Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are getting help with the decor of their new home from no less a style guru than the Queen. She will certainly have some vintage pieces to spare and lots of good advice.
Achieving a traditional look inside your home may be easier than you think. Check out 7 vintage interior design tips that will transform your space.
What’s Vintage Interior Design?
Vintage style is referenced across clothing design, home decor, and anywhere that fashion influences a look or feel. But what does it look like? Are there any specific colors or shapes that define it?
Vintage is a label applied to any style that is not contemporary. It includes rich Victorian opulence, Art Deco chic from the 1920s, and even Scandinavian influenced 1950’s style. Part of the joy of vintage decor is researching these different eras
Vintage decor can be about faithfully reproducing the decor of an era or creatively combining styles. There’s even a place for combining vintage and modern styles. It’s worth remembering that in all eras a typical home had a few pieces of contemporary furniture combined with inherited earlier styles.
You can create your own style with vintage influences. It will enhance your home and your life. Follow these tips for retro success.
The most obvious error in creating a vintage interior is to confuse the word “vintage” with “old.” Creating a vintage interior is not about collecting a few pieces of furniture that look old, worn, and shabby. Shabby chic is a modern concept that would not rest well with our forebears.
Look for quality antiques. Choose good quality examples of furniture and ornaments from the era you wish to incorporate into your vintage home interior. Avoid damaged and poor-quality examples.
One of the charms of vintage decor is that furniture was often better made and was more durable. It has stood the test of time better than modern equivalents ever will.
Older furniture and ornaments can acquire a patina that helps you identify the piece as old but this should not be confused with damage. A patina can be a blue-green coloration on copper surfaces or a sheen on wooden furniture.
The patina is often evidence of the care a treasured item has had throughout its life. Polish and normal use produces these attractive qualities. Abuse, lack of care or poor original materials produce a much less attractive effect.
Look for solid, well-constructed furniture. Reproduction furniture can work too but don’t compromise on build quality.
2. Focus on Furniture
The way people lived in bygone times can give you a clue about how to create the vintage look successfully. It’s common nowadays to organize a room around modern technology that would be alien to our forebears.
In times when there was no TV, a room might be organized around a fireplace for warmth. When entertainment had to be homemade, a conversation was more important than it is today. Chairs would be laid out facing each other rather than facing a screen.
Make the furniture the focus of your room layout. A beautiful low table between armchairs can be a striking feature. A baby grand piano could be a dramatic feature especially if someone in the house can play it.
You can create a vintage feel to a room by applying these simple room layout guidelines. If you would like to incorporate modern technology be creative about it. Have a wall mounted TV screen that does not dominate the room and discrete hi-fi speakers hidden behind ornate mesh screens?
3. Soft Furnishings
Soft furnishings complement the impact of good furniture. An appropriate cushion or drape helps re-enforce the identity of your decor. Your research on a specific era will suggest fabrics, colors, and patterns.
Nothing says Victorian more than heavy velvet drapes. The 1950s is brought to mind when polka dots are used on cushions.
You may find modern soft furnishings can complement your period furniture especially when they are heavily influenced by the past. They are not strictly reproductions. They’re a homage to an earlier age in the same spirit as your vintage home interior.
4. Ornament and Objects
Searching markets, antique shops or even garage sales for ornaments can be rewarding. Finding something that would be just perfect to sit on your coffee table or mantelpiece is exciting especially if it’s a bargain.
An Art Deco ornaments such as a female silhouette can be a striking focal point. An antique vase can be brought to the fore on special occasions with the addition of fresh flowers. A plant-stand and aspidistra plant in a hallway are classic Victorian.
Mirrors are another great opportunity to literally reflect an era. Given that the size of rooms was typically larger in earlier times, having a mirror or two is one way of creating the illusion of space. Choose frames that match the period you want.
5. Bedroom Themes
You can express your retro decoration ideas by having different vintage themes for each of your bedrooms.
A master bedroom could have romantic dark wood and heavy drapes. Shop now for a feature Georgian style four post canopy bed. Another bedroom could have a 1950s rock and roll theme with bright colors and 50s movie memorabilia.
A nursery bedroom looks charming in a Victorian style. Take your cues from Mary Poppins which was set in Victorian London.
6. Classic Kitchen
A kitchen is an ideal place to combine modern and vintage style. Modern kitchen appliances can sit comfortably next to old-world copper pots and English China. A set of Victorian scales is attractive and functional too and a thing of beauty on your countertop.
A major opportunity is to use antique lighting for ceilings combined with hidden under wall cabinet lighting. The combination of vintage and modern works well. Use spotlights or wall lights to highlight Victorian prints of herbs or fruit.
Whether you are going for a pure vintage theme or combining periods including modern decor the aim is to achieve a harmonious look. If you are not consistent in the era, then be consistent in the material. Furniture made of natural wood can blend together if the items are similar shades and build quality.
Live the Vintage Life
Having a vintage interior design flair can lead to interesting new experiences. The research can lead to an interest in history. Finding furniture and ornaments can be as much fun as creating the look.
A vintage style can also lead to lifestyle changes. Having a traditional dining room table can encourage the family to dine together more. Perhaps not having the TV at the center of your living space will lead to more conversations and better relationships.
Here are some more retro decorating ideas.