Incorporating Antiques In Your Modern Home: Dos And Don’ts

Achieving the perfect balance between antiques and contemporary home decor should be a pleasure, not a chore. And for antiques showroom and dealers Westland London, this is what they do best.

Integrating family heirlooms into a modern home can be like balancing your work life with your personal life; both rely on each other, yet too much of one can ruin the other completely. Creating harmony between the modern and the old can easily slip into a mismatch of items in an ill-fitting context, so outlining the dos and don’ts of incorporating the two is vital.

DO: Find Joy in Your Possessions

2019 saw the rise of decluttering with KonMari, who encourages us to clear out items that don’t spark joy. Doing this will create the foundations for a harmonious, tidy home. Marie Kondo is a Japanese tidying guru and bestselling author of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ and ‘Spark Joy’. Marie provides valuable insights into tidying your home once and for all. If you’re an avid collector of antiques, you may have accumulated a number of possessions and furniture over the years. However, this shouldn’t mean they should burden the space you live in. And this certainly shouldn’t mean you have to clear out your collections; as long as your items spark joy, you can undoubtedly get the most out of them. So what’s the solution?

DON’T: Put Your Antiques on a Pedestal

This may sound bizarre, but prioritizing your antiques over the rest of your modern furniture often undermines their functionality. According to Rebecca Robertson, interior designer and co-author of “Collected: Living With The Things You Love”, keeping your antiques within reach is vital. Why keep your most prized possessions out of reach on a shelf or in a cabinet? Robertson suggests displaying them on your coffee table or somewhere close by, to ensure they’re always in view for you to appreciate – not to mention, they make for great conversation over cocktails!

DO: Find Purpose in your Antiques 

An antique chest can be a great way to store blankets and board games, and an antique frame doesn’t need to have a Renaissance painting inside. In fact, the most refreshing incorporations of antiques in modern homes are when a new, unexpected purpose is found for sentimental antiques. Georgina Wood, design director of Taylor Howes, notes: “There is something around the poetry [antiques] add when juxtaposed against a modern canvas; you often find that when removed from a traditional surrounding, the character of a piece stands out more and has more impact.” Putting your antiques to use in your home can give them a new lease of life, so it’s worth getting creative with how you use them!

DON’T: Limit Yourself to Just One Room

Spreading your antiques across the house makes the balancing act much easier, enabling your heirlooms to blend seamlessly into your modern home. It’s all fair and well covering your office with historical art, but consistency is key and limiting your antiques to one room will throw off the balance and harmony in the house overall. Try to spread the love across the whole house, where possible.

DO: Contrast and Colour Co-ordinate

Combining textures, styles, colours and shapes when merging antiques with modern decor will create variation in your interior design, meaning you’ll never lose interest. But be careful, as too many different contrasts can confuse the aesthetic and create the opposite of harmony. Allowing some space for the eye to rest is crucial. A great way to unify these contrasts without becoming too mismatched is to colour coordinate. Old ornaments intertwining with contemporary pieces will not only unite the eras in harmony but will create a depth to the display in your home. Not sure where to start? Neutral colours such as beige, grey and white can complement any era so will be able to mix your antiques with your modern decor. Or, if you strive to be bold, consider rich, vibrant colours such as emerald or deep red to complement antique wooden furniture and materials such as gold.

DON’T: Abide by the Rules 

Above all, there are no real rules when it comes to decorating a modern house with antiques (despite you may think when reading our list of dos and don’ts):

  • There’s no reason a dining set of furniture can’t be separated into different rooms, to appreciate each piece individually.
  • A desk needn’t be a desk, and by no means must you put books on a bookshelf. Use your furniture in whatever context that fits the nature of your home.

DO: Use Objects that are Meaningful to You

And most importantly, whether antique or modern decor, always fill your home with sentimental objects. Things that mean something to you personally. If you’re looking to find the perfect balance in your bedroom, or something as small as your mantlepiece, creating harmony with antiques is essential. You should never feel obliged to tuck away family heirlooms when they can add substantial meaning to your decor. This way, you’ll be endlessly satisfied with the space you live in, and much like Marie Kondo will find joy in all the things you own. There’s a fine line between kitschy and curated, but following our steps to balancing antiques with a modern home is a surefire way to achieving interior design greatness.