Decide what you want
Do you have an aesthetic you would love to see in your home? You don’t have to know everything (thankfully) but having a general idea of how you want to style your home sure does help. Do you favor a more modern look? A more traditional feel? Having a general direction to head in will save you a lot of heartache down the road. Remember, most homes don’t need much work. A little twist on what you already have will go a long way.
If you halfway do anything, it’s not going to turn out well. Your home is the same way. Our tip is to start out with an aesthetic board and find materials and colors that speak to you. You would be surprised how a little planning can make your home a cohesive masterpiece. Seeing how things will meld together upfront gives you time to pick and choose exactly what you want.
Mix modern and ornate
Mixing the two styles will help balance each other out. Use sleek, modern frames in a traditionally styled room or pair a modern chair with an ornate desk. The contrast will work well together, each pulling on the other’s strengths. Mixing the texture and details of ornate furniture with the clean lines of modern furniture gives your space a clean foundation to feature the designs of the ornate pieces.
Also, the elements of modern design schemes lean towards opening up a space and letting the light and air flow through. Sticking with a modern foundation for your design in the walls, floors and build gives your ornate pieces a backdrop. Wall décor, shelving accents and accent furniture are a great opportunity to bring in ornate pieces of design.
If you have a dated piece of furniture, like a vintage wing chair, replace its older fabric with a more modern one. You’ll get to keep the great chair while bringing an entirely new look into the room. Choosing your own pattern can be a great opportunity to elevate your decor, so take advantage of it while you can!
Reupholstering old furniture is a great way to bring new life to a piece you just can’t get rid of. They definitely don’t make furniture like they used to. Even if you find a vintage piece with good bones at a second hand store, reupholstering can tailor the piece to an exact fit to your space! While you’re at it, consider having some throw pillows made from the same fabric to really tie it all together.
Mix it up
Change up where something belongs. Use your creativity to see if a piece of furniture might be better served doing something else in a different room, like using a vintage dresser as a TV stand. Just because a piece of furniture has an intended use doesn’t mean it can’t be used for something bigger and better! Use your imagination and reduce, reuse, and up-cycle!
When we say mix it up, we also mean with colors, finishes, and styles. Good design is all about creating something interesting that pleases the eye. We’ve all seen the same old boring schemes, so shake things up with a few odd ball pieces, patterns, and textures. Your space will have a custom look and feel that can’t be replicated, and that’s what it’s all about.
Don’t forget the rug.
Have you ever stumbled upon a breathtaking rug that you weren't quite sure what to do with? Don’t be afraid to put it to use. Pair it with a simple couch in your living room. People always seem to play it safe with their area rugs. It’s understandable that committing to such a large use of pattern can be scary, but it can have huge payoffs if done right.
It’s ok to have bold pattern in large spaces if your pair it down with more neutral pieces. Choosing solid colored furniture pieces without too much texture is a great way to balance out that loud rug. Consider tying the rug to the rest of the space by finding throw pillows that pick up the colors of the rug and move them throughout the space.
Pair vintage styles with neutral colors
Vintage pieces are typically busy enough, so pairing them with neutral colors will really help to tone things down. If you have a nice, ornate bench, stick it in a neutral room. This will keep the room feeling balanced and comfortable. The neutral colors make a great jumping-off point for the rest of your design.
Neutral colors have become such a phenomenon because of their ability to feature the rest of your décor. Neutrals carry things well over time. Decade colors are great and trendy, but overtime they’ll date your home. However, the neutrals are timeless and can be paired with just about any type of décor. If you’re looking for longevity, this is your best bet.
Embrace rustic storage
Rustic storage is very in right now, and it’s for a good reason too. Attractive storage systems are few and far between, whereas rustic pieces are available at any second hand store, and they can be repurposed to whatever you need them to do for you! Shelves, dressers, and cabinets can be expensive to buy new, so using rustic storage is both creative and frugal.
Our advice when reconditioning furniture is to either commit to the rustic vibe or not. There’s no in between. Also, don’t over clutter your space with too many rustic pieces. A little goes a long way so choose sparingly. The flip side is that with prefab storage and furniture, it can make things look too plain.
Throw a wardrobe into the dining room
Wardrobes are some of the most beautiful pieces of furniture humans have ever invented. Sadly, we also invented the closet, so there’s not much need for them anymore. If you happen to have one, move it into your dining room for elegant storage for dishes and utensils.
In traditional décor, wardrobes can be a little stuffy and dates. However, a wardrobe with a unique finish can really elevate a design scheme if used correctly. You can also refinish a wardrobe with a flashy color or just black to modernize it. The dining room is one of few places you can get by with formal décor, so the wardrobe is perfect for this space.
Have fun with frames
When picking frames people tend to play it safe but adding a bit of flare never hurt anyone. Gold frames were all the rage in the ‘80s and ’90s, but since they have been considered a little dated. Our advice is to mix some flashy gold frames in with your simple ones to provide some pops of color.
Gold is one of those things you either love or really dislike. If gold isn’t your ideal style, you can even use other fun colors. As long as you are able to tie in the colors elsewhere in your space, exploring with color can be very rewarding. Just don’t overwhelm your walls with loud colors and textures. Keep it simple, with subtle pops.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Your room needs splashes of color, and what better way to do that than to paint the ugly chandelier you hate? It’ll spice up the room in no time. Spray paint can do wonders for dated fixtures, accent pieces, and so much more. Pick your favorite color and get to work.
Don’t be afraid to put in a little elbow grease to up-cycle the décor you currently have. People think refreshing your home requires a whole new gambit of things, but that’s not always the case. Often times, that old décor just needs spruced up a little bit. Just give it a quick refresh and see the difference.
Update your kitchen chairs
Pair a heavy table with lighter, modern chairs. The table will look fantastic, and the chairs will be significantly more comfortable than the ones the table came with. The days of buying matchy-matchy furniture sets are over. Mixing up your chairs can really freshen up your look. You can even opt for a bench on one side if you’re looking to save space.
Traditional dining décor can be so heavy in a space. A table that seats eight people comfortably can take up a lot of real estate in your space, so lightening the load with thinner seating can even out the look of the table. Also, mix matching the look of your table and chairs can accomplish that modern custom look we’re all striving for.
Look for the similarities.
If you have an end table with a distinct wooden look, see if you can’t find some picture frames that are made from similar wood. The repetition will be subtle, but the room will feel cohesive. Having incohesive décor can date your home and make it look like nothing is attentional—which isn’t a good look.
There are so many options available for accent décor now days thanks to the internet! Matching wood tones and colors in different areas of your space draws the eye across the room. It’s human nature to look for matching patterns, and matching similarities in home décor really takes advantage of that.
Display what you’ve got.
Try putting your vintage accessories on a modern bookcase. The bookcase will look good with everything on it, and you will finally have a place for all those random things you’ve collected over the years. People are nosey and want to see what you’ve got, so give them something to look at!
Image via: Pinterest.
The trick here is to spend some time matching your things together to keep the shelf looking intentional. Even if your vibe is a little quirky and eclectic, tying it together with a few cohesive elements will polish it up and make it look better than a bunch of random things sitting on a shelf. You can even throw in some small pictures too for some height differentiation.
Coordinating colors will pull pieces from different time periods together. You know that super-cushy, green couch that you love? Find something that matches its green but isn’t quite as cushy. You can keep your couch and tie the room together without having to buy a new couch.
Just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s good design. Good design has reference to older looks and aesthetics while blending in new elements. So, if you’ve got a piece that you’re obsessed with include it in your décor by matching it with some new fresh items. Color is the best way to accomplish this because it is so obvious.
Display old family photos
You’ve got them boxed up in the attic. Why not display some familial pride with a picture from your youth? Or a faded photo of grandma and grandpa’s wedding day? The pictures will be nice talking points for when you have guests over. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so give your guests a look into your life by letting those pictures tell your stories.
To modernize your picture-scape, frame your photos with a large mat and a simple frame. A mat is a piece of hard paper, often embossed, that outlines your photo in the frame. People are using large mats now to draw in the viewers eye to the picture. This gives each picture enough room to breathe.
Rejuvenate outdated technology hubs
If you don’t use your sewing machine anymore, try moving the table to the bedroom. It’d make a beautiful bedside table. It’s no secret that you’re not using those outdated pieces. Some of them can be quite valuable, so parting with them is not always the answer.
As mentioned, great design is all about including interesting pieces and concepts within a space and making them work. Repurposing old utility pieces in your décor brings an edge to your space that a traditional piece just can’t offer. This is also an excuse to not get rid of those treasured antiques.
Put those doilies up
Using doilies for their intended purpose is a little antiquated but repurposing them as super cute wall décor. Frame those doilies your grandma gave you and them right up. It’ll add a bit of texture while making the place really yours. Also, it’s a great way to keep your hand-me-downs safe.
Doilies don’t have to be dated; it just depends on how you use them. Most people have probably never seen them framed and displayed, so you’ll be sure to catch some attention. This is a perfect way to freshen up a dated décor trend that did it’s time, but still deserves some attention today.
Repurpose a fireplace mantle
Fireplace mantels are beautiful, ornate, wood pieces that often aren’t thought about when reusing and repurposing. If you’re able to get your hands on an old mantle sand it, stain it, or paint it to give it some new life. You can use mantles as headboards, shelves or even just a stand-alone detail.
If you’re not interested in removing your mantle from the wall or doing the work of tracking down an old one, just refurbish your existing mantle you’re using now! Everything needs a little sprucing up after a while. There’s no shame in admitting that something needs a fresh coat of paint.
Decorate with old records
If you don’t already have a ton of unused records hidden away somewhere, they’re a dime a dozen at any thrift store or flea market. Hang them in a 3 x 3 layout to add a bit of personality on an open bit of wall. The record covers are perfect peices of wall art in and of themselves.
Old records have stellar artwork on their covers, and the fact that they’re all the same makes them perfect for hanging in sequence. You could even frame the covers for an extra clean look. Unless you’re a vintage music aficionado, you probably don’t need 150 records taking up space on a shelf. Pic your favorites to play, and use a few in your décor.
Use book pages as wallpaper
If you have an old book you’ll never read, tear the pages out and use them as wallpaper on a statement wall in a small room somewhere. Bonus points if the book has pictures. These sheets are perfectly neutral and if done right look so whimsical in a reading area.
If you’re not ready to commit to wallpapering your entire wall with your torn out book pages, you could start small with a few large canvases collaged with the papers! This will still take up a substantial amount of space on your wall and give you that whimsical look. Or you could frame illustration pages in simple frames and hang them on the wall.
Have some fun with marquee letters
Old marquee letters aren’t hard to find, and they make excellent center pieces if you find the right letter. If you can get the lights to work, then add a little dim lighting to your room. If not, maybe you’ll want to repaint it so that it’ll match the feel of your room perfectly. Either way, there are at least 26 different options to choose from.
You can use them for your initials or even your whole name (if you’re that self-absorbed). However, you do it, this is a super cute personal touch that really makes a statement. If you can find large letters, they can even be your space’s focal point, giving your space that industrial look and feel. Although, too much and your house will start looking like part of the set of “RENT”.
Make use of wooden crates
Wooden crates make easy storage and super simple nightstands. Group them together and to create a makeshift, Tetris-like bookshelf or hang them to display things in. They’re so simple you can do almost anything with them! You can also paint or stain them to match perfectly in your space.
There’s no shortage of craft ideas using these wooden crates. They come in all different sizes, so chances are you can find exactly what you need. Keep this trend limited though. One or two occurrences, using them too much can be a little…well, chintzy. The perfect place for these is in the bathroom, to hold a few lotions and potions.
Transform your vintage suitcases
They make great nightstands and side tables. There’s plenty of room to store the things you don’t need for most of the year, and they bring plenty of personality to the room. You can even paint them the color you want to match the rest of your space.
This look works especially great with older trunks made from more traditional materials. You can find elaborate feet and legs from old furniture and attach them to your old trunk and bam, you have a coffee table or nightstand. The possibilities are as limited as your imagination. If you’re looking for inspiration, there are tons of tutorials online covering how to do this.
Update your wallpaper
If your living room still has busy floral wallpaper three decades old, then it might be time to tone it down. Sure, the print is pretty, but most rooms already have so much going on that busy wallpaper’s too in your face. See if you can’t find a cleaner, less busy wallpaper to replace it with instead.
Wallpaper is now being used to incorporate texture into your space. Textured or embossed wallpaper add a layer to your design that’s a little more subtle. We wouldn’t commit to a loud busy pattern in such a large space. The beauty of texture is that it’s an interest to the eye, while being behind the scenes.
Use old door knobs as towel or coat hooks
If you're remodeling an old home, ake those crystal door knobs that aren’t working too well anymore and mount them on a wall somewhere. You’ll get to have working door handles again and your coats, hats and scarves will hang in style. You can even hang your dog leashes on them!
People all too often deal with these squeaky knobs on their doors because they can’t bare sacrificing the charm of those old knobs. We’re right there with you! Those knobs really are part of the timeless look you get from an older home. So, give those gorgeous knobs a new lease on life and use them for something new!