How to Make Modern Things Look Vintage
There is something undeniably charming about vintage decor. The warmth and character of old-fashioned pieces can make any room feel more inviting. But what if you want to incorporate that vintage vibe into your home without sacrificing modern conveniences? Here are a few tips for making your modern pieces look like they’ve been around for decades.
Display Real Paintings
Nothing says vintage like an authentic piece of art. Whether you have a favorite painting by a famous artist or a family heirloom passed down through generations, displaying real paintings can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your modern decor. Consider framing your paintings in ornate frames, as they were commonly used in the past.
- Invest in a vintage-inspired frame
- Choose paintings with warm colors and classic themes
- Featured paintings should tell a story about your home and lifestyle
Use High-Quality Organic Materials
The materials used in vintage decor were often handmade and locally sourced. To evoke that same feel in modern decor, choose high-quality organic materials. Natural wood, linen, wool, and other organic fabrics can add texture and depth, creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Avoid synthetic materials and bright colors, as they’re more suited for modern and contemporary designs.
- Invest in high-quality wood furniture pieces
- Choose organic fabrics in neutral or subdued tones
- Accessorize with natural materials, such as rattan or woven baskets
Buy From Multiple Eras
Don’t be afraid to mix and match pieces from different eras and styles to create your own unique vintage vibe. Combining mid-century modern furniture with Victorian-inspired decor can create an eclectic and quirky look. Make sure each piece is carefully chosen, however, to ensure that everything works together cohesively.
- Choose pieces that reflect different parts of your personality and interests
- Incorporate vintage or antique items from thrift stores or flea markets
- Try to tie each piece together with a common theme or color palette
Install Crown Molding/Base Boards
Crown molding and baseboards were commonly used in vintage homes to add architectural interest and detail to rooms. Adding these touches to your modern decor can achieve the same effect. Crown molding can make a room feel more grand and elegant, while baseboards can add a sense of depth and dimension.
- Choose molding styles that match your home’s architecture
- Paint your molding and baseboards a color that complements your decor
- Keep moldings and baseboards simple to avoid overwhelming the room
Put Up a Picture Railing
Picture rails were commonly used in vintage homes as a practical way to hang and display art. Adding a picture rail to your modern home can create a similar effect. Picture rails are an elegant way to display your favorite art and photographs without putting holes in the wall.
- Install a picture railing along one wall or in a specific room
- Choose a finish that matches your decor (brass, wood, or painted)
- Use picture hooks to hang your favorite art pieces and photographs
Paint it with Lime Wash
Lime washing, a technique that has been used for centuries, can create a beautiful vintage patina on walls and furniture. The technique involves mixing lime, water, and color pigments to create a thin, translucent paint that can be applied to almost any surface. The result is a soft, chalky effect that looks more natural and aged than regular paint.
- Choose light, subtle colors for a more authentic look
- Use a sponge or brush to apply the lime wash in thin, even coats
- Consider applying it just to certain areas, such as an accent wall or piece of furniture
Replace Modern Hardware
Modern hardware, such as drawer pulls and cabinet knobs, can detract from the vintage charm of your decor. Replacing these pieces with vintage-inspired hardware can give your modern pieces a more authentic look. Look for hardware that’s ornate, with dark finishes like oil-rubbed bronze or antique brass.
- Choose hardware that matches the style and era of your decor
- If you can’t find vintage hardware, look for reproductions online or in stores
- Be careful not to overdo it—too much hardware can be overwhelming
Look for Worn Rugs
One of the easiest ways to add a vintage touch to any room is with a worn or distressed rug. Look for rugs that are handmade or hand-knotted, with natural fibers like wool or cotton. The imperfections and natural fading of these rugs can give your room a sense of history and warmth.
- Choose rugs with intricate patterns and warm colors
- Look for rugs with slight fading or wear, as this adds to their charm
- Pair your vintage rug with modern furniture for a trendy, eclectic look
There are countless ways to incorporate vintage touches into your modern decor. It’s all about finding the right balance between old and new, and showcasing the pieces that make you feel the most at home. Whether you choose to display real paintings or replace modern hardware with vintage-inspired pieces, these tips can help you create a welcoming and timeless space that you’ll love for years to come.