How to get the contemporary vintage look
For fans of the vintage look, there is little more exciting than finding the one show stopping piece that ties your décor together. Whether you’re a fan of the early utilitarian design from the 30s and 40s, or the feminine curves of mid-century modern, we’ll show you how to strike the right balance between vintage chic and contemporary living without making your home look like a museum exhibit.
Creating the vintage look in your period home relies on selecting key pieces or themes from your era (or eras) of choice and steadying them with new materials and updated colour schemes for a sinuous look. We suggest starting with core elements of your room such as flooring and wall coverings initially to provide structure to your interior scheme. A true vintage home design has usefulness and practicality at its heart, so choosing a floor that is easy to clean and durable will give your home an authentic feel. It is worth getting advice from flooring experts such as CTD Tiles. Expert knowledge will accentuate your vintage interior and ensure you get the style you’re looking for.
(Credit: Harry Seidler & Associates. Photographer: Chris Colls. Picture of Gissing House built 1972, Water Street, Wahroonga, Australia).
Showroom elegance may look impressive, but it doesn’t suit vintage design which is all about recreating a homely, lived-in look. In the previous century, home interiors grew organically with items of furniture, decorative objects and fabrics collected throughout the years. To recreate this look, you don’t need to worry too much about pristine collectables or matching furniture. The key here is to create a comfortable design that looks acquired rather than considered, so if you’re worried about sticking granny’s floral vase with a glossy side table, don’t be. Anything goes.
Accentuating your walls is one of the quickest ways of cementing a vintage design and adding visual impact to a lacklustre setting. Each era has its own iconic look. If your home is a homage to the swinging sixties, your inner designer’s mind will no doubt be swimming with ideas of mod symbols, bright Warhol-esque pop prints and curved plastic furniture. If you’re aiming for seventies style then palm printed walls and cocktail chairs are probably more likely to appeal. While utilising elements of your chosen era is essential for great vintage design, we recommend observing a little caution when dressing your walls. Consider the room as a whole and use balance when dressing to avoid clashing colour schemes. If, for example, you were to add palm print wallpaper to your room, consider lighter shades elsewhere in the room to counter it.
The crowning glory in any successful scheme are the accessories that draw your interior space together in a seamless design. There are lots of designers on the market that focus specifically on vintage style such as Orla Kiely, whose vividly coloured patterns have spilled out into homewares, cooking and dining utensils and even scented candles on a wave of popularity. These designs offer the best of both worlds – vintage styling produced in a modern way. But for our money, nothing can quite compare to the appeal of real-life vintage finds; tan leather sofas with button detail, an original Ercol table or faded steamer trunks used as side tables. Scour the antique markets such as London’s famous Portobello Road for authentic treasures and embrace charity shop bargains for true vintage accessories to make your home uniquely yours. If you’re not sure what to look out for, Georgian furniture is expecting a revival, so keep your eyes peeled.