The Antique Modern Mix

Darryl Carter
Photo by Clarkson PotterLook for traditional entryway design inspiration

Do you find that you don’t quite fit a box when it comes to interior design? Maybe you veer towards modern, but feel it’s too cold? Or perhaps you love traditional pieces,

antique and finely build wood furniture, but you don’t want the place to look like granny’s. Here are some tips for mixing design styles without looking totally unhinged.

Mixing styles is a great way to reflect your personality. It says your fun and adventurous, culturally and historically savvy. But there are certainly wrong ways to go about it.

The See-Through House
Photo by Bernbaum-Magadini ArchitectsBrowse midcentury living room ideas

It’s not so much about individual pieces as it is about the mood you want to create in your room. If you’re going for something stark, choose pieces in monochromatic shades and accent with wooden furniture made with simple lines.

If you’re going for something warm and casual, ensure any antique wooden pieces are made with warm woods like pine rather than more traditional woods like mahogany.

IT’S NOT 50/50

Sure you may want to include some antique or vintage elements, but don’t give equal play to every design era. Representing two styles equally will look busy and poorly designed. Choose a dominant look and then accent with a secondary one. Just a few choice elements will do. For instance, I love the way this modern kitchen and dining area is immediately warmed up with mismatched antique farm chairs.

Snob - kuba cloth and antique chair meet to make something modern

Did you find an amazing antique chair at a flea market or were you lucky enough to inherit something special from your great aunt? If you find the traditional look just doesn’t go with your sense of style, don’t be afraid to refinish the thing. Bold paint and fun textiles can take the most traditional Victorian chair and make it at home in you eclectic interiors. Doesn’t this chair make you smile? It totally says, “I’m fun and adventurous.”

Antique rugs are another way to include a nod to the past in a modern home.

louis ghost chair

Another way to make multiple design eras work in one room is to choose a piece of furniture that marries two styles in one. The Philippe Stark Ghost Chair for Kartell is a perfect embodiment of this. It’s a Louis XV-style chair done in clear lucite. Gorgeous!


If you’re looking to mix styles in a room, be sure to commit to a colour palette. In this room the highlights in a sunny amber is what pulls it all together: lucite table, wicker chair, antique 17th century floral wall sconces, and a simple wooden credenza all work because the hue works.

What do you think? What’s your favourite technique to mixing and matching styles?

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