How To Add Inherited Antiques Into Your Home While Keeping Your Style

Your grandmother left you an oak dining table and chairs, but your dining room is contemporary and it doesn’t seem to match. What do you do? Or, your uncle’s favourite desk is now part of your living room amid the DVDs and PlayStation but it doesn’t fit in. You love this furniture and you love the memories of the people who owned it so how do you incorporate your inherited antiques in your home?

Fortunately, today’s design choices are not limited to only one style. You can easily combine antique furniture into your home. All you need is thoughtfulness and a good eye.

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Think about Fabric or Pattern.

The value of an upholstered sofa or chair is not in the fabric, but in the furniture itself. Reupholster that faded love seat for something more aligned with your current colour schemes in a room.

Think about Colour.

The pieces that you inherit may be darker or lighter than the other pieces in your room. Is it a piece that you could re-stain or re-paint to match the tone of the room? If not, don’t worry about it, you could consider adding a darker piece which can add contrast and visual interest to a lighter room.

Think about Lines.

Line is the shape and contours of the furniture and accessories in your home. Are there a lot of curves? Straight lines? A combination of both? Often older pieces have ornate furnishings and their curvy lines can add visual interest and contrast in any room. Today’s styles have a lot of florals and botanicals and why not place this with your Queen Anne end table or the Chippendale bureau as these will fit in nicely — as if they came right out of a modern catalogue.

Think about Weight.

Weight is the visual bulkiness furniture brings to a room. A wicker chair is much lighter visually than an overstuffed leather ottoman. And don’t forget, darker colours are “heavier” than lighter ones. Match your antique piece with other pieces that are of similar visual weight. This will add harmony to your room.

Think about Accessories.

An affordable way to add your antique piece into a room is to thoughtfully surround it with candlesticks, pillows, frames, artwork or other objects that are more consistent with your style. The result, if done well, will be a gentle blending of the two styles.

Think about Repurposing.

There’s no room for the great aunt’s beautiful hutch in your kitchen but it may took terrific in your guest room as a writing desk or display cabinet.

Think about Practicality.

As much as you would love your toddler to inherit Grandma’s 19th century dresser someday, it’s probably not a good idea to keep it in his room right now. Move it to a safer spot, temporarily, until your child can appreciate it and take good care of it.

Or, if you have several pieces, consider creating an entire room in antiques. Creating a vintage style doesn’t have to be restricted to only one kind of furniture. You can easily mix Early American with French Country or any other antique styles as long as there is harmony with weight, colour, texture or line as described above.

With thoughtfulness, and knowledge of design basics, you can keep your antiques and your style and honour the memory of your loved ones.