are plenty of hacks to try when it comes to installing lighting fixtures in temporary spaces.
You can’t get much more antique than a stone bust or aged vessel. While sourcing actual antique pieces from local markets is both sustainable and very cool, it can get pricey. Luckily, most home goods stores have faux stone and affordable authentic stone pieces on hand. Whether you spring for a travertine-topped side table, raw-cut dough bowl, or second-hand bust of William Shakespeare, sneaking stone pieces into your space can give it a delightfully antique look while keeping up with modern trends.
Just because your furniture or décor is brand new doesn’t mean it can’t look the part of an antique treasure! Don’t feel like playing the waiting game or browsing the aisles of the thrift store? Opt for pieces that are purposely distressed, like a wood dining table, cutting board, or bench. Rustic finishes go hand-in-hand with some modern design motifs that are trending right now, like Japandi, Scandi, and coastal.
While there’s an undeniable charm about antique décor, the best part about modern interior design is the functionality, innovation, and creative new ideas that decorators feature in their homes every year! Here are some of our favorite modern elements that blend effortlessly with the best antique finds we mentioned above.
Offset the gilded finishes and unlacquered brass with a texture that’s having its day in the sun– calacatta marble. This stone kicks the uniqueness of marble up a notch with dark veins, creamy undertones, and unexpected patterns; but it’s still subtle enough to mingle with your antique décor perfectly. If genuine calacatta marble isn’t in your budget, there are plenty of very convincing faux calacatta marble pieces available on our site!
White or Light Wood
As décor evolved, woods started getting lighter and lighter. Complement your stone pieces with a wood that lets your antique furnishings do that talking. Coastal oak, beech, and light oak are some of our favorite lighter woods. White-painted wood also exudes a modern aesthetic and looks good with nearly everything!
The retro trend of colored glassware is having a modern makeover, and there are all kinds of fun, new shapes you can choose from on Etsy and other online shops. The perfect marriage between classic and contemporary, colorful, jewel-toned kitchenware is one way to stay on top of modern trends. Not to mention, it would look great paired with an antique floral serving tray or tea saucers!
Contrast the floral patterns in your antique-inspired abode with some cool graphic art in a modern or vintage frame. Whether it’s abstract flora, geometric shapes, or a funky twist on chinoiserie patterns, framed art can take your place from grandma to Gatsby in no time. Or, give antique art a modern twist and use an ultra-sleek, modern frame to house a print of a Turkish rug, floral patterns, or oil painting.
Curvy, Rounded Shapes
Neotenic design influences have seeped into the mainstream, and furniture reflects that with sweeping curves and unique shapes. Style concepts like this didn’t come about in the furniture space until the 20th century, so a rounded ottoman, arched bookshelf, or circular décor piece will perfectly offset the traditional aesthetic of most antique finds.
Marry your antique décor and 21st-century space with industrial pieces. Opt for a metal hanging light in the kitchen, or mixed-material metal frame bookcase in the office. Scandinavian design continues to be wildly popular in modern homes where old and new mesh seamlessly. Industrial elements like black metal and powder-coated steel are essential in creating that juxtaposition of timelessly comfy and uniquely modern.
From displaying your thrifted mug collection atop a modern marble tray to nestling your second-hand velvet armchair beneath a contemporary piece of art, there are countless ways to incorporate antique décor into your modern motif.
How do you like to combine these two styles? Show us on social media by tagging @walkeredisonco and using the hashtag #MyWalkerEdisonHome!