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How to Mix Vintage and Modern Home Design in a Way That Works

Lifehacker logo Lifehacker 11/8/2020 Elizabeth Yuko
a living room filled with furniture and a mirror © Photo: Followtheflow (Shutterstock)

Gone are the days of going to a traditional furniture store, seeing a floor model room setup you liked, then buying it and recreating the look lamp-for-lamp in your own home. Now, our homes are carefully “curated” in a way that’s supposed to reflect our personal style and philosophy—or at least look good on Instagram.

This look frequently involves mixing modern design with a few tasteful vintage pieces. Sounds great, but how do you actually do that? The New Orleans publication Gambit asked some local interior designers for some tips. Here’s what they said.

How to Use Basic Design Principles to Decorate Your Home

Design around a vintage statement piece

Find a vintage piece of furniture or decor that you can’t leave behind at the flea market? Buy it now and worry about whether it matches later. “When you can find a big statement piece, it really makes the budget go much farther than trying to bring in small pieces that work with what you have,” interior designer Whitney Jones told Gambit.

Don’t be afraid to go bold

If you’re completely over the seemingly never-ending trend of gray walls, add in some color and patterns and make your space your own. But it doesn’t always work to just throw up some mid-century patterned wallpaper and call it a day. “It’s not just you putting a bunch of things in a room,” interior designer Chad Graci told Gambit. “They all have to have some sort of language and work together and be there for a reason...If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s probably not right.”

When Decorating With Color, Use the “Rule of Three”

Pair simple modern pieces with ornate vintage finds

Sometimes vintage pieces are classic wooden dressers that fit in anywhere. Other times, they command attention. In those cases, surrounding them with sleek, modern furniture and accessories helps everything mesh together and not seem as though the different time periods represented are competing with each other.

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