How to Mix Antique Bedroom Furniture with Modern Ones and Get Great Results

There is something very reassuring about having antique bedroom furniture in your cosy home. It gives a sense of warmth and coziness and that is exactly what one looks for in this age of stress and high tension. It also heightens the sense of romance as you relive the regal splendor of erstwhile years.

What is It that Enamors One to Such Furniture?

When you talk of antique or vintage furniture, it refers to furniture which is a minimum of 70 years old and comparatively rare. The furniture involves a great degree of craftsmanship and represents a piece of history.

Such antique bedroom furniture gains an edge over others through its exclusive style, elegance and charisma.  The beauty of each individual piece is matchless. No two pieces are alike as they were all hand crafted. With the element of mass production missing, exclusivity was maintained. The materials used were sturdy and solid and the craftsmanship incomparable. You can actually feel the love and labor of the artisan gone into the making of each piece at those times. Owning such priceless pieces of treasure gives one a sense of pride and forms a legacy to be handed down over many generations.

Besides the aesthetics, one longs for such furniture on account of its durability and longevity. The furniture is no match to any furniture produced today. The fact that it becomes a legacy to be passed on to future generations is alone a testimony to its sturdiness.

Whatever be the technology that changes around us, such antique bedroom furniture will always be timeless and its old world charm can be felt only by experiencing it. If you are a lover of antique furniture, then your bedroom is one of the ideal places to showcase your collection.

Mixing Antique Bedroom Furniture with Modern Ones

When you think of mixing antique bedroom furniture with modern styles of bedroom furniture, at first instance, it seems like mixing oil and vinegar to a layman. How can the timeless beauty and grace of antique furniture go with the bold and futuristic look of the modern furniture, is probably what one may ask.

Though mixing both styles while furnishing your bedroom requires courage and creativity, but the effort can definitely give some great results. A right mix of antique and modern furniture along with the accessories can create stunning effects and put your personal stamp on your bedroom.

Obtaining an eclectic style to the bedroom furniture requires a skillful interior designer as this is not just an assortment of randomly acquired furnishings but a purposeful or meaningful pattern given to the mix of furniture.

In this context, you can adopt some basic approaches used by the interior designer for mixing antique bedroom furniture styles with the modern. It is firstly, necessary for you to do some planning in advance regarding the furniture to be bought, though some spontaneous creations can be allowed. Mainly, you need to decide which style you would be giving more preference or rather which style will dominate your bedroom – the antique one or the modern. Giving equal importance to both styles is a big no-no. You have to be firm as to whether you want a modern room accentuated with the antique touch or vice versa.

Deciding your primary loyalties can be done by answering two questions, namely why you like a particular piece of furniture and secondly, what would be its place in the bedroom.

The first question can be answered by realizing what has attracted you to a particular piece say, its texture, color, lines etc. You can refer to various pictures available and summarize your feelings.

The second question requires some thinking to get the correct answers. You have to decide how and where to place your preferred furniture and what should comprise the rest. While choosing the rest, which would be the opposite style, and you have to resolve whether you want it to be in tune or contrast with what prevails in the room.

How Do You Start?

There is actually no fixed way as such to go about it. It is purely a question of personal taste and preference. You can find some commonalities or complementing pieces between the two with respect to shapes, palettes, or textures.

Vintage bedroom furniture
Photo: Dayna Katlin Interiors

You can browse through various online sites or magazines for different photographs of bedrooms furnished with such mixed styles. You can look at the different ideas, mark those towards which your mind gravitates and store their hard copies in a folder or as soft copies on your computer. You can analyze the information given against each of them and decide if it will go down well for your bedroom.

If you want harmony to reign in the eclectic style, then it is essential for you to choose furnishings that will stand apart with respect to shapes, textures, lines or colors by only a few degrees. If you want some contrast, then you need to choose pieces that will be more apart in the band.

It is essential to obtain the mix of furniture in the right proportions. A bedroom based on modern lines can have either an antique bedside chest or an old restored armchair but not both if they pertain to different styles or periods. The picture on the left has a mix and match of bedside chests and an antique trunk but yet the whole ensemble goes to create one solid look.

You can do the mix and match by following a number of approaches. Listed below are a few of them:

Themes

You can choose a specific theme, say a French or Italian theme or go for Rustic themes. These do look well with classic modern styles of bedroom furniture. You can otherwise arrange your bedroom based on a specific color, pattern or period. You can use your creative imagination and liking for selecting the basic theme.

Antique bedroom furniture styles
Photo: Winder Gibson Architects

Décor

The size of the bedroom will decide the décor. All bedrooms accentuated with antique furniture would welcome chandeliers, rugs, elegant curtains, mirrors, ruffles, velvet etc.  A right balance has to be however, struck while displaying the decorative stuff.  Care should be taken to ensure that you do not pile the room just because you have some decorative stuff to display. The right picture depicts eclecticism at its best with a chrome chandelier, an abstract modern painting and a Renaissance revival cottage-style bedroom set. Truly, a perfect picture of the mix of antique bedroom style and the modern!

antique-bedroom-furniture-ideas
Photo: Rachel Reider Interiors

Colours

Deep and rich hues ideally go with antique inspired bedrooms which include dark browns or rich mahogany shades of furniture. Besides these, cream, red, gold, pink or blue are other color choices for antique based décor. In any case, it is all up to you and your imagination to synthesize various colour combinations. Antique white furniture is another option. A combination of white and dark wood can also look equally appealing (left).

A dash of colour brought to the bedroom with a mid-century console in yellow can be highlighted by the following illustration:

antique-bedroom-furniture-sets
Photo: Housebeautiful.com

Light

As for the light, an antique-inspired bedroom is accentuated more by the yellow glow radiating from a basic chandelier plus additional floor lamps or bedside lamps. You ought not to be scared of mix and match as there are actually no set rules for lighting and lamps.

Precautionary Tips

  • It has to be ensured that the different furnishing styles would not vie in space. Two pieces may be appealing when seen individually, but it should not look odd when placed against each other in a bedroom. The scale should be just right.
  • It is essential not to go overboard but keep things simple while choosing the furniture. If you go overboard then it may result in a visual chaos which will give a sense of confusion rather than soothe the mind.

Where to Source for Antique Bedroom Furniture Sets

It is not everyone who is lucky enough to have antique furniture passed down to them. You have to source it from some reliable places. It is hence essential to give preference to quality parts. If buying genuine vintage bedroom furniture is beyond your budget you can buy furniture from the 1940s or so and get them restored.

One of the major places from where it can be sourced is the antique dealer. Looking on the internet for dealers or antique lovers wishing to sell their items can be one of the ways to get hold of genuine stuff.  Antique bedroom furniture for sale can also be obtained through various auction sales where you can lay your hands on some of the best pieces.

The other option for you is to purchase some beautiful reproduction furniture based on an antique piece of your liking. Furniture makers who have been sensitive to this need have brought out superb reproductions of antique furniture like the Louis, Baroque, Rococo and art-deco styles. The reproduction furniture pieces are in line with techniques used by the French craftsmen in bygone eras and these were passed down from one generation to the next. There are warehouses selling antique replicas through which one can get to see such pieces.

It is becoming very fashionable to obtain Rococo furniture and then toning these grand and opulent styles with neutral colors for the upholstery pieces or using natural rugs. A reproduction item such as a beautiful gilt mirror can definitely add a touch of glamour to your contemporary bedroom. These reproduction pieces can be obtained from several furniture makers in this field or custom made with the help of interior designers or by using your creativity.

How Do You Ensure that You Are Not Cheated with a Fake Antique Piece?

It is possible for a layman to get easily fooled by dealers who can sell them fake pieces of furniture as genuine ones. Following are some pointers to be kept in mind so that you do not get cheated.

Research: Gather as much information as you can with regard to the terms used such as Queen Anne, Louis XV, Chippendale etc. to denote different period styles and also the terms talked off at auction sales. It helps to pay a visit to historic homes or museums to see the items as then identification becomes easier.

Authentic Auction Houses: Choose auction houses that guarantee the items it sells. If you are lucky, you can even get some good bargains there.

Physical Inspection: Look closely and analyze the antique furniture. Several things to be looked for are the wood, tool marks, joints, wood oxidation so that you get an idea about its true age. Wood shrinks as it gets older and hence genuine antiques may often be a bit twisted or deformed.

Type of Wood: The wood used for the antique furniture reveals its age. For example, furniture belonging prior to the 1700s was made of walnut and so Queen Anne chairs and tables or cupboards and benches were available in that wood. Oak too was a popular choice prior to 1700 and enjoyed a revival in the 1900s. Mahogany was largely used for formal dining room furniture in the mid-18th century.

Detailed Examination: Assembling of the furniture has to be looked into. Certain cuts and joints can be characterized to specific eras and so also the type of nails used. Mortise and tendon joints, wooden pegs, dovetail joints were adopted by early craftsmen. The 1700s furniture was made with rose head nails whereas cut nails prevailed in the late 1700s till the later part of 1800s. Today’s age is characterized with staples.

Modern Elements: Look for elements which are too modern to belong to the stated age period of the furniture. Plywood or particle board belongs to the twenty-first century and hence it is necessary to rule out such raw materials.

Many people have picked up the trend of mixing vintage bedroom furniture with the modern and if it is done with good taste and care, then your bedroom will look like a leaf from a niche magazine. As long as you ensure that the end result does not present a chaotic ‘junk house’ effect, this is a trend that will definitely make you stand out in time to come.

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About Staci Kersh

Vintage furniture lover, especially loves to piece together antique beauties such as gas pumps or sewing machines and blend them seamlessly into your home. Loves to talk, walk the dog and hang around garage sales all the time. Drop her a mail at hello@vxotic.com if you want to connect.

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