Whether it's to create a unique space with character or to cherish an inherited family heirloom, there are many reasons why people choose vintage over new in interior design. Vintage home decor brings personality into a space that just trumps cookie cutter furnishings from a department store. Moreover, antique pieces are often one-of-a-kind, meaning there's a miniscule chance that someone has even a similar item in their repertoire.
But buying and decorating with vintage isn't as simple as picking out an interesting antique and displaying it in any free corner in your home. You have to be meticulous when it comes to purchasing and designing your space with mature, sometimes more high-maintenance home pieces. Keep these tips in mind when you explore vintage decorating for your personal space, and make dealing with older home pieces as manageable as it can be.
Inspect before buying.
Unlike buying new - where you can easily return defective items or replace them with a similar piece - purchasing from the vintage market is a bit more elaborate. Secondhand goods tend to come as one-offs, and in varying states of wear. This means that you have to be careful when buying older pieces, and be extra vigilant in inspecting their usability.
Wear and tear is typical in any used good, but there are certain features to a home item that may not be reparable in your particular case. Determine your risk appetite when it comes to buying and restoring vintage, and set limits as to what you can do to design your best possible space. Most will shy away from electronics and home appliances, just because wiring is especially tricky and certain parts may no longer be available in the market. On the flipside, easy fixes such as paint jobs on wooden tables and changing out fixtures on old drawers are acceptable for many who venture into the secondhand home market.
A harsh truth in the vintage market is that many pieces you'll come across are too damaged to be used, or will need extensive fixing. Not everything can be salvaged; in fact, you'll find that in more often than not, the vintage beauty you're dying to display in your bedroom is beyond repair. That's just because many don't think about preserving the things that they own - they just use them to their cores.
Make sure that before you buy any secondhand home item, you're willing to restore it to its full glory. Remember, anything you deem unfixable will end up as trash in your home.
Clean your vintage pieces.
Old doesn't have to mean dirty and fraying at the edges. Aside from fixing up your vintage pieces, you must also be diligent in maintaining them. Older items tend to look more rugged and "dirty" in comparison with brand new pieces, which is why it's advisable that you make sure these home pieces are clean and will stay clean as long as they're in your personal space. This means scrubbing those metal baskets until they no longer rust (unless that's your aesthetic) and wiping those wooden catchalls until they look like they're just intentionally "rustic."
When dutifully restored and regularly maintained, vintage furniture and decor can be some of the longest-lasting pieces you'll have in your home. Antiques tend to be made with higher quality materials and in less frequency (versus today's mass production of goods.) Caring for your vintage pieces can increase their lifespans by tenfold and even increase their resale value if you do decide to part with them.
Don't want your house to look like an antique shop or a dated TV show set only your mom will enjoy? Be selective when it comes to the vintage ornaments that you bring into your space. Instead of going all out, try your luck in a local thrift store and pick out smaller ornaments there. This not only helps you save a little bit of cash, but will also make it less painful to switch out decor when you get bored.
Wide-mouth cannisters work well as indoor planters, and first edition antique books make for a stunning centerpiece on your coffee table. A framed photograph of your grandparents can serve as an art piece and focal point in any room.
The trick is to slowly introduce older pieces in your space - a little goes a long way - by putting one or two vintage ornaments in every room in your home. Follow a basic color palette and avoid overwhelming the space with too many random decorative baubles that make no sense. In this case, it's much better to be intentional with every vintage piece that makes it into your space. Don't forget that vintage home decor must lend itself to a cohesive interior design that works for you.
Mix the old in with the new.
One way to make a space feel dated is to stick to one design era and decade, and that's a pit you can easily fall into when you decorate with vintage pieces. A mix between classic vintage and modern is a design decision that many decorators and designers make because of its universal appeal and timeless charm.
Antiques have unparalleled character, while contemporary pieces are functional and are often easier to manage. Things like mattresses have to be bought new if purely for health reasons, and with the rate the world is developing, it might not be the best idea to work on a "vintage" computer setup.
Of course, home pieces such as small cabinetry and elaborate rugs almost always get the audience vote when they're nicely maintained vintage. The good thing about designing your personal space is, you don't have to reject technology and all that it stands for just because you want to display your favorite vintage decorations. There's a happy medium that every home decorator strived to achieve: a space that feels current and fresh but still exudes visual interest and style.
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