How to Successfully Mix Vintage and Modern Pieces

A well-designed room artfully fuses together a mix of vintage and modern furnishings, textiles, and accessories. If you’re wondering how to make your space appear more storied and collected, definitely aim to include both contemporary and antique finds. As Kate Figler of Kate Figler Interiors says, “Interior design is much like telling a story - and our homes should tell really memorable ones that stand out because of their particular mix of details and character.” Whether you already own many vintage pieces or are wondering how to best introduce them into your space, you’ll want to read on for designer-approved tips on how to best group together both styles. 


Try this if your space is largely vintage

Wood furniture is going to be majorly popular this year, so don’t be shy about displaying those vintage chests, coffee tables, armoires, and more. Krista Wells of Georgestown on My Mind is all about incorporating antique furnishings into her designs. “I think that classic pieces like heirloom furniture and vintage items are classic for a reason—they're timeless,” she says. 

Photography by Hayley van Wageningen

However, using traditional wooden pieces doesn’t mean that you have to shy away from vibrant prints and patterns—that’s where wallpaper and textiles come in. The key, after all, is successfully creating a fusion between what’s old and classic and what’s new and now. “If you have vintage furniture, try a more modern geometric wallpaper in a moody tone,” Wells offers. “The opposite also goes—if you have dark wainscotting features on your walls, add furniture or textiles with more modern lines to create a nice blend of old and new. The key is the relationship between the two—they don't have to be twins or siblings, more like cousins!” 

Grey Joyner of Grey Joyner Interiors is also a proponent of working some contemporary wallpaper into any room featuring vintage wooden furniture. “Pairing the Alice Wallpaper with a classic mahogany dresser in a primary bedroom is the perfect balance of classic colors with a twist,” she says. 

Have a traditional four poster bed in your room? Joyner offers insight here, too. “I love to create interest and a healthy tension between different patterns in a room, so an oak four poster bed with bright colored floral linens would pair nicely with Jasper Moss.” 

Last but not least, the wallpaper and vintage furniture approach looks great in the dining room, too. “If I was working on a formal dining room with a heirloom dining room table made of maple, I would absolutely bring color and pattern into the space using Daphne Canary wallpaper,” Joyner adds.

Learn How to Add Vintage Touches to a Mostly Modern Space

Maybe you fall on the other end of the spectrum and own mostly newer furnishings but are hoping to give your space more of a vintage feel. In this instance, Figler suggests searching for some larger antique pieces to complement your existing setup. “If a majority of your room pulls in fresh and interesting patterns, such as Pepper’s fabrics and wallpapers, then layer in some vintage finds to ground the room and give it a sense of history,” she says. “ Don’t be afraid to add larger pieces such as a chest of drawers or a sideboard—just make sure that the other finishes in the room are lighter and more contemporary: think lacquer or rattan.” Be sure to add some fun accessories into the mix, too. “Layer vintage artwork, mirrors, or found objects with personal meaning for an eclectic, well-curated look,” suggests Lauren Sullivan of Well x Design.  

Design by Ashley Dalton Interiors 

Note that there’s no need to go overboard and buy all new items for your space. “In general, if 80% of a room is new, then aim to have the remaining 20% be collected or antique,” Figler adds. “In the same way that a beautiful throw pillow or wallpaper can wake up a space and inject it with personality, a cherished antique can give it some depth and meaning.” 

Design by Shannon Claire Interiors