Mixing vintage and modern furniture is predicted to be a big 2023 trend in home decor, according to Pinterest. (Although, hasn’t this always been a thing?) Curious about the antique room aesthetic? Read on for affordable ideas to bring this vibe into your own space. You can also jump to my tips for navigating local marketplaces for free and cheap vintage furniture.
Guide to Mixing Vintage and Modern Furniture
- What is the Antique Room Aesthetic?
- Design Examples: Mixing Vintage and Modern Furniture
- More Inspo Sources and Photos
- Where to Find Bargain Antique Furniture
- Tips and Tricks for Bargain Antique Shopping
- Designers/Bloggers to Visit for More Ideas
What is the Antique Room Aesthetic?
Stay with me, you lovers of Danish modern design. This is not cottagecore reinvented. There’s space for all of us in the latest vintage and modern furniture movement. The antique room aesthetic is just a thoughtful blend of more modern furniture with antiques or vintage pieces.
Technically, antiques are 100+ years old and vintage just means old. Not really. Vintage means “of age.” Close enough.
Design Examples: Mixing Vintage and Modern Furniture
It’s not surprising that the vintage vibe is coming back. We’re fresh off years of clean lines and crisp white paint dominating home decor. Then Covid hit and our sterile white rooms needed to become literally sterile… oof! Can you see where I’m going with this? Of course we now crave cozy spaces and warm antiques to add comfort to our homes!
London-based designer Anna Haines does this beautifully and her portfolio offers plenty of inspiration. Here’s a sample, but check out her site to see more gorgeous shots.
Katie Varela features a vintage dresser in her living room and it looks great with her timeless (newer) sofa.
Another beautiful dresser, probably antique, adds depth to Patti Roberts’ neutral bedroom. She combines modern and traditional art on the dresser and in her Instagram photos, you can see a nightstand in the MCM style that complements this piece. Her neutral color palatte connects the antique and more modern furniture.
I desperately wish one of these ladies would come to my house and advise. They do a great job of adding vintage vibes without the room feeling dated.
Give Old Furniture New Life
Don’t forget – paint can be your friend and rescue ratty old furniture. Check out this this blog post for tips. My advice goes for any finished/stained/sealed wood, not just cabinets – General Finishes is a great go-to paint.
More Inspiration Sources and Photos
Mixing vintage and modern furniture has endless possibilities. Love a moody room with rich paint colors and dark wood accents? This look is for you! If you prefer light colors and neutrals (and you just painted your whole house white), you can also pull this look together. It’s very flexible.
I also pulled photos from a few retailers; perhaps they will inspire your next Facebook Marketplace search for an affordable, authentic piece of vintage furniture. Or perhaps you’ll think about mixing modern furniture with antique accessories or artwork.
The mirror that started it all… or a vintage revival. Here it is with a modern coffee table and standing lamp.
This image is intriguing; the dining table is basically modern art set in a traditional room. Here’s the trend in reverse, with the furniture as the modern element. Notice the traditional casement windows and artwork in the background.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a beautiful walnut sideboard (with a pricetag to match). However, if that’s not in your budget, wouldn’t a thrifted vintage buffet also look great here?
Along these lines, dining room furniture is easy to find for sale locally, if you have the muscle to move it. Sometimes you can repurpose a dresser as a buffet. Here are two items I just pulled from Facebook Marketplace:
This Serena & Lily chair reminds me of Jenny Lind spindle furniture. It looks great with modern textiles.
You could splurge on a Chesterfield sofa (Anthropologie sells one). Or, recover something similar rescued from a local seller (see below!). These often turn up in my used furniture searches. Mix it with modern metallics for an updated style.
Where to Find Bargain Antiques
If you’re new to the world of bargain shopping for antiques and vintage furniture, there has never been an easier time to find a deal. Post-Covid, plenty of people are cleaning house and passing along family heirlooms.
I suspect there is some regional variation as to which are the best sources, so if Facebook Marketplace is not your favorite, maybe NextDoor is a better bet. Here’s where I look for deals regularly:
Facebook Marketplace – locally, this is far and away the best source in Northern Colorado. Is it #1 where you live, too? Tons of neat, vintage furniture and antiques for sale.
Nextdoor – if you wade through the bobcat sightings (just me?) and navigate to the sale section, there are good deals to be found.
Craigslist – yep, it’s still going, though rapidly losing ground to Facebook Marketplace. Check out my latest great find, below!
Etsy – for more handcrafted items, so antiques are often spruced up for resale. Prepare to pay for shipping.
eBay – the original source for deals on antiques and specialty items.
Chairish – the upscale source for beautiful antiques and artifacts.
Plus, your favorite local thrift and consignment shops!
Good Find in Bad Shape?
If you find something that’s in rough shape or has dings and dents, just paint it! Check out this blog post for the easiest paint to use with old woodwork – no sanding required!
My Tips and Tricks for Bargain Antique Shopping
Want to dive into some great bargain hunting? Here are my best tips and tricks so you can stay focused and not get overwhelmed.
Focus Your Search
Try to hunt for specific pieces. Want to add a vintage dresser to your bedroom? Perhaps a neat table for your entry area? Have this in mind when you start looking. Otherwise, it’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed by the amount of STUFF people are trying to unload.
Also, set a budget for yourself to narrow down your search. If you spot a great piece and it’s overpriced, be patient – it might come down or you might be able to negotiate in a couple of weeks. If you love MCM style, you might pay a bit more since it’s back in vogue.
Start Looking Early
Start looking now. Even if you’re not ready to buy or move a piece of furniture, it helps to have a general sense of pricing and item availability in your local area. This takes time to scout out. You should start looking at listings a few times a week to figure out what most sellers charge for a dresser or velvet chair.
Here’s an example. I really want to find a vintage curio cabinet with curved glass, like the one pictured below. There’s often one or two for sale in my area, ranging in price from $100-300, but I’m waiting for the perfect cabinet with three curved glass panels to come along.
Don’t Impulse Buy Unless You LOVE It
I bought this secretary on a whim for $50. I thought it was rare and unique, but I’ve since learned that everyone in town is sloughing off secretaries left and right. However, this one has more detailing (and working keys!), and I do love it. Even though it was an impulse buy, I think I got lucky here. But I ran the risk, since I didn’t shop around first.
My advice here is to *try* to be patient. You might discover that the price is too high once you’ve gained perspective on a piece of furniture. You’ll also know when something comes along that is actually a great find.
Reach Out to Sellers
Don’t be hesitant to contact sellers. If you spot something intriguing, reach out and ask a few questions. That will put you on the seller’s radar as a potential buyer.
UPDATE: Just as this post was about to go to press, a seller contacted me to see if I would still like her curio cabinet – for free! Just a few paragraphs above, I mentioned I’ve been looking for my ideal curio. Back in November, I found this cabinet on Craiglist and contacted the seller about the dimensions. I had forgotten all about it until she emailed me!
I can’t believe my luck. It’s all because I contacted her with a few questions and she still had my email.
Politely Offer Less
If you want to bargain with a seller, my advice is to approach them politely and respectfully. They might have emotional attachment to the item. It also helps if you can wait a few weeks to see if the item sits on the market. The seller might feel more motivated to negotiate.
When I found this Martha Washington cabinet, I coveted it for my knitting supplies but I really didn’t need it. Luckily, no one snapped it up and after two weeks, I asked the seller if she would accept a slightly lower price. As often happens, she did!
Speaking of vintage… yes, that is green carpet in my office. New flooring is TBD.
There you go! Affordable ways to hop on the trend of mixing vintage and modern furniture, if you’re not already there.
Designers/Bloggers to Check Out
As you know, I specialize in DIY home improvement – more the remodeling and less the decorating of spaces. However, I love to browse beautiful blogs for inspiration and these women have curated lovely homes over the years.
These bloggers are especially good at mixing vintage and modern furniture, and they have very different styles. If you’re looking for more inspiration and ways to balance new and old, definitely explore these sites:
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes – She’s the ultimate. Truly. She turned a free grand piano into a kitchen island and she is hilarious.