I’ve always held the belief that antique pieces add this special something to your home – each little bit & bob has so many stories to tell. Your old school coal iron which adorns your fireplace mantel had in fact been used every single day by a maid ironing her employer’s shirt. That 1700’s book with yellow pages and scribbles on the front page had been someone’s lifetime companion. The painting of a kitten looking in the mirror now hanging in your bedroom was hung lovingly some 100 years ago in someone’s nursery. I’m definitely not against contemporary pieces (you can’t just turn your home into an antique shop!) but do you know what that floral Wilkos print says? Nothing. That’s why I find interiors with antique or vintage elements to have that magical something about them – just like these homes with mid-century flare. Unfortunately the general perception of antique decor is either ‘oh that’s just too expensive for me‘ or ‘it’s so old it’ll break any minute anyways‘. Neither of which are necessarily true. And today I’d like to show you how I’m breaking these stigmas in our home, particularly in our bedroom.
DO ANTIQUES ALWAYS HAVE TO BE COSTLY?
Yes and no. The word antique is often defined as a collectible of high value due to its age. However this doesn’t mean that the purchase price needs to be all that high. You may have read which 10 things I usually pick up at flea markets and that’s exactly the philosophy I use when searching for antique pieces. If you enjoy browsing flea markets on a regular basis then pick up affordable little bits & bobs and create ‘collections’ of your treasures. I always find large piles of the original orange Penguin books absolutely mesmerising. Or jars full of silverware! Or even bunches of old school tea strainers tied up together hanging on the wall. You can find more inspiration on my Antique Treasures Pinterest board right here. Alternatively you can concentrate on finding a large antique piece such as a cabinet or a bed frame which might be slightly costlier (although you can still find some gems on eBay & Gumtree for a very affordable price, you just have to be equipped with a decent dose of patience!) – and then you can centre the rest of your decor around it. You don’t necessarily have to stick with true antique pieces either – perhaps use colour as your guide or another affordable element such as plants, cushions or books.
5 EASY WAYS TO ADD AN ANTIQUE TOUCH TO YOUR HOME
Growing up in a family of artists has given me this urge to surround myself with busy walls. I can’t stand blank walls in my home, they make me feel uneasy. That’s why I’m always on a look out for old photographs, postcards, posters and other pieces of art that I can easily hang on the walls around me. I got this antique painting of a kitten looking in the mirror (which might not be worth millions because it’s unsigned but is adorable nonetheless) from a local Curio Shop in Walsall and it sits perfectly in our bedroom. I’ve really wanted to find a large portrait to go next to it but then I discovered ibride – a French design studio where they turn art of Rachel Convers into home decor pieces such as wall trays, bowls & secret wall shelves. To compliment the vain kitten I’ve picked up three dreamy oval wall trays – The Lovebirds (get them here), Achille (here) and Isild (here). Despite them not being true antique pieces as such they compliment the rest of the room beautifully and most definitely tell a story of their own. There’s so much more in the ibride collection (& I wish I could have them all!) – browse it on Amara right here.
? Colour schemes
I’ve tried living in a white crisp Scandinavian environment and it just wasn’t for me. I most definitely can admire all those stark glossy surfaces & sharp edges but they do nothing for me in my own home. I prefer the cosiness of earthy tones mixed with bold greens of my favourite plants. It’s ever so easy to change up your bedroom colour scheme within seconds using your bed as a centrepiece for this. In colder months I love using this red & cream tartan bedding – it’s so cosy & warm! Once it starts getting warmer outside I either opt for a white set with a throw over it to break up the starkness or this recently discovered Morris & Co Seaweed pattern (get it here via Amara) which has all the right shades in it to compliment the rest of the room. I especially love that the duvet is double sided so you won’t get bored of the pattern easily! And don’t forget to add some fun cushions – these cat ones are from here.
For me plants are the ultimate antique home decor accessory. Back in the day people were much more connected to the nature than we are now and I like to think that bringing it indoors makes up for this disconnection we’ve created. I find it amazing to see a plant growing from a little baby into a majestic tree – my favourite way of growing new plants is through propagation & cuttings – I’ve grown various fig trees like that including a fiddle leaf!
Antique & vintage books are so easy to find – and sometimes you can get them for a silly price! Once we found the Complete Works of William Shakespeare from the 1800s for 50p in a car boot sale and a quick browse on eBay told me that the exact edition sells for over £50! Books just like any antiques have a two-fold value – they are great for home decor and look beautiful but they are also a great investment for the future. At the moment this particular book works as a gorgeous plant stand atop our piano – but when it comes to it, we can always sell it & it’ll cover the bills. Play around with your vintage editions – some of them have gorgeous covers worthy a display, some of them look stunning just stacked on top of each other and some look great casually placed on your night stand.
? Personal items
If you’re not into acquiring a large piece of antique furniture then little knick-knacks might be just the thing for you. They might be little vintage rings, pocket watches, spectacles, beauty accessories, hats, personal photographs, mugs. And there’s about a million ways of displaying them. I find hanging them is useful since I get to admire them more often than if they were sat in a box. Like my grandad’s pocket watches and a nan’s rosary that I hung on an antique clothes hanger from a dry cleaners in Trocadero, London that doesn’t even exist anymore. It even has their phone number on it from back in the day when phone numbers only had 3 or 4 digits! You can also get large jars and will them with a bunch of personal items or get a dainty frame shelf and hang them all in there, secured behind a glass pane – this is usually handy if you want to give your treasures some extra protection (they are super expensive) or you want to combine a variety of items which used to belong to perhaps just one person.
? Some of the pieces in our home have been gifted to us by various brands, friends & collectors – that doesn’t make any of these bits & bobs any less loved & treasured!