How to Mix Antique and Modern Furniture

There is no design rule that states all furniture in a room or house must match. In fact, mixing and matching styles and eras can give a home a look and feel unparallelled to the matchy-matchy look.

Mixing different looks is a great way to create a unique space and showcase your individual style. This doesn’t mean to fill a room with a hodge-podge of eclectic items. Instead, you should know what exactly you’re trying to achieve.

The Spruce has some great tips on some possible directions to get your started:

  • Modern or contemporary decoration with antique accessories.
  • Antique decoration with modern or contemporary accessories.
  • Paired or grouped items built around a particular contemporary or antique showcase item.
  • Modern and antique decoration selected around a theme such as “simplicity,” “shabby chic,” “shades of blue,” etc.

These are just a few themes and there are a variety you can choose from. Once you decide, you’ll be able to use that theme in selecting, mixing, and matching contemporary, modern, and antique items and accessories.

Hey There Home mentions that it’s better to follow the 80/20 rule. This means you should choose one design style to be your main character and another to play a supporting role. A great place to start is the big furniture in your space – as those will most likely make up the 80 percent. Keep those pieces one design style and let the other 20 percent be the accent style. For example, modern furniture with antique accents.  

Keep in mind, you can find treasures at your local thrift stores, antique stores, and vintage used furniture stores. Not everything has to be bought new, and often times someone else’s cast-off pieces become beautiful accents in another’s home. At Louisville Mercantile, we offer a variety of furniture from several eras.

As you explore different options and begin brainstorming, consider these options that would pair well.

Dressers aren’t for just bedrooms. Vintage or antique dressers in living rooms are unexpected, but look right at home. Dressers also offer storage. Use a TV on top, or display other items and collections.

An gold, ornate french mirror looks great in a modern room.

An antique cabinet can function almost as a statement piece in a modern, sleek kitchen.

A modern Lucite or glass dining table surrounded by Lucite chairs is stunning when paired with an ornate crystal chandelier or a antique silver mirror.

A rustic or contemporary dining table paired with modern aluminum chairs creates terrific contrast.

Liberally use ethnic textiles which look good with everything.

Using a large, antique oriental rug in a modern room gives the room unexpected warmth and color.

Go with a little patina. Find a large enough item that displays the patina in a beautiful way. This photo shows modern furniture with an old chest with aged patina.

A piece of modern art paired with antiques creates a pop.

A fireplace mantel in a modern room can really become a focal point if there’s a single, ornate, antique piece placed on it.

In conclusion, creativity has no bounds as long as you follow a few parameters. Homes that exude eclectic character usually take a side road from the main road of ‘matchy-match’ style and colors.

Use your creativity and try a few of these ideas out for yourself! Imagining redoing your whole home can cause you to feel overwhelmed, so instead take on small projects and go at it a little at a time. And last of all, have fun, and find pieces that speak to the character of you and your family.