When you want to change your interior design, it can be tricky to choose a particular style. Many people believed that you should never mix the old with the new, yet keeping everything in one style can lead to a very dull room. The most inspiring rooms tend to combine contemporary and vintage interior design. By mixing vintage and modern interior design elements, it can give your home more personality and dimension. The question is: how do you bend the traditional style with contemporary? In this article, we hope to answer that and make you understand the differences between the two styles, the types of each interior design style, and how to mix them appropriately to give you a beautiful home.
What is Vintage Interior Design?
Let’s begin by defining vintage style in the home. Vintage interior design can appeal to many people, especially those who like collecting old pieces of furniture. Authentic vintage interiors should make homes appear elegant with a distinctive ‘old school’ dated feel. However, today, you can also purchase vintage-looking pieces. For example, our Charleston Antique, Hollywood Vogue, and new Carnaby mirrored furniture ranges all give off that vintage feel.
What is Contemporary Interior Design?
Contemporary interior design can be tricky to define, considering it is to keep up with the latest trends. They are dynamic and constantly changing. Modern design can include some vintage features depending on whether that is trendy at the time. However, a few key characteristics usually kept throughout have functionality, minimum clutter, and clean lines.
Differences Between Contemporary and Vintage Interior Design
With some components being labeled for a modern interior design, what are the differences between contemporary and vintage interior design?
Traditional vintage interior design likes to incorporate fluid, highly decorative features. In contrast, the contemporary design uses more clinical-looking features with straight lines and basic patterns. Vintage interiors usually have an exaggerated colour scheme. Still, contemporary opts for a cooler colour scheme, with fewer colours being used in one room. Carved wooden edges are preferred when trying to emulate a vintage style, but the modern style is metal, offering a new age feel. Vintage furniture also tends to use bulky furniture of varying stylistic values to create interest, but contemporary favours basic design with functional features, such as more surface area for efficiency.
Both interior design styles have benefits and considerations in using both to improve your home’s functionality and aesthetic significantly. You will also be able to decide whether vintage or contemporary styles will be better suited to your tastes and needs for each component. Our mirrored furniture collections have the luxury of combining both aesthetics because the clean lines and soft colour palette matches well with contemporary design. Still, the vintage feel comes when you notice the gilded legs of some feet and drawers. Plus, mirrors can reflect whatever style you are trying to imitate while making a room feel more spacious.
Types of Vintage Interior Design
To make it slightly more confusing for you, there are subsections to both vintage and contemporary interior design that we will list, but by knowing the types, you can make decisions more easily when picking out your furniture. The types include antique, mid-century, and retro.
Antique is defined as objects that are over 100 years old (or imitate that). It’s usually more ornate with a handcrafted aesthetic despite there being many different eras to discover.
If you read our last article, you may already be familiar with this interior design. This type of vintage started to gain traction in the 40s to the 60s. Organic shapes and clean lines are essential elements of mid-century furniture, which genuinely has a timeless feel.
Retro is a fun vintage aesthetic that began in the 50s and was extremely popular by the 70s, overpowering the mid-century style. This type of vintage uses bold colour palettes, fun shapes, and kitsch furniture.
Types of Contemporary Interior Design
Just like vintage style, there are different types of contemporary interior designs. Because it continues to evolve, there is always more added to the list as time goes on. Types of contemporary design include minimalism, industrial, scandinavian, modern rustic, maximalism, and modern glamour.
If it wasn’t already obvious, minimalism is all about simplicity and streamlining your home. It can provide a clean lifestyle by only including necessary furniture pieces with a specific function. Some people say it helps clear their minds because there are no distracting features. Minimalism also incorporates monochrome colours.
Scandinavian design relies on functionality and simplicity, much like minimalism. Still, they emphasise having a comfortable and welcoming feel to it. This type of contemporary design reflects Scandinavian heritage by tying in warm lighting, forest green, and cream colour schemes. The furniture is usually sleek and uses natural materials to maintain the homely aesthetic without excessive ornaments.
The industrial interior design imitates factories and warehouses; it uses structured pieces of furniture and exposed components such as brick walls on show. The industrial style usually includes an open space plan, plenty of light, and natural colour schemes.
This type of contemporary interior design also features clean lines and practical living, but it’s the antique details and textures that differentiate modern rustic from the rest. This style is perfect for fusing vintage and contemporary. Plenty of wood is used when styling the home, especially if untreated, to give it that raw and natural feel. This style encourages some decorations and antique ornaments to add depth to the space but maintain elegance. Having a sparse interior space with some embellishments paired with bold colours and patterns makes this design very stylish.
This is so confusing! Didn’t you already say minimalism is the contemporary style? Yes, but it is constantly evolving, and that has recently included going in the complete opposite direction to minimalism. With maximalism, more is more with curated items organised around the room; whether it is plants, books, or sculptures, this will play to this style perfectly. Multiple colours should be used without them clashing; go for the same tonal types.
This type has its roots in art deco, so it already has a vintage feel, much like modern rustic. This design is all about decadence and luxury with metallic colour schemes, fluid lines, and soft fabrics everywhere. Mirrored furniture can be convenient here by reflecting this decadence and giving that Hollywood feel to it (and we can definitely help with that!)
How Do You Mix Contemporary and Vintage Interior Design?
So you have all the knowledge about these two different interior design styles, but how do you mix them? We have you covered there with some tips on how to use both kinds in your home.
Textiles can really help create dimension in a room and give a sense of timelessness if you choose correctly. Adding rugs or throws on your furniture can add touches of vintage to an otherwise contemporary interior design.
Having oversized furniture is a great way to scream vintage. Having changeable proportions in different furniture pieces brings a sense of opulence in an otherwise pared-back contemporary space. Perhaps thrift an oversized oak writing desk to put next to your mirrored console table, which you can then tie together the same components of the same colour scheme on both.
If you’re more into vintage style, you might want plenty of ornaments and buy things in all the colours of the rainbow, but that won’t provide a cohesive look to your home. Instead, try to balance this out by choosing one colour scheme, a pattern, or the same fabric. This means your room will have at least one thing connecting everything you collect together.
Lighting can be your best friend when trying to mix these styles because it is an easy way to achieve the look. Focus on pendant lighting or mini glass chandeliers to give a vintage touch in a contemporary space. You can also put a gilded mirror up.
The 80/20 Rule
Surprisingly, there is a tried and tested way of bringing together contemporary and vintage interior design, and that is by following the 80/20 rule. When mixing furniture, it should be 20% vintage pieces with 80% modern pieces. Due to the small spaces in many homes nowadays, many think it is best to stick with modern functional furniture to save space and add small vintage details to mix the two styles. This could be by adding a grandfather clock, retro pillows, or a frame vintage print on the wall.
Contemporary and Vintage Furniture Pairing Examples
Going one step further, here are some specific examples of furniture you can pair together to mix the old with the new that you could implement when thinking of your new interior design.
- An ornate wooden bench with a modern, streamlined mirrored console table.
- A gilded mirror on the wall of a modern room.
- A mirrored dressing table with a vintage fold-out mirror stand.
- A glass dining table with a sumptuous glass chandelier.
- A mirrored stool underneath an oak dressing table.
- An industrial mirrored dining table with velvet chairs with tapered legs.
- A mirrored coffee table next to a vintage velvet-covered low sofa.
- A retro lamp overlooking a sleek modern sofa.
- A gilded headboard above the bed with sleek mirrored bedside tables.
- An abstract art piece above a vintage writing desk.
- A mirrored cabinet with a single antique ornament on it.
We hope this guide to mixing contemporary and vintage interior design styles has helped you learn more and has encouraged you to start changing your home today!
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