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How to Mix Modern and Antique Furniture

You probably have a lot of stuff if you’re downsizing from a family home to something smaller like a modern apartment, a unit, or a townhouse in Sydney. It can be difficult to fit all of your belongings into a smaller space, and it can be tempting to donate or sell everything and start over.

Let’s start with the fact that very few design enthusiasts decorate with mixing modern and antique furniture sets these days. And while it’s easy to fall into the trap of following a specific trend—whether that be midcentury, Scandinavian, or traditional—the most impactful spaces are the ones that effortlessly combine elements from multiple periods, styles, and places. After all, you can only purchase so many midcentury pieces before your home starts looking like a replica of a Mad Men set—though if that’s the look you’re going for, carry on with mixing furniture styles.

Doing that can feel overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. When we start decorating our homes, big-box stores might be the first step to help us furnish rooms with the essentials: quality sofas, sturdy beds, and spacious dining settings. But, once this is done, an opportunity opens up to add start furniture styles with antiques, objects, and soft furnishings to complete the look.

A Quick Tip: Think of your rooms in terms of layering by adding items to make your space feel unique and personal.

Find the Right Balance in Mixing Furniture Styles  

To achieve a balanced and tranquil environment, consider which style you want to be the most prevalent in Sydney. This is significant since it is nearly impossible to have an equal representation of both styles in a location. Consider whether you want a modern space with a few rustic pieces or a rustic room with a modern touch, and then decorate appropriately. You may prefer your furniture to be in harmony, but if you don’t mind contrast, it will make the design process a lot easier.

In the same way, that size is important, you should try mixing furniture styles to balance the various materials in the room so that you don’t end up with a room entirely of mid-brown wood tones. Mix a sleek stone surface like marble or travertine with a more rustic material like cane or rattan, for example.

A Quick Tip: Mix shiny black wood finishes with matte blonde wood. Add in glass, metals, velvet, and patterns. Thinking of materials in terms of contrasts will help in creating a layered space.

Form Versus Function with Mixing Modern and Traditional Decor      

It’s crucial to examine both form and function when deciding whether to maintain or while mixing modern and antique furniture. Antiques frequently have high craftsmanship that is harder to come by nowadays, such as detailed wood carving, marquetry, or artistic flourishes that aren’t found in everyday furniture. (Shaker-style furniture is an exception, as it has been embracing the same clean lines for centuries and yet appears current in even the most minimalist modern settings.) 

When you’ve decided to deliberately cross design lines (which aren’t all that strict, to be honest), you can do so by combining pieces that are complete opposites: a sleek, modern lamp placed on an antique chest made of carved wood, pretty printed slipper chairs placed on fluffy floor rugs, and a vintage china cabinet standing next to a big TV are just a few examples of how you can brighten up your space and mix and match the pieces you already own.

The idea that a single space should be decorated in one style alone is obsolete. The point of having your own space is to decorate it any way you like, even if that means mixing modern and traditional decor. As long as you manage to find the balance and express yourself at the same time, you’re good to go for Sydney.

Repurpose & Refinish Modern and Antique Furniture     

While the deep patina of a great antique or vintage piece is unsurpassed in terms of aesthetics and value, not all antiques are valuable or require preservation in their original state. It is not easy to mix antique furniture with modern. Take a step back and visualize how it would look stripped to its bones, refinished, or transformed with a fresh coat of paint whether you inherit your grandparents’ old dining table, come across an antique bed frame at a flea market, or locate a thrift store armoire with wonderful bones but a dated finish.

You may already have everything you need (or have hidden in your garage and/or attic) in your home. Simply by upcycling or modernizing a vintage piece, you may include it in your modern house. Mixing modern and antique furniture and restoring ancient furniture to its original state is simple and expected, but if you choose to paint it a bright color and cover it with a modern patterned fabric instead, you’ll have a stunning antique item that will fit into any contemporary decor in no time. You’ll adore the results of painting old photo frames bright pink and covering them with glitter, as well as adding unique new knobs to your cabinets.

In design, repetition is really useful. Even if your room is a variety of styles, repeating similar patterns or pieces will make it look more professional in Sydney.

For example, nautical pendants over the table in this dining room by Amber Interiors carry the eye along with the table in the same way as Mies van der Rohe chairs do. The neon art is repeated along with the bookcase, and the contemporary bench’s legs also generate repetition.

Unify Modern and Antique Furniture with Color                

One of the best methods to decorate your home and blend different pieces is to choose a theme in Sydney. You don’t have to decorate your home with cat-themed items or stick to a single color scheme, but having a theme to work with is helpful when it comes to decorating. You have the option of decorating in a coastal style or making your home look like a cozy small cottage in the woods. You can discover the elements you like and make them work together when you examine the larger picture they’re forming when you have a dominant theme.

One of the most difficult aspects of mixing modern and antique furniture pieces is determining how to make the different periods and styles work together while maintaining a feeling of cohesiveness. Balance and harmony are required in even the most varied designs. While blending wood finishes and metals is a skill in and of itself, the simplest approach to bringing different pieces together is to use the same color palette. If you enjoy mixing modern and traditional decor like shabby chic, paint thrift store discoveries like bedside table, dining room chairs, tables, and dressers a creamy white and add white overstuffed couches and sofas to create coherence. By concentrating on form, it will be straightforward to combine styles and periods.

Limiting the color palette is the easiest method to ensure that your area looks cohesive, even if it has a diversity of styles. The color is primarily black and white with splashes of greenery in this New York City kitchen, which pulls together the baroque architecture and chandelier by mixing antique furniture with modern kitchen cabinets and a contemporary ladder.

Mixing Antique Furniture with Modern Statement Pieces       

If you’re just getting your feet wet, one of the simplest ways to get started is to put contemporary art in a classic room as Jessica Helgerson did in this Brooklyn brownstone or vice versa.

Mixing modern and traditional décor, more classically fashioned pieces can be incorporated into a modern space with the help of modern lighting and art. For example, a contemporary lamp on an old desk might be a striking juxtaposition. The two styles will be brought together by a vintage dresser with a modern painting hung above it. A vintage light on a side table next to a modern, casual sofa, can offer a layer of visual interest to the space. If you have traditional paintings, mirrors, or lights that you’d like to incorporate into a modern area, use them sparingly in Sydney. You can also try bringing the decades closer together to create a more current vibe by reframing older artworks.

Go bold with a large-scale statement item like an antique armoire, a Baroque-style or Art Deco headboard, or a massive vintage farm table if you want to make the most effective in a modern space with an antique object like mixing furniture styles. Painting, refinishing, restoring interiors, or adding upholstery to an antique bed frame or armchair to provide it a sense of modern comfort will make these pieces useful and fit for current living. This method is especially effective in a neutral environment that requires a focal point or a sense of drama, which may be accomplished through the use of contrast and juxtaposition. 

This same formula can work for large-scale decorative pieces, like a giant French gilded mirror or a massive vintage rug to anchor an otherwise contemporary living room. 

A Quick Tip: Adding classic art in a contemporary space adds interest. The clash between the two styles is easy to achieve, and it always makes a striking statement.

Mixing Antique Furniture with Modern Accent Pieces          

When you’ve decided to deliberately cross design lines (which aren’t all that strict, to be honest), you can do so by combining pieces that are complete opposites: a sleek, modern lamp placed on an antique chest made of carved wood, pretty printed slipper chairs placed on fluffy floor rugs, and a vintage china cabinet standing next to a big TV are just a few examples of how you can brighten up your space and mix antique furniture with modern pieces you already own. The notion that a single area should be decorated in a particular style is no longer valid. 

It always helps to start a room with one focus object and build from there. Take this room by Studio DB, for example. The curves of the coffee table are repeated in the curvy chairs, the rounded chandelier globes, even in the fish-scale pattern on the rug. Though each of these items comes from a different time period, they work together beautifully.

When you have several pieces of furniture that all are of different styles, you might still fit them beautifully if the material they are made of matches. It is called mixing furniture styles. This is especially important for wooden pieces: stools & chairs, armchairs, coffee tables, and drawer cabinets. As long as your pieces are made from the same wood or otherwise stained the same shade, they will look good together even if some are contemporary and others so-called shabby chic. This is also good to keep in mind when you’re buying new pieces too.

Decide on the mood you desire for each space of your home. Are you wanting your living room to be casual and open? If so, avoid layering formal and heavy pieces of furniture into the space. Instead, play with simple lines and materials that are soft, light, and classic while still mixing different eras.

Likewise, if you’re aiming for a formal and elegant room combine pieces that are sophisticated and rich in aesthetics. Darker timber brushed metals and luxurious fabrics like velvet will help emphasize the formal mood you desire.

Final Reminder: An interior with mid-century furniture on one side of the room and contemporary pieces on the other will only emphasize the difference in styles rather than bring them together. If you are mixing furniture styles of multiple eras in the space, consider equally distributing the pieces throughout.

This way, the eye will view it as one cohesive aesthetic instead of seeing an overwhelming difference in styles.

Rather than curating your dining space with your traditional pieces and filling your living area with contemporary furniture in an open-plan interior, mix them up. For example, Mixing antique furniture with modern dining chairs and a pick-up in the same style with a vintage occasional chair or lamps in the living space. It’s all about creating a common thread and continuing the dialogue from one space to another by mixing modern and traditional decor in symmetry.