Specialists in antique fireplaces & fine antiques since 1969

How to integrate antiques into your home

15 September 2020

If you’re looking for a way to give your home the wow-factor, there’s no better place to start than by shopping for antiques.

At Westland London, our showrooms are packed with everything from antique fireplaces to vintage furniture.

Before you start the search, however, it’s worth thinking about how any of the antique furniture you purchase will fit into your home.

Something that looks fabulous in a magazine or shop won’t necessarily look the same in your home, so it’s important to consider how any potential purchase will complement your existing furniture and decorations.

That shouldn’t put you off, but to make sure you get something that’s perfect for you and your home we’ve put together some top tips on how to mix antiques with modern furniture.

Be level-headed

The best way to make sure your antique pieces will compliment your modern furniture is to think about what you are looking for and where it will go.

If you know you’re after an antique lamp for your living room, think about the existing furniture in there – if it’s already fairly full you probably aren’t going to be able to squeeze in a huge piece which will take up a significant portion of floor space.

Before you start trawling the antique shops, it might be worth:

  • Taking some photos of your current rooms so you can visualise whether the piece you’ve found will look right
  • Getting rough measurements from your main rooms so you know which pieces will fit
  • Being honest – is there something you are willing to throw away if you find an antique replacement or are you going to be stuck with both of them?

Having said all of that, sometimes you have to go with your heart. If you see a piece you love but you’re not sure where it will go, consider whether you can change the room around to accommodate it.

This could be anything from switching the current positioning of your modern furniture to make extra space, or changing the colour of the walls to complement the piece. Unlike newer furniture, antiques can’t be made to measure, so having a flexible mindset from the get-go is a real benefit!

Make a statement

Integrating antique furniture is a great way to make your home stand out from the crowd. These pieces in particular are things we would opt for to make a room look and feel extra special:

  • Fire Places
    Antique fireplaces are eye-catching and give your room a real focal point. A fire also creates a great atmosphere and keeps you warm during the colder months. The huge variety of options to choose from means it shouldn’t be difficult to find a fireplace to suit your home and style, whether you want something ornate from the Rococo period or a simpler, marble Victorian piece.
    As fireplace specialists, a visit to Westland’s Willesden Green showroom can help you get a feel for what you might want. We can also advise on what would work best for your individual needs.
    You should also think about fire accessories to add to the look, with tools such as tongs, brushes and log baskets all great additions to an antique fireplace.
  • Lighting
    Another easy way to integrate antiques into your home is through lighting. There’s less to worry about - like whether the piece will fit - and an antique light can provide a stunning addition to any home.
    Again, there are endless options to choose from but antique chandeliers are always particularly impressive. Whether you want a large 12-branch cut-glass light adorned with pendants and beads, or something less ornate such as a Gothic-style brass piece, choosing a statement light fitting can add something special to your room.
  • Flooring
    When thinking about antiques it’s all too easy to forget about floors but they can be another wonderful way to make a statement.
    Antique carpets can completely transform a space – whether you want something smaller for your bedroom or a vast rug for your spacious living room, there are pieces out there to suit every home across the world.

Less is more

Although we couldn’t get more passionate about antiques, even we understand that less is usually more when it comes to your home.

You don’t want your house to start looking too cluttered- or worse, like an antique shop or jumble sale – so don’t try to cram too much in. Having one antique in a room will make it stand out, whereas if you have five or six pieces they are likely to take attention away from each other and feel less ‘special’ than they otherwise would.

Keep contrasting

Just because you’ve got an antique piece in your room doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of modern furnishings as well. In fact, embracing and highlighting the differences between the two can create a stunning look, and mixing antiques with modern furniture is more on- trend than ever.

Why not hang a piece of modern art above your antique sideboard? Install your new digital clock above the Georgian fireplace? Or surround your modern dining table with Baroque-style chairs?

Colour and style

Once you have your new antique piece, it might be worth thinking about what else you can do to help it fit in with your existing modern furnishings.

  • Consider which colours will complement it – for example, a jet black fireplace would look great set against a lighter wall, while a cream marble fireplace could be crying out for a darker grey background.
  • Similarly, if you’ve got an ornate, intricate antique fireplace in your bedroom, patterned wallpaper is going to detract from the piece rather than highlight it so it might be time to get your steamer out and get stripping.
  • Is your flooring working with your piece or against it? If you’ve fallen in love with an antique rug, think about whether it would be better to have wooden flooring or tiles rather than carpet to really make it stand out.

Variety is the spice of life

You might think that if you start buying antiques you should collect things from a certain era or region, but your home will look all the better if it’s layered with pieces from different periods.

Don’t veto an antique just because it’s not the same style as something you already own - as we mentioned before, contrasts should be embraced!

If you’ve got a gothic-style light in your living room, why not go for Art Nouveau in the bedroom? If you like it and it fits in the room, don’t let the differing styles put you off!

Give things a refresh

Just because an item is antique doesn’t mean you should be scared to change it to fit in with what you want - just make sure you know what you’re doing.

For example, if you’ve got your hands on a bargain armchair but the seat colours aren’t right for your room, why not get it reupholstered? It isn’t something you should be afraid of, but it’s definitely worth taking it to a professional who knows what they’re doing so that the value of the piece isn’t taken away by any work that is carried out.

Think outside the box

If you see something you love but can’t decide what to do with it, try thinking about some of its more unusual functions:

  • Use an antique drinking bottle as a vase for an elegant flower display
  • Hang modern art in old frames
  • While you might have no need for an antique dinner to serve food, plates can be displayed on walls or racks to add another feature to your home

Outside space

If you’re desperate to buy an antique piece but just don’t have room for it in your home, why not pick out something for your garden instead?

From stone urns to gatepost finials, outdoor antiques can add an extra element to your lawn. It also gives you the chance to go for something a little more creative than you perhaps would indoors - these garden lions would certainly be a conversation starter!

Obviously there are different considerations for outdoor antiques - you might not have to worry about whether the piece will complement your wall colour but you do need to consider the weather, as well as if your outside space is secure enough for it to be left there when you’re not at home.

Mixing antiques with modern decor can be hugely rewarding and our tips should help you feel more confident about how they can fit perfectly into your space.

Now that you’re prepared to start looking, our Willesden Green showroom is a great place to start and we’d be happy to help with any more queries you might have.