Interior Inspiration: Incorporating Vintage Furniture

So, as much as I love spaces where everything is brand new, I really love incorporating vintage furniture into a space. I think there’s something special and unmatchable in a space that is that perfect mix of new and old… it has a richness and character that other spaces just don’t have. But not all antiques are the same… and there is definitely an art to mixing them ~ both with vintage pieces from other eras and with new furniture.

As always, design is subjective, but with that in mind here are some of my ‘rules of thumb’ for incorporating vintage and antique pieces into a space. And some examples that I think set a pretty high bar for amazing execution <3 <3

Avoiding the ‘time capsule’ look 

I’ll admit that it’s fun to look at the photos of places that haven’t been touched in 40 years. But do you really want to live in a time capsule? My perspective here is that many era’s have a plethora of beautiful elements that you can incorporate into your house… but it is important to be living in present time… and your home should look like it’s in present time also. So unless you are purposefully trying to recreate that look, avoid having too many pieces together in the same space from the same time period, or your space won’t look amazing, it will just look dated.

For example, can you tell whether these spaces are from now or 50 years ago? It’s a little tough right??

There’s something to be said for living in present time.

time capsule_LR.jpg

Mixing styles

Mixing different pieces from different eras can create a fun and interesting space. Mixing too many styles together can lead to a space that just feels disjointed and chaotic. I wish I had a specific formula for this, but I’m really just super intuitive about it. Ultimately, it’s important that everything be complementary and look cohesive. I suggest keeping the mix to about two, maybe three different eras {you can also easily incorporate vintage art in the mix that is from different eras than furniture, which is often times more obvious} to create an interesting space but avoid having it look like a random collection of furniture and not an intentional, cohesive design. Here are a few examples of spaces that incorporate vintage furniture and look amazing.

Love this statement vintage sofa {captured by teamwoodnote}, there are a few different ‘styles’ here, between the glam sofa and side chairs, the more earthy tables and the raw painted brick wall, but the entire space looks cohesive and pulled together. The side chairs might also be vintage or they might be new, hard to tell… they feel special but don’t compete with the sofa, and their neutral color provides good balance to the pink.

team woodnote_pink sofa

This living room is a great example of a really different style space from the pic above, but still mixing vintage/antiques and new pieces… LOVE the bold pink sofa which is new, the clear lucite table is from one era and the mirror and side chair are from another, but together it totally works!


Keeping an ‘in search of’ list

A big challenge with vintage and antique furniture is that you can’t always just pull up exactly what you want online and order it… that’s part of what’s so great about it ~ the hunt. So have an idea of different areas of your house that might need an accent, or if you are in search of a larger piece of furniture or certain piece of art.

Vintage flea markets and antique stores are often completely overwhelming and you forget in an instant any and everything you might be looking for.

You can be looking for a specific piece, or have an area of your house that needs something… but you aren’t sure exactly what, which is great because it leaves room for serendipity and surprise discoveries you might never have thought of. If you can, take a pic of the area on your phone and then you can just pull it up when you are out shopping and really know if the piece you are looking at will work.

Sometimes that perfect vintage piece can take center stage and totally transform an otherwise underwhelming area of your house. I love this vintage lacquered credenza that Kyla, of House of Hipsters, has in her entryway {I have the same one!! you know that means she has great taste, lol ;) }. I accidentally happened upon her blog recently and will freely admit I now have a girl crush on her … she is the queen of vintage finds and also runs one of my favorite Instagram accounts ihavethisthingwithpink. I might secretly hope to meet her in person at a cute local coffee shop one morning and talk about our upcoming flea market plans ;) I mean, just look at this space ~ it’s perfection <3

house of hipsters entry.jpg

Beware the piece in need of a facelift 

So many vintage and antique pieces are a little worse for the wear. It can be so easy to see their potential, and imagine how amazing they could look if they were just sanded and painted, or refinished and brought back to their original glory. But be real here. Are you a DIYer? Are you really going to undertake refinishing a piece of furniture? Or reupholstering something yourself?

There’s nothing worse than accumulating a bunch of ‘project’ pieces of furniture that just take up space that will never reach their potential with you, and will never be just right for your space because of that. If you won’t actually do the project, leave it for someone who will ~ OR ~ get it, and have someone refinish it for you ~ best. idea. ever.

Here are some great pics of refinished vintage finds just to show you what’s possible!

My friends Kim & Scott of Yellow Brick Home reign supreme when it comes to DIY projects. I am in awe of them, they have great taste and aren’t afraid to tackle any new project… here’s their transformation of an awesome vintage sofa… you just have to be able to what what something ‘could’ be!


Here is the amazing after piece in their living room… SWOON! <3 <3 <3


And this dining room is also from House of Hipsters… could you find more perfect chairs?! Maybe the only ‘now’ piece in this room is the light fixture, by West Elm. My guess is that the chairs were re-upholsterd, but those brass frames are one in a million and the blush colored upholstery is a drool-worthy match made in heaven. I love that they are paired with a more casual vintage table for a casual glam mashup that couldn’t have turned out better <3


So what areas of your house could use a little more personality, or a little refreshing?! Maybe check out some local flea markets this spring and see what spectacular surprises are just waiting to be discovered!





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