Antiques provide a unique charm and character that modern decor simply can't replicate. Their presence bestows upon our homes a connection to the past, a sense of history and a story to tell.
“Connecting to the past with personal items that have a story to tell helps to provide a sense of history and connection”
Interior Designer Henriette von Stockhausen
Whether you've inherited family heirlooms or you are keen to find hidden treasures at a local antiques shop or fair, incorporating heritage pieces into your home can add depth, history, and personality to your space.
But when it comes to decorating with antiques, where do you begin? Styling your home with these wonderful pieces can feel daunting. However by bearing a few key principles in mind, you can seamlessly integrate antique pieces into your decor to create an inviting and unique atmosphere in any room.
There are many ways to decorate your home with antiques. Here are our top 5 tips to get you started:
Tip 1: Choose Antiques You Love for Your Home
When it comes to decorating with antiques, one of the most important things to source is unique, high quality pieces that you love. By satisfying these three key elements, your pieces will fit into your home with the natural elegance of something that is meant to be.
“I very much like to use antiques both for myself and in the projects I work on for clients. Antique furniture can bring soul to a house in the way a newly made piece does not. I really enjoy scouring antique fairs, shops and markets to find wonderful one off pieces.”
Interior Designer Emma Burns
A great option for those looking to buy antiques for the first time is to start out by visiting some museums and exhibitions for inspiration. Here you can also hone your knowledge on certain genres, styles and quality by looking at the best of the best.
We would then recommend heading to an antiques fair so you can see pieces up close, ask questions and really get to understand the style of antiques you appreciate the most. All the exhibitors at the leading fairs are vetted and will be happy to share their knowledge and passion for their genres.
While looking at the pieces, take some time to think about the style of décor you prefer. Do you like traditional or contemporary? Eclectic or minimal? Once you have a good sense of your own personal style, it will be easier to shop for antiques that fit your overall vision for your home. Bear in mind you will need to be prepared to pay a bit more for it than you would for a mass-produced item. But remember, unique antiques are worth the investment - it is an item you will cherish for years to come as it adds character and charm to your home.
Tip 2: Follow Your Mood When Styling Your Antiques
When you’ve got your antique piece safely home, a lovely thing to do is consider the emotion it evokes in you and what placement is most fitting to that feeling.
Perhaps it is a sculpture full of gaiety, such as a delightful art deco bronze, that brings a smile to your face whenever you catch a glimpse of it. An ideal spot might be a transitory space such as a hallway, so it may lift your spirits often as you pass by.
You might have acquired a piece with great presence and seriousness, such as a striking bronze bust or animalier sculpture. These pieces demand ones full attention, at least some of the time, and are suited to spaces where they can be admired at length from comfortable seating. This makes them at home in living and dining rooms, where they command attention from a spot on the mantlepiece. Alternatively, you might wish to have the artwork stop you in your tracks, and place these grand antiques in an otherwise transitory space, such as an entrance hall, foyer or stairway.
Smaller pieces are wonderful at amping up ones decoration in the casual formality of your home. Placing classical antique sculptures on tables, chests, consoles, bookshelves, or dressers as decorative accents not only adds personality, but also serves as a conversation starter.
Tip 3: Pay Attention to Proportions, Scale, Height and Light
When it comes to antiques, pay attention to proportions and scale. A piece that is too large or too small for the space will look out of place and can throw off the entire look of a room. Consider the size of the piece in relation to the other furnishings in the room, as well as the overall size of the room itself.
The height of the piece is also important, as you will struggle to enjoy those that are not easily in your line of sight. For small and medium sized antiques, this can be achieved by placing them on a dresser, table, mantle or shelf.
Then of course there is the illumination of your piece, as no antique would appreciate being hidden in an unlit corner! A captivating effect can be created by finding a space where the changing light (both natural and otherwise) effect the presence of the piece at different times of day and night.
Tip 4: Integrate Antiques with Your Existing Decor
When it comes to integrating antiques with the overall aesthetic of your home, there are so many options that you’re not hugely limited. You can go with a more integrated look, partnering a modern abode with antiques featuring clean lines and simple designs, or in a home with a more traditional feel, featuring pieces with ornate details and richer colours.
However, there’s no need to limit yourself to one style of antique when decorating your home as you can use antiques to add contrast and interest to your décor. Pairing an antique piece with more modern furniture can create an eye-catching look. Mixing and matching different styles can add interest and depth to your space and a juxtaposition between antique and interiors style can create an eclectic, whimsical vibe.
And lastly, although antiques can make great statement pieces in any room, don’t forget to also incorporate other design elements into the space. Consider adding new window treatments, paint colours, or lighting fixtures to complement your antique finds.
Tip 5: Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment and Have Fun!
There are ways to be more creative with a pieces placement in your home. One of these is siting them in locations a little out of the ordinary. We’ve seen glorious examples of nude sculptures looking phenomenal in a bathroom setting, where they can be admired during a soak in the bath!
The unique features of your space will define the perfect home for your antique, so experimenting is a must. Don’t be afraid of being creative and innovative with your space and art. Bear in mind an antique’s three-dimensional design element means no place is truly off-limits, so we’d recommend you move the design piece around to find the ideal placement. The sculpture will let you know it’s in the right place when it becomes a supplementary highlight of your aesthetic theme.
Decorating with antiques can be a great way to bring a bit of history into your home. We hope that these five tips will give you the knowledge and confidence to start shopping for some vintage items that will perfectly fit your own style. From choosing timeless pieces to considering lighting options, take note of our advice so that you can find the perfect antique accents to complete your decor. And most of all, enjoy the process of finding beautiful antiques and incorporating them into your space!
If you would like to find out more about the antique sculpture and art glass that we specialise in at Hickmet Fine Arts, please get in touch as we’d be delighted to speak with you.