Design | Old and new - mixing antiques with contemporary pieces

There's nothing like antique pieces, often inherited, to make a country house feel like home. Antiques add gravitas and depth to an interior – a sense of history and heritage – but that doesn’t mean that interiors have to be stuffy or busy. I like to mix the old with the new but there is a knack to combining pieces from different eras.

One way to work antiques into a contemporary design is by paying close attention to colour and materiality. The images below are a great example. Our client had two antique chairs which she absolutely adored. We used these along with some beautiful old prints to create a focal point in the entrance hall. We then carried this theme through to the adjoining sitting room by using shades of the blue for the soft furnishings and commissioning bespoke furniture in a similar rich, dark wood. We had the armchairs and upholstered footstool especially made in a style that nods to traditional but used contemporary fabrics to pull it all together.

The project below is another example of how to blend antiques with contemporary pieces. The point here is that it’s OK to mix dark and light wood in a single project. For example, the antique dining table and chairs create a sumptuous formal dining room while the contemporary pieces in the sitting room bring a lighter touch. We have purposefully used a similar wall colour and flooring to create a harmonious feeling throughout these rooms.

Another approach is to be more eclectic, as the image below shows. The hero piece in this room is the antique dining table but the client didn’t want the room to feel too stuffy. To bring a sense of playful informality, our client found chairs in three styles which we reupholstered in subtly different fabrics for an updated look. Rather than opt for more dark wood, we used hand painted sideboards to add an injection of contemporary chic. The result carefully balances the old and the new for a modern take on classic style.

I hope this has whetted your appetite for mixing antiques with modern pieces. For more inspiration have a look at the Oxford Manor House project.

Till next time,
Happy antiquing

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