sideboard with flowers

Designing your home can be one of the best ways to express your personality and flair. While there’s countless styles and places to buy furniture, there’s something special and one-of-a-kind about styling your home with antiques. Whether you own a classic Tudor style house on the east coast or are renting a modern apartment in Seattle, WA, decorating with antiques can tie your space together.

To help you get started styling your home, we’ve asked the experts for their best advice on how to decorate with antiques. Check out what they had to say so you can add a special touch and bring your home to life.

Envision the piece in your home

The piece of furniture should speak to you and see if you can envision it in your home. A few good places to look for antiques are: Craigslist, Nextdoor, antique furniture mall, estate sales. The furniture should be in good repair, or at least not need much repair. Upholstery is easy to change specially chair seats or have it professionally done, don’t be afraid of color even in a Tudor home. Tudor interiors can be dark but you can lighten it up with light color curtains and rugs. My favorite chairs are covered in lime green velvet and are placed in the entryway so they are the first thing people see when they come into the mansion. – Ana Lena Melka & Mark Mayhle, Owners of The Shafer Baillie Mansion

Visit your local businesses often

Our biggest tip when shopping for antiques for your home, especially when you’re on a budget, is to shop local thrift stores often. Our stores get in new items every single day and you never know what you’re going to find. Typically our prices are about 50% of retail, so you can really get a bargain on some cool vintage and antique pieces. – Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity

Antiques help tell stories

Many wonderful homes are decorated with mass-produced and poorly-made disposable furnishings that tell no stories, that don’t excite. Why settle for that? Real antiques are unique, soulful, authentic pieces that are a joy to come home to and will set your home apart. Imagine having furnishings that are so compelling that they are conversation pieces. Try it. Start with just an antique piece or two. – Don Olson, American Antiques and Folk Art

Vintage items add character to your home

Incorporating vintage items into your home decor creates a unique design statement – vintage adds character to any space. Shopping outdoors at the Long Beach Antique Market is a fun way to discover one-of-a-kind treasures. Repurposing an old copper pot with orchids works as a centerpiece, finding a globe from the 1970’s with a lucite base, a vintage bar cart with glassware, a grouping of different height brass candlesticks for your dining room table, a vintage rug to pull a room together – make it your own. – Long Beach Antique Market

Use a variety of unique pieces

I really suggest that a homeowner, when decorating with antiques, uses a good range of different pieces. Too often I think people get obsessed with matching different pieces together. You really want a good range, and it starts to look weird when everything is the same color, size etc. What you should be after is a bit of contrast. That makes your space look dynamic, three dimensional, and inviting. – Robert Lowdon, architectural photographer

You can easily bring old and new together

Something that I’m often asked is how to introduce antique furniture into a home to achieve a look that combines old and new. The idea is to combine the lively colors and comfort of modern furniture and complement it with a few well-chosen genuine antiques that become focal points in a room, giving a distinctive personal style to your home. For the maximum effect, choose a unique piece, not a modern replica, and feature it as a usable work of art. – Daniel and Maggie, Botanica Etcetera

Don’t be afraid to mix styles

There are various ways to approach furnishing a Tudor Revival home. You can be literal to the time period using antiques and a European point of view, or you can use an eclectic design approach. I personally use a mix of Traditional, European, Mediterranean and a touch of modern to my decor. Overall, there’s a drama and an ever-changing interest to the home. Mixing metals in my fixtures, hardware, finishes and decor does not give a definable era to the home or the updates, but rather a sense of timelessness. My seasonal decor works well within the framework to achieve a variety of looks within the traditional setting. – Tamara Peterson, Projects by Design

Find items you love and surround yourself with beauty

The secret to designing your home with these antique finds is to find items you love, you will enjoy being home when you are surrounded by beauty. There is a story behind every item, this is the part I enjoy. Researching the item, brings so much life to the pieces, and takes your appreciation of it to another level. Another important thing is to look at your space and figure out how you can utilize your piece to use in your everyday life. Everything has a purpose, we use just about everything we have in our home. When we entertain our friends come into our home, saying that they feel that they have just arrived at the Louvre. – Stacey Paset, J Roberts Antiques

You’ll always have something that’s one-of-a-kind

There’s never been a better time to decorate your home with antique and vintage decor. One of the main reasons is that it’s “available now” versus new furniture which is hard to find. You may ask, what’s trending now? We can tell you it’s furniture and art from the 50’s – 90’s. Customers are mixing and matching different era’s – from Boho-Farmhouse to Midcentury-Victorian. It doesn’t have to be “matchy-matchy” as it’s been in the past. It doesn’t have to be the same color or symmetrical. We’re living in a very creative era and it’s well documented in many antique and vintage magazines which are filled with ideas and tips. – King Richard’s Antique Center Los Angeles California

Choose pieces that speak to you

An antique dresser, mid-century modern art, a vintage architectural piece, or another one of a kind find, is the perfect way to make certain your home reflects your unique style. The beauty is in the piece and the price, as most antique malls offer items with a broad range of prices. The hunt is always fun, a walk down memory lane is guaranteed, and certain pieces will “talk” to and say, “please take me home.” – Riverside Centre Antique MallCincinnati, OH

Antiques create a dramatic backdrop

Design trends in the last decade veered from ornate antiques, making dealers and auction houses crying for the noon. And yet, lovers of French and Italian antiques cleverly harmonize selected antique gems amidst contemporary settings, forming smart and elegant settings. The more drastic the contrast, the greater impact. Milan and Paris mega fashion designers are turning to antiques for dramatic backdrop to showcase their new and bodacious collections. – Ron Dayan, MBID | Chief Designer, Beverly Hills Interiors

You don’t need to make your home a museum

Let the time period of your home guide you, but don’t turn your space into a museum. Have fun as you build your collection of antiques, and remember, you don’t need to display every single antique you own all at once. Rotate your items periodically to keep things looking fresh, fun and never stuffy. – Sara Thomas, Toiles to the Wall

Originally published by Redfin

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What’s Old is New: How to Decorate your Home with Antiques


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