Home Decor

5 Room-Changing Ideas That Marry the Old With the New (Furniture, That Is!)

May 22, 2017

We've just returned from our stay at the Northeast's sprawling antiques fair in Brimfield, Massachusetts, where we hosted a pop-up filled with Pottery Barn furniture, a vintage camper, and vintage touches all week long. Today, we're sharing our favorite ways to incorporate vintage pieces into your home—try your hand at mixing old and new.

If you’ve ever flipped longingly through an architecture or interior design magazine, chances are the rooms that stand out the most are those that expertly curate familiar finds with more obscure pieces. Vintage furniture can lend a room that certain je ne sais quois, elevating the more accessible items around it and creating a tension that energizes the entire space.

Our vintage-inspired Pottery Barn Lounge at the Brimfield Antique Show

Luckily, we spent the last week scouring Brimfield and have a few thoughts on how you can use older finds in your home, comfortably (and beautifully) alongside the new.

New Fabric + Old Frame = One of A Kind

Consider reupholstery in modern fabrics on older frames. Darker woods tend to read more “fuddy duddy” and can seem reminiscent of your grandmother’s house, so reupholstering pieces in a more contemporary fabric, whether patterned or solid, can make the design feel more approachable and appropriate for the way we live now.

Go Graphic!

Bring in bold vintage pieces that hold their own against clean-lined modern furniture. Think Gio Ponti’s Superleggera chairs or the cool curves of Pierre Paulin. The current trend for minimalism means these midcentury designs (and those similar to them) are a perfect way to add a touch of daring to your room.

Brimfield vintage finds + Pottery Barn accents (pro tip: add a modern patterned accessory for a pop, like we did with this Pottery Barn pillow)

Layer everything.

Rugs and throws should be used aggressively in every space, from the narrowest of hallways to the most expansive of living rooms. A faded kilim (flat tapestry-style rug) is the perfect foil to your 100% cashmere throw; there’s nothing like a Moroccan wedding rug to offset the legs a modern bedframe. Rugs can also be reimagined as pillow fronts, adding a touch of custom cool to your sofa, no matter where (or when) it’s from.

Update everything with a fresh coat of paint.

It’s always fun to colorblock your furniture, accessories and textiles—especially for Instagram! Walls can be done in a fresh coat of white, but there’s never been a better time to experiment with color as light, nuanced hues with subtle tinges and undertones have never been more popular, from pink to green and everything in between.

Monochrome is in.

Tie furniture and decor items in the same color family and finish together. Marie Kondo a favorite room by laying out your favorite pieces of furniture and decor and seeing how they work together; donate any outliers and arrange the rest in groupings that flatter. Don’t be afraid to mix wood tones and species—birch, ash, walnut—they all play well in the same space.

Shop the Story

We recently set up shop at the Northeast's sprawling antiques fair in Brimfield, Massachusetts with Pottery Barn. It was a blast, and we came back with a few ideas on how to mix vintage touches in with new furniture all in one room. Pottery Barn hand-woven rugs, furniture for both the indoors and out, and mood-setting lanterns are just a few pieces that left us feeling inspired. You can peruse all of their summer furniture and decor offerings here.

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Sean is a Brooklyn-based writer, photographer and kale apologist who advocates for drinking at lunch. An avid traveler, he is always on the hunt for good coffee and better bread.