Your guide to selecting and mixing contemporary and antique furniture
When a home or space is filled with carefully curated contemporary and antique furniture pieces selected for their shape and form, magic happens. Image Credit @fayehy
A table with sculptural legs, a beautiful and simple chair, a coffee table with an unusual use of material, this is furniture and it is also art.
When a home or space is filled with carefully curated contemporary and antique furniture pieces selected for their shape and form, magic happens. I’ve never subscribed to set ‘style’ or decor theme, to the contrary, I think great joy can be found in creating your own theme which makes sense to no one but feels right to you. This often includes antique furniture.
The beauty of antique furniture is in its rarity, unusual form and the story it tells. A pair of French 1960s Table lamps from @racheldonath_
Working in a space with great bones will it easier for antique furniture to really sing. A room with fabulous natural light, architectural detail like high ceilings, decorative cornices or an original fireplace definitely elevate a space and require less work, but the rules for selecting pieces including antique furniture remain the same.
First things first, get the layout right. Some rooms will call for a prescribed furniture layout which takes into consideration thoroughfares through a room, the intended use of the room, the orientation of windows and views (if you are so lucky) and the surrounding rooms and spaces.
If your space is larger or more flexible in its furnishing orientation options, I would suggest lying on the floor and looking at the outline of the ceiling to give new perspective on the rooms boundaries. A true ‘clean slate’, the layout of the room can be re imagined when you look up to a white canvas, rather than viewing a room with pre conceived ideas based on where furniture previously was or how a room is currently being used.
There really are no rules and certainly there are no mistakes. A great joy of furniture is in its mobility. Rather than subscribe to a theme like ‘modernism’ or ‘scandi’, see these prescribed styles as scrapbooks of ideas and take what you wish from these, mixing but not matching, to find your own rhythm and design identity.
This is where antique furniture can come into place, mixing era’s, provenance and age to create an eclectic mix of interest and depth that only antique furniture can achieve. By embracing your antique furniture piece’s patina and markings, you allow for its story to be told in its entirety, its vintage and history to speak for itself.
Turn function into a form of beauty by selecting a mix of contemporary and antique furniture pieces that sing. A bar stool needn’t be basic and camouflaged. Choose boldly and select pieces that are beautiful in their own right. Dining chairs, a fire screen - these are necessities in a home but choosing pieces that make your heart sing are what elevate a space from practical to beautiful. Incorporate modern pieces together with antique furniture pieces to find a balance that is aesthetically pleasing to you and that permits the intended use of the space, be it a space to entertain, with lots of seating and many conversation points, or a quiet library or sitting area which is calming and soothing.
Create beautiful light by choosing layered, multi height pieces and avoiding overhead lighting like downlight as much as possible. Antique furniture pieces such as lighting, in the form of a pair of French sconces or Italian murano, transforms the necessity for light to an opportunity to create beautiful ambience, interest and mood. Lighting and can prescribe an intention for a room or for a section of a room. Low floor lamps suggest intimate areas to read or conduct quiet conversation, task lighting over a kitchen suggest a hub of activity, dimmers on lights change a mood completely, and are absolutely necessary for dining and entertaining.
Antique Furniture pieces such as lighting, transforms the necessity for light to an opportunity to create beautiful ambience, interest and mood. A Pair of 1940s French Sconces, Rachel Donath
Curating your collection of contemporary and antique furniture pieces for your home is an experience of self expression and actualisation. Our homes tell a lot about us and in selecting pieces for your home, there is the great opportunity to take control of this narrative, of how you want to be seen and most importanly, how you see, or want to see yourself. A reflection of our aspirations, values and goals, our homes exist to inspire and nourish us.
The beauty of antique furniture is in its rarity, unusual form and the story it tells. Contemporary pieces often sit along side antique furniture pieces beautifully and references of how to mix old and new can be found everywhere, each composition unique. When you select contemporary and antique furniture that speak to you, placed together, they will create an eclectic and personal space, every piece chosen for its individual beauty and which together elevate a home in a way that is inimitable.
When selecting antique furniture and contemporary pieces, the common ground is your eye and personal appreciation and taste in art. Mirrors, wall lights or candle holder sconces act as artworks, a door stop as a sculptures, an antique furniture piece that is no longer useful hung as art on a wall. There are no rules except to do what you love, mix and match as you please, move things around often, dont be afraid of the unconventional and never apologise for a space you’ve created, that is beautifully and uniquely, you.
Curating your collection of contemporary and antique furniture pieces for your home is an experience of self expression and actualisation. Image Credit @adrienmeira