Today's Paper Obits Digital FAQ Newsletters Coronavirus Cancellations NWA Screening Sites Virus Interactive Map Coronavirus FAQ Crime Razorback Sports Today's Photos Puzzles
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption This photo shows a design project in New York by Ike Kligerman Barkley blending vintage and modern furniture. Here, the new: a blue and grey wool and silk carpet, and creamy boucle sofas. The old: "Pairs of smaller, bolder pieces - 1920s Swedish black lacquer side chairs, and 1930s mahogany slipper chairs," says designer Elizabeth Sesser, who worked on the project. The finished look is elegant and cohesive. (William Waldron/Ike Kligerman Barkley)

An early, painted Swedish sideboard next to a leather sectional. An ornate Italian walnut headboard on a bed dressed in featherweight linen. A collection of colorful 1930s Fiestaware pottery on a Lucite bookshelf.

Mixing old and new elements is one of the easier decorating techniques to employ. A little research can help with sourcing quality antiques, but combining old and new is mostly a matter of making sure the fun "found" pieces or family heirlooms get along with the contemporary components.

That introduction may take some tweaking so your room doesn't end up looking like a catchall of random furniture, but that's part of the fun. Introduce the furnishings to each other. See who gets along. And rearrange where everybody sits if you need to.

Tamara Rosenthal, Sotheby's Home marketing vice-president, says the mix-and-match trend is on the rise.

"People aren't as interested in spaces that look like they came entirely from a showroom," she says. "They want to create a space with a unique point of view, infusing a variety of pieces, eras, textures and more to create a cohesive but unique look and feel."

BALANCE IS KEY

Interior design maven Kimberley Seldon, whose business is based in Toronto and Los Angeles, follows this formula when mixing styles:

"As long as 80% of an interior is cohesive — same style, same period, same philosophy — the other 20% can deviate. In 20 years, I've never seen this rule of thumb fail."

Rosenthal recommends layering old and new items, like hanging an antique rug in an otherwise modern room.

Elizabeth Sesser, a designer at the New York firm Ike Kligerman Barkley, mentions a recent project that blended vintage and modern furniture into an elegant whole. The new: a blue and gray wool and silk carpet, and creamy boucle sofas. The old: "Pairs of smaller, bolder pieces — 1920s Swedish black lacquer side chairs, and 1930s mahogany slipper chairs," she says.

WATCH YOUR COMBINATIONS

Some vintage styles don't complement each other as well as others, Seldon points out. For instance, the ornate embellishments and jewel tones of Victorian furnishings don't work harmoniously with the Arts and Crafts movement, whose hallmarks are simpler craftsmanship and muted, nature-inspired hues.

If you do want to blend eras, consider Victorian with other formal European eras like Georgian, Edwardian and French. If you've got a few exceptional Arts and Crafts pieces, play them up with clean-lined country styles and modern upholstery.

"One of my favorite ways to mix design styles is with midcentury pieces," Rosenthal says. "They're truly transitional, because they can sway traditional or modern without looking out of place."

Katie Watson-Smyth, who lives in London and writes the design blog Mad About the House, agrees about midcentury modern: "You will never go wrong with a chair from this period. It's friends with everyone."

She notes that midmod chairs can be re-upholstered in a range of fabrics to suit any design vibe.

She also recommends looking for common threads among your found pieces — rounded edges; wood and color tones; surface materials like marble.

photo
This photo provided by Rhyme Studio shows one of their new wool rugs. "Or," shown here, means 'gold' in the Irish language; Rhyme's Insula series features new rug designs that reference ancient art forms and symbols. (Rhyme Studio via AP)

NEW, INSPIRED BY OLD

If you don't have true antiques, there are interesting new pieces that harken to the past.

For example, at this spring's Architectural Digest Design Fair in New York, Brooklyn-based Rhyme Studio is debuting a collection of wool rugs inspired by a 1,600-year-old Irish alphabet, known as Ogham, or the tree alphabet. Its folk history may tie it to druids and secretive scholars, but the designs look as current and chic as anything dreamed up today.

And at Kathy Kuo, find an array of new seating, lighting and casegoods referencing popular eras like Hollywood Regency, French Country and Art Deco.

SHOP SMART

Rosenthal advises planning in advance before hunting for specific pieces, since the internet and antiques shops and fairs can be overwhelming. Be specific when you key in search terms. Knowing what you're after helps, but be open to surprise finds.

"We always recommend starting with smaller items like mirrors, artwork, accessories and other accents," she says.

"You can find a wide range of styles in mirrors in good shape that add a touch of history. And you can often find standout light fixtures that no one else will have," she says.

"Shopping at a reputable site, antique dealer or well-regarded secondhand store is key," she warns. "They'll be able to provide all the information you need on the specific details of the piece."

HomeStyle on 03/21/2020

Print Headline: Mix & match: In with the old ... and in with the new

Sponsor Content

Comments

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with our commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. Our commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT