How to mix antiques and modern homes

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Introduce an antique touch to a modern home with a few simple décor tweaks

Modern décor tends to be lighter and less ornate than the design aesthetic of times gone by, but a juxtaposition of the two will make for a fascinating look. The sleek lines of contemporary homes create a frame for a heavy antique piece, making it the focus of attention and giving it dignity and charm.

What really ties a contrast like this together is the subtle changes you’ll make.

Introduce it at the last minute

No, we don’t mean that you shouldn’t plan. One way to create a brilliant contrast is to ensure that the rest of your room forms a palette for the treasured antique piece. Plan your room in matching colours so that they blend together, creating a harmonious backdrop for the interesting addition of an older piece. Then place your focal item – in this case, the dresser – at the centre, and add smaller artefacts or accessories like lamps and rugs to complement the colours.

Contrast, contrast, contrast!

Choose a colour theme that provides a stark contrast to your antique. If your piece is dark wood, do up your room in pastel shades so that it offers a sharp difference. While white or cream is the most beloved milder colour, a pretty robin’s egg blue or a buttercup yellow can be even more appealing.

Use the antique in a different manner

Antiques are often the best conversation starters in a room. Make it even more interesting by using it in an unusual manner. A glass-front cabinet is traditionally used to display china, but could be a wonderful book shelf in a modern home.

Look for non-wood antiques

Most antiques are wood, but a ceramic artefact or a stone pillar can be even more avant garde. Play up the sleek minimalist décor around these to add drama to these pieces. 


Divide your room mathematically

If you have more than one antique piece, a good thumb rule to follow is to divide your room into quarters. This works well for ethnic and contemporary décor mixing as well. Combine a traditional folk element with a more modern pattern to emphasize the differences. In this photograph, the upholstery is Indian/Mexican on the centre table, but has modern blacks and stripes in other areas. The media shelf and most of the seating is modern, but the pillars and the sideboards are antiques. What a lovely combination!

With the renewed interest in antiques and rare pieces of furniture in recent years, many homes are incorporating this look successfully, giving them a magazine-worthy finish!


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