Vintage interior design is tricky. On the one hand, it’s easy to see why some would long to re-create the feel of elegance that is synonymous with homes of the past. On the other, it’s all too easy for a design to come off looking like it belongs in Grandma’s house. This is one occasion where striking the right balance is crucial.
We’re here to help you find that balance. We’ve compiled our best advice for pulling together vintage interiors that still feel appropriate for today. Read over these tips and incorporate them into your own design. We have no doubt you’ll be able to reach the perfect equilibrium between modern and traditional.
Choose well-made antiques
Antiques are the backbone of any vintage home. Regardless of which decade is your personal favorite, they are the key pieces that help cement the vintage feel in your design. Their unique sense of history transports viewers back in time in a way that newer creations simply can’t match.
That said, just because a piece is older doesn’t mean it’s worthy of being included in your design. If you’re going to include an antique, it needs to be in decent — if not excellent — condition. As a rule, if you don’t think the piece will stand up to daily wear and tear, keep looking for a sturdier option.
When evaluating condition, there are a few signs that let you know a piece was built to stand the test of time. Keep an eye out for the following:
- Weight: Heaviness is often a sign the piece was made from real, natural materials rather than a more modern, mass-produced variation.
- Sturdy joints: Pay special attention to whether the joints feel secure. If they feel shaky, look into the cause. A loose nail can be replaced, but wood rot is not as easy to fix.
- Rust or other discoloration: This often needs to be determined on a case-by-case basis, but while a little rust or fading due to light exposure can be dealt with, too much may not be worth the restoration.