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Harlowe James Sale

How To Mix Modern With Vintage

I get this scenario presented quite a bit – you want to add in some vintage pieces, but aren’t sure how to incorporate anything without clashing with your exiting furniture. I have said it a million times, but mixing vintage with new is my favorite way to layer any space and adds the character that people are often searching for. There is something about the texture or the patina of an older piece that is hard to duplicate. I have complied a list of some ways I go about adding in vintage accents that fit seamlessly into my decor and don’t look like I raided an estate sale.

Start Small

If you are new to sourcing vintage pieces you don’t exactly have to throw an Eames lounge chair into your living room or pile every table top with French crocks. Flea markets or antique shops are a great place to browse small accents like lamps, busts, artwork or ceramics (I love an oversized vase). You can also find all of these items on Etsy if you don’t have access to a great flea market. Small accents are a great place to start for layering in some cool texture. I love the vintage alabaster lamp on my desk which helps offset the coldness of the white laminate material. You don’t have to go overboard with vintage items, often one or two pieces can make an impact. Adding too much too soon can look cluttered and less thoughtful, so start with a few accents and then take it from there. In addition to Etsy some of my favorite online sources for small accents are Elsie Green and June Home Supply.

Dont Always Focus On The Current State

I am not a DIY-er. As creative as I like to get have never really been super into those types of projects because they can take a lot of time and the outcome is rarely what I was hoping for. I will say I love tweaking pieces slightly to get them where I want. If you find a vintage lamp you love, but hate the shade, get a new one. You can find a different antique option or update it with something more clean line and contemporary. If you find a piece of furniture you absolutely love, but it has seen better days – chances are you can get it reupholstered, reupholster it yourself or touch up the wood a bit. Even if you have to reupholster a smaller piece it can often be cheaper than buying new and you can get it custom to how you want it.

Don’t Think Style Specific

I think one of the common struggles with blending new and vintage is the idea the pieces need to “match”. I have never been one for sticking to an overall style. I like blending Mid Century with French Farmhouse and everything in between. It is all about the pieces you choose and how you arrange them. I have gone on at length about how less is more, but I can’t stress it enough especially when it comes to style mixing.

My desk chair is a knock off Mid century Hans Wegner set in a room with a very traditional looking turned arm stripe accent chair. I paired the stripe chair with an antique stool to balance out some of the newness and incorporate more texture into that corner. Both the accent and desk chairs are simple in nature so instead of competing the tones compliment each other even through they are vastly different styles. Don’t be afraid to play around with pieces you like. I don’t belive in a lot of design rules if the foundation of the room is set right (i.e. rug size is correct, furniture fits properly, everything to scale). For me layering in vintage is all about having fun and adding components to a room that bring it to the next level.

Photos by Torrey Fox

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