History & Culture / Home & Family

Decorating With Antiques and Vintage Treasures

Antiques are items that have value due to aesthetics or historical significance. To truly qualify as an antique, most experts state that an item must be at least 100 years old. However, people generally use the word “antiques” loosely and often interchange it with what can best be described as vintage treasures. These are items that are appreciated for their age but may not be as old as antiques. Hence these prized objects may be under 100 years old. However, the terms remain fuzzy as the word vintage means “of age.”  Regardless, many folks love pieces that are older and wish to showcase these treasures of the past in their homes.

People frequently associate classic accessories with older home styles such as Colonial, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, and more. Despite whether a house is an American Craftsman, Mid-century Modern, or Contemporary home, antiques and vintage treasures can be used to complement all styles. The key to decorating successfully is to choose pieces that enhance the room and its ambiance. Professional home stagers are experts in room design and displays. They use tips and tricks when it comes to arranging items, especially when showcasing pieces that are antique and vintage. Here are a few takeaways:

  • Home stagers like to showcase collections. Examples include displays of old plates and teacups, brass candlesticks, depression glass, ornate mirrors, vintage clocks or cameras, old photos and wall art, pottery, baskets, and more. Stagers understand that older objects are generally appreciated for their history, quality, and overall significance, and both antiques and vintage accessories can offer high impact in a home. This is especially true when pieces are grouped together on shelving, displayed on furniture, and hung on walls. Antiques may also be dispersed throughout a home for a more subtle effect.
  • Home stagers frequently use elements of surprise. For example, a stager might add fun vintage pieces to a room, such as a wooden side table featuring faux ostrich legs or a painting of a dog sporting a bowtie. This tactic not only increases charm and playfulness within a room, but also keeps it from feeling too formal or stuffy.
  • Home stagers enjoy creative furniture arrangements. Rather than lining walls with furniture, stagers generally prefer to create several seating areas for intimacy. Not only do stagers seek to highlight antique and vintage pieces, but their creative arrangements also showcase focal points such as fireplaces or windows featuring stunning views.
  • Home stagers choose flooring carefully. A main way to anchor furniture to a space is by using room size or a series of throw rugs. Vintage rugs offer time-worn appeal and add texture and visual interest to a space.
  • Home stagers combine aesthetics with practicality. For a family that enjoys reading and collecting novels, a handsome bookshelf for their collection is ideal. For a couple that enjoys hosting parties, an elegant formal antique dining table works well in their space. Thus, these attractive furniture pieces also function well.
  • Home stagers tie the home’s interior to the exterior. They consider the overall design of the home before choosing and displaying furniture and knickknacks. For example, if the home is Victorian design, a home stager may showcase a pair of 19th century ornate chairs.
  • Home stagers enjoy layering decorative items. When placing artwork on shelving, such as old paintings or vintage photo frames, stagers often begin with the largest item first. Then they will overlap with smaller objects until they are happy with the look.
  • Stagers frequently identify a theme, such as nature. They will often add plants and earthy objects such as decorative ropes and vintage earthenware to achieve a balance of natural elements.

These are a mini sampling of some tricks and tips stagers use when decorating a home. Though there are some general rules which apply in decorating, it is truly a subjective art. This means that there is room for opinion, even when decorating with vintage items, so nothing is right or wrong. There are a few other points to consider. Stagers are flexible with their designs, checking their work frequently and relying on instinct as they go. They also choose pieces selectively and avoid clutter so that the special pieces they intend to showcase, especially those rich in history, get all the glory they deserve.


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