Where Retro and Modern Collide: Vintage Pieces in a Contemporary Home

Amy Bartlam Photography  Amy Bartlam Photography  Amy Bartlam Photography
Image source: Veneer Designs

Vintage is the new modern, or at least that’s how interior design trends stand right now. Blame it on the growing popularity of classic décor inspired by Great Gatsby, The Great Budapest Hotel, or Amélie, but retro glam is here to stay. Still, vintage finds should be carefully incorporated into a contemporary home to avoid a haphazardly put-together impression. However chic mix-and-match décors may be, there are a few principles you should bear in mind when enriching your home with finds belonging to different design eras. Here are five home styling tricks professional designers follow when introducing vintage elements into a modern home setting.

1. Contrasts for Vintage Eclecticism

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Photography by Janne Olander for Stadshem

Vintage elements in bold hues will infuse a minimalist home with a sense of visual opulence and eclecticism. As a general rule, most successful old-meets-new décor blends rely on the power of contrasts for aesthetic interest, which is why you should pay attention to the colors of vintage furnishings you’re introducing into your home. An antique statement piece in a bold tone will feature as a focal point in a color-coordinated room, and if you’re after superior effects, you can also draw on contrasts in terms of texture and shape when incorporating retro elements in your home.

2. Mix ‘n’ Match for Boho Aesthetics

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Image source: New Darlings

Using furniture pieces belonging to different periods of design history will create a boho chic backdrop in your nest. If you’re a firm believer in visual eclecticism, you can try to blend several styles in your living area rather than using just a few vintage pieces as accents. The mix-and-match formula will help create a décor that exudes personality, depth, and interest, allowing the vintage pieces to blend in neatly rather than commanding attention or overwhelming the rest of the décor. For eclectic traveler home aesthetics, you can round off the bohemian-style décor with ornaments and mementoes salvaged on your travels.

3. A Sophisticated Antique Statement

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Image sources: Hannah in the House and Skona Hem

However visually engaging, eclectic style is not everyone’s top favorite, but it doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a no-frills modern décor. A single vintage statement piece of furniture will be enough to add character and aesthetic value to your living area, but you should select it with care to prevent a brash décor impression. For instance, an antique leather sofa with a foot stool can double as the living room centerpiece, whereas a bold Victorian-esque wardrobe perched by glass-paneled aluminium sliding doors will add depth and contrast to a modern open-plan living area.

4. Thinking outside the Vintage Box

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Image source: Cup of Jo

When using vintage finds as décor accents, you don’t necessarily have to stick to conventions. A daring blend of retro and modern pieces such as a vintage desk topped by a modern ergonomic chair will unleash aesthetic dynamicity and add the element of visual surprise to the home office or living room. On that note, a mid-century chest of drawers will look at home as the TV console in a nature-inspired living room, while a retro bureau can be used as the home bar for a sense of playfulness and creativity.

5. Where Retro and Country Collide

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Image source: Decoist

Most vintage pieces come in solid wood with a matte paint coat, but if you wish to liven up the home atmosphere with a dose of rustic charm, you can overhaul antique pieces following in the country style footsteps. Wire-brushed wood cabinetry or tables with bold grain will seamlessly blend into the modern décor structured around pastel colours, stone and/or timber flooring, and organic textiles. For bonus aesthetic points, you can dress contemporary laminate floors with an antique rug, and round off the vintage décor with a few country-inspired extras such as a rustic coat hanger, decorative signboards, baskets, and a distressed table or floor lamp.

Introducing antique pieces into a contemporary-style living area will increase the aesthetic value of your home and infuse it with character and timeless elegance. There’s a host of ways in which you can pull off the old-meets-new décor, so feel free to experiment with different approaches – just don’t let your modern-looking living area go without retro touches.

Zoe Clark


Shop at Vinterior, Britain’s greatest selection of vintage, mid century, antique and design furniture & home decor. Shop from the best independent furniture boutiques on one platform.

Author bio:

Zoe Clark is a journalist, freelance stylist and blogger. She is a visual storyteller and aesthetician by heart who often writes about decorating and DIY ideas. She loves sparking creativity in people and giving them ideas for their own spaces. You can find her blogging at Smooth Decorator.

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