By Samuel Clarke
The popularity of vintage homewares and furniture has undeniably increased over the past few years, and with good reason. In addition to being budget-friendly and good for the environment, using pre-loved vintage pieces that have personality and a story, helps to create unique interiors that are as individual as the people who reside within them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about creating period perfect vintage homes. Rather, I’m talking about how adding a little old in with the new, produces refreshing, eclectic interiors that challenge those common catalogue reproductions. Because let’s be honest, that’s just lazy and no fun at all!
So, how does one actually do this? There are no steadfast rules in this game, much like a round of pool at your local, but here are a few tips to guide you through and help create a space that speaks to you and your own personal style.
1. Select the right pieces
Like with any interior scheme, it’s important to achieve the right balance in your space. So the first thing to consider (apart from the space itself!) is what furniture pieces you’ll need for a functional space.
Identify a few extra special vintage pieces that will ‘carry’ the room, for example a beautiful Mid-Century sideboard, or an Art Deco armchair. They don’t have to match, or even be from the same style or era. Think of them like celebrities; when rappers hang out with country singers. Everyone can get along in the right setting! Once you have these pieces, fill in the gaps with simple contemporary designs to allow your celebrity pieces to really take centre stage (sorry, celebrity analogy is over now).
When deciding on your vintage pieces, make it personal. What makes you smile, what makes you think, and what is just too cool to pass up?
2. Keep an open mind
When selecting and collecting your vintage pieces, keep an open mind. You may never find the vintage piece of your dreams, so in some cases, you may need to roll up your sleeves and create it yourself. Look to the pieces’ best features; if there’s a winning case that makes you think twice about leaving it behind, then think about how you can repurpose it to suit your needs. This may be a lick of paint, some simple recovering, or a sand-back and refinish, but there are some pretty thrifty ways to get the look you desire — just ask old mate Google!
3. Tie it all together
Once you have a collection of pieces you love, think outside the box when putting them together. Display your pieces in unlikely places, group together in unlikely pairings, and layer for interest and depth.
Achieving the eclectic vintage look is about not being afraid to clash styles and eras, but also consider how you can use colours, textures and themes to build a road between them and tie them all together for a cohesive, harmonious space.
4. Don’t overdo it
When decorating with different eras and styles, there can be a lot going on. So here’s the big tip — just because there’s an empty space, doesn’t mean you have to fill it! Consider yourself somewhere between minimalism and maximalism. Would that be mediumism? Anyway, work with your canvas, allow some of it to peek through, and leave some negative space for the eye to rest.
5. Take your time
Finally, it’s worth noting that collecting takes time, so be patient. Your look won’t come together over night. Keep your eyes peeled for vintage pieces that really speak to you and collect them along the way. Add-and-subtract and mix-and-match them in your space and let it constantly grow and change as you do, over time.
— Samuel is a Melbourne-based interior stylist and the founder and curator of Kitsch please — Australia’s first dedicated online marketplace for buying and selling vintage homewares and furniture.