When redesigning your home or refreshing your décor, you may ask yourself, what if my current furniture just doesn’t match? While it’s easy to switch out a few wall decorations or window treatments, it’s more of an investment to replace larger items, like furniture. This common dilemma begs the question, is it worth redecorating at all if you can’t get the style you want?
The answer is simple, absolutely! There are plenty of solutions to achieve a desired or blended look using pieces you already have, even if they those pieces don’t fit in with your ultimate style goal. When utilizing what you already have, the space you end up with will incorporate your personality and history into a whole new refreshed look. There are many ways to go about incorporating a new style while tastefully using the pieces you have to create a unique space full of personality.
Consider Your Space’s Architecture
Begin by evaluating the architecture you’re dealing with. When using existing furniture in a space you’ve already been living in, it can be hard to imagine the room with a different aesthetic. Considering the basic building blocks of what you’re working with can be a great starting place to inspire your new look. If you live in an older or vintage-inspired home, you can easily incorporate a few antique pieces from the same time period as the architecture. Conversely, purchasing a few contemporary, 21st-century pieces, like a sleek lamp or contemporary rug can bring a new modernity to the space.
On the opposite side of the coin, if you live in a contemporary high-rise apartment, incorporating a vintage-inspired ornate mirror or chandelier brings a sense of history and elegance to an otherwise minimalist aesthetic. What if the space you’re living in is a neutral, uninspiring cookie-cutter suburban apartment or home? No worries, because a neutral space leaves room for almost any interpretation you can imagine, and you’re free to mix vintage and contemporary pieces to create your own blend.
Start with a Neutral Color Scheme
The quickest way to make any décor combination clash is incorporating too many color schemes from different eras. Too many, or clashing, patterns can also be an instant eye sore. Beginning with a neutral color scheme can help you refocus the room, making it easy to incorporate the colors you already have. If you’re planning on incorporating vintage pieces with a modern edge, you don’t need dramatic color to create an interesting look. In fact, a loud color can detract from the more interesting pieces you have.
White is the safest color to begin with because it leaves space for vintage or modern wall art or mirrors. Another unifying neutral element can be hardwood. If you’re living in a carpeted space and have older furniture you want to keep, switching out a carpet for hardwood can elevate any style and help tie the mix together. For a less expensive and time-consuming option, consider adding a new rug to refresh the floor.
Embrace What You Already Have
If you want to modernize your traditional furniture or would like to warm up your contemporary look, you may want to consider redistributing your pieces to break up a look that’s too homogeneous. For instance, a traditional dark wood bedroom set is going to create a predominately traditional look in the bedroom if you keep every item together in a small space. However, moving the bedside tables to the living room or the armoire to the dining room frees up space in your bedroom for either new contemporary pieces or fewer items altogether. This allows you to create a whole new look in every room without getting rid of anything!
Another option is to paint the furniture you have. A light-wash of the same color that’s already on your walls can completely change the look of your old furniture. You may find that you love the pieces you have more once they’ve been repurposed or repainted. Simple changes like this can revitalize your living space and give old furniture new life.
One way to look at blending old and new furniture is to evaluate whether you want (or have the ability to create) a predominantly vintage or predominantly contemporary space. If you have mostly antique furniture and want a mostly period aesthetic, consider contemporary accessories and aesthetic rules (such as minimalism). If you have mostly contemporary pieces, consider some antique décor to add in key places.
Blended styles work best when a viewer’s eye can easily make sense of them meaning they should predominantly lean to one style. Another option is to build a theme around a particular piece you love, such as an antique armoire or cabinet, or a sleek contemporary couch. With a large period piece or style as the main eye-catching piece, you’re free to decorate around it with whatever appeals to you.
Use Repetition to Tie it Together
Finding the perfect balance while attempting to use what you have can be like trying to solve a puzzle. One way to help tie the look together can be repetition, either with a color, pattern, texture, or common accessory. If you started with a neutral color palette, repeating one accent color with your pieces can assist in creating a unified look. For instance, white walls, a white slipcovered sofa, and white-washed wood coffee table, regardless of style will look like they belong together.
Adding an element of turquoise throughout, such as wall décor, a vase, and a throw pillow can create even more unity between the pieces. The same can be done with a pattern or style element, such as matching lamps or pillows throughout. A material or element such as gold leaves and a gold leaf tray can be an interesting way to create a common theme throughout a room or home.