A Balanced Blend: How to Mix Old and New Home Decor

At The Local Vault, we’re huge fans of transitional style: rooms that mix timeless antiques with modern décor, or spaces that incorporate heirloom furniture into contemporary design. Combining the old and the new creates a sense of balance that is hard to achieve with a starkly modern or completely conventional space – sleek forms contrast ornate carvings to settle at a visual happy medium. The other wonderful thing about transitional spaces? They’re actually more enduring than traditional ones – contemporary touches, which can be updated as styles change, ensure that classic furniture always feels fresh and current.

Of course, there is an art to being a furniture mix master. The approach needs to be a little more thoughtful than simply throwing together pieces of different eras in the hopes of creating a harmonious design; but with a few tried-and-true design rules, beautiful transitional style is well within reach. Here’s how to do it.

1. Choose a cohesive color scheme. In a room where furniture styles are mixed, it’s especially important to have a common thread that ties all of the different elements together, and color is often the easiest way to achieve a unified feel. For the best effect, follow this rule of thumb: choose two-to-three colors, and repeat each at least three times throughout a room.

Mix: Blue + White

One modern sofa …

Vitra Mariposa Blue Velvet 2-Seater Sofa


… An antique table lamp

Antique Chinese Porcelain Table Lamp


Mix: Neutrals

One Antique console …

Antique Louis XV Style Painted Console with Carved Wood Apron


… A sleek Modern glass lamp

White Stripe Cilinoto Glass Lamp

2. Give old pieces a modern update. Sometimes, old furniture can feel just plain dated, no matter how many shiny new things surround it. If that’s the case for something you own, consider giving it an update. A coat of paint on a vintage wooden piece, fresh upholstery on an old chair, or updated knobs on an antique cabinet could make all the difference.

3. Pay attention to balance. It takes more than one or two outlier pieces to make a transitional room. If you’re mixing styles, it’s important to ensure that there’s at least enough pieces from each era that the design feels deliberate, not like you just ran out of room in your storage unit! Try to balance out each old element with a new one, and vice versa. Dot an antique sofa with throw pillows in contemporary prints, surround a modern dining table with Louis XVI chairs, or hang an elaborate antique chandelier above a sleek platform bed.

Antique Sofa …

Hepplewhite Period Sofa, circa 1770


… Throw Pillows in Contemporary Prints

Silk Pillows with a Pear Design Backed in Velvet, Pair







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