Mixing new and vintage

Vintage looks are everywhere this year in living room design, but you don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the idea of recreating the look. A few key pieces and a re-think of your design choices can have a big impact.

Start with the sofa

Your sofa and chairs are probably the biggest items in your living room, and they are probably the items that are dating the room most. Swap these out and you will find you are starting to create the vintage look but with a modern take. Look for sofas with a fifties or sixties design aesthetic, but that are made brand new to make the most of modern fabrics and finishes (not to mention fire safety standards). Then pair them with complementary, but not matching, comfortable chairs that you can find reconditioned in antiques centres or online.

Find a great coffee table

These are really easy to lay your hands on. Look for something that will match in style to your sofa – steer clear of dark woods or stainless steel and instead look to curves, glass and natural wood finishes. Scour eBay and your local Facebook selling pages to find a piece that you can bring back to life with chalk paint and beeswax.

Look for original lighting

Many antique centres now are rewiring beautiful lamps and pendant shades, due to the spike in demand for original pieces. An original mid-century centrepiece doesn’t have to cost the earth but can transform the look of your room and capture that vintage look you’re going for. Even if your sofa, tv unit and shelves are more modern pieces, you can add accessories which will combine with your vintage lighting to give a completely different feel to your room that you’ll want to show off to your friends.

Scan the archives

Look for inspiration from old movies, pictures of old houses on the internet, even museums and stately homes. Old editions of magazines from the era in which you’re interested are a treasure trove of design ideas and you can then look for several key pieces such as side tables, artwork or accessories that will add to the look and feel of your vintage room.


Whatever your vintage look, don’t feel that you have to stick either to originals or to reproductions to ensure quality and a cohesive look – do your research and be inventive and you’ll find pieces in many different places that will build up your vision.

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