10 Ways to Style a Modern Home With Vintage Items

We promise it won't look like a museum.

Layering is the key to flawless interior design, but when it comes to adding vintage accents, antiques and thrift shop finds to your space, it takes some skill to successfully pull them off. It's easy to go overboard and if you're not careful, you could end up creating a stuffy museum vibe, in the same way all-big-box-store-everything can quickly make your abode feel generic and flat. Below, we share 10 styling tips to make the past feel fresh because the average super store simply can't compete with the forever kind of love throwback accents inspire.


Get in Touch with Your Scandi Side

Photo via French Courtesy

Do the whole hygge thing your way by hunting down natural wood pieces (those without high-gloss varnish work best) and teaming them with luxe faux fur throws, perfectly put together gallery walls and flickering candle light.

Modern Contrast

Photo via Amber Interiors

The easiest way to nix a stuffy aesthetic from the equation is to style throwback pieces next to ultra modern furnishings or spaces. This makes the unique characteristics of each piece pop. Such is the case with this oriental rug placed in this sleek, modern kitchen. The dramatic colors and texture lends a note of warmth to the minimalist space.

Mirror Image

Photo via Anthropologie

Ease your way into the whole vintage thing by adding an antique mirror to your space. Beyond adding character and elegant charm, it'll reflect light through the space and make any room feel larger. Hang one over a fireplace or prop it onto a vanity or chest of drawers for a luxe look.


Go Bold

colorful kitchen

Photo via Gravity Home

A fresh coat of paint or new upholstery, can go a long way in ushering old world pieces into RN territory. Here, industrial pilot chairs shed their tough-guy edge, adopting a cheerful tone that adds an element of playfulness and visual drama to the room.


Transcend Time

Photo via Kelly Martin Interiors

Instead of sticking to one style or period, try combining pieces from various eras. Style them in a why that highlights their common features— be it complementary colors or natural elements—to create a space that exudes intrigue and elegance.

Break the Rules

Photo via Inside Closet

While some would argue that reimagining traditional pieces borders on blasphemy, we think it offers a unique opportunity to establish your own distinct style—and keep outdate decor in play. Transform old oil paintings into modern works of art by dipping them into bright paint or saving the frames (you can find some seriously rad options on the cheap) and using them to frame new photographs or prints.

Put 'Em to Work

Photo via Richard Powers Photographer

Maybe they weren't workhorse pieces back in the day, but that's no reason not to put fab flea finds to good use. Turn a buffet into a beautiful bar or stack up vintage milk crates to create a shelf to display your record collection or burgeoning home garden.

Think Outside the Box

Photo by Reid Rolls via Domaine

Furniture's traditional function isn't necessarily law. Innovative uses can instantly make an old school piece feel brand new. Here, a homeowner uses a secretary desk as a media console, stowing DVDs and a television inside the confines of its cupboards.

Elevate Other Decor

Photo via Jenny Wolf Interiors

Vintage accents and antiques offer an easy way to establish a specific mood. Reclaimed shelving and copper details work with this kitchen's exposed brick walls and retro-inspired stove to set a welcoming, old world tone.

Hone in on Your Hobbies

Photo via Design Sponge

Forget furnishings—look to kitchen gadgets, cameras, typewriters and more to personalize your pad. Weave in gadgets that speak to your personal interests and hobbies to make details from another time feel right at home.