Vintage interior design can be everything from a rustic farm style to a luxurious and expensive-looking villa – and it doesn’t really matter if you’ve actually spent a lot of money on it either. If you find yourself rummaging through second-hand shops on a regular basis or just look a bit too much forward to the old furniture you might inherit one day, you’ve definitely found the style of your dreams.
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The only problem is, of course, to find the balance between charmingly old school and a living room that looks like it belonged to one of your eccentric aunts. Vintage can, after all, become a bit too overwhelming and rather dusty-looking even if you’re not able to style it properly and pair it with other pieces to balance everything out.
Luckily, we have a handful of excellent ways to give your home a flair of vintage without looking like you’re trying to set up another second-hand shop in your own living room. Here are a few tips to get you started so that you can get the style you’ve been looking for – as well as many more reasons to hunt down a few more vintage pieces.
First: Think about the eras
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to consider the fact that vintage can be everything from brown, flowery curtains from the ‘70s (why was everything brown back then?) to large wooden furniture from the 1900 century with a more majestic style. While you can easily mix and match a bit, this has a tendency to look cluttered unless you actually know what you’re doing.
While one of the interior designer’s best trick is to incorporate styles from the different eras, the secret is to avoid cluttering it up and rather focusing on keeping it to a minimum. That way, it’s going to be much easier for you to get the kind of look you’ve been working for – and you will still have a bit of space left to breathe in as well.
When you’ve understood the basic ideas behind the elements and learned to pace yourself even if you have a ton of ideas for your new home, it’s time to get started.
Have a look at the decoration tips below in case you’d like to go for something rustic like a farmhouse or something a bit more chic such as a French retro look. It just makes it a bit easier to pick your favourites before you go out to scavenge for decoration supplies at your local second-hand shops or online.
Want a farmhouse style? Look for this
While it seems like the farmhouse feeling is something that’s exclusive to actual houses on a farm, it couldn’t be further from the truth. You can absolutely achieve this look within a small studio apartment, for example, in the middle of the city or even highlight it in a rustic house.
How far you’ll be able to take it depends, of course, on your location as well as your general budget. Mix and match as you please, and get ready to wake up to a charming and wholesome home every morning.
To begin with, it’s a good idea to consider what you associate with a farmhouse. You’ve probably been in a few actual farmhouses before; think about what you saw in their kitchen and living room, and work your way through your home from there.
Most of these homes tend to have a heavy focus on functional furniture and utensils, as the people who lived there planned on relying on them to last for a long time. They would rarely paint their walls in crazy colours either, by the way, as being at home after a long day of manual labour meant to relax with a cup of very black coffee and the latest newspaper.
Keep the colour palette neutral and bright, with shades you’d find in nature such as brown, grey, and dark green throughout your rooms. We’re talking simple, sturdy, and functional design so keep this in mind to get the right look.
Go for something sturdy
As mentioned above, frail decoration, chairs that are nice to look at but unbearable to sit in, and precious little cups to drink coffee from in the afternoon have no place in a farmhouse and it will make your home look a bit less thought-through than what you had in mind.
Think large wooden furniture such as these exquisite leather sofas, copper utensils for your kitchen, and sturdy stoneware to set the dinner table with. Remember that most farm families decorated and furnished their home slowly over time which, of course, meant that the decoration often looked a bit random. A pillow here and a pillow there is an excellent approach to achieve the style, in other words.
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Although you can always go positively nuts and shower your home in every single farmhouse element you can get your hands on, this is really not necessary. The look is easily achieved with a couple of simple items that speak farm charm loud and clear such as butcher block counters, vintage furniture, and apron sinks.
If you think like a farmer, you’re also quite likely to end up with the look of a farmer – at least in terms of interior design. Pick out homely pieces from a flea market and pair it with another hand-me-down from somewhere else. Mix a few of these elements together, and always remember that you don’t have to go all out in order to get the right style.
It’s all you really need, to begin with, so continue to pick up curiosities from your second-hand shop and you’ll probably end up with the right look, in the end.
Attempting to streamline the look is often just as expensive as it is impractical, by the way; besides from making the ghost of past farmers laugh as you strive to achieve a look they tossed together over a couple of decades, you’re also beating the point of the farmhouse style.
Feeling French? Here’s how to style your home
Next up is the French vintage decor and it really doesn’t matter if you’re into the French fashion or not; interior design inspired by France will either lean on the slightly more modern Parisian homes of the 17th, 18th, and 19th-century homes – or it will be a part of the cosy French countryside design.
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The Parisian homes of this era were, undoubtedly, a mix of fancy monarchy design and an eclectic and playful approach to design. It might be difficult to grasp, to begin with, but just to picture a home in Paris around this time or have a look at some pictures around the web before we go through the different elements.
You will probably get it right as long as you have some inspiration along the way.
First of all, the history of the French interior design must be respected historically. This means that there will be elements of grandeur, fancy furniture, tall doors, and rosettes decorating the ceiling. The French fashion was, in general, very popular back then and the elements you associate with grand will definitely also be a part of this design so trust your gut feeling, first of all.
Another part to keep in mind that makes this interior design different from the rest is the approach to anti-decor. This is exactly what makes the style so much fun; the decoration might look like it hasn’t been thought through properly, and the elements may even look like they don’t work together. Which is precisely why, of course, they end up working together, in the end.
Get a bit eccentric
You should try to be playful while decorating the rooms and think outside the box in order to get it right. Keep in mind that those with money during the 17th century would often be rather eccentric and definitely a part of those leading the fashion of the day – so, of course, their homes will reflect their personality as well.
It might be the reason behind the French interior design’s enormous popularity too, though, as it is both eye-catching and easy to recognise. A living room styled in this fashion, with quirky design and surprising splashes of blue that actually end up looking natural is easy for a trained eye to recognise as simply French.
It is, after all, the effortlessly chic that often attracts us when it comes to this type of design and you should try to achieve the same with your home. Be a bit playful and add some decoration that you wouldn’t normally have thought about.
While redecorating can be a lot of fun, it can also get exhausting unless you have a plan in mind. If your home is large, you can always sketch out what you have in mind so far and work your way to the right look from there.
That way, it’s going to be way easier to spot whether or not the elements work together and if you have room for a few more pieces of furniture.