Something Old, Something New......

Posted on 31 December 2016

Something old, something new…adding uniqueness to your home with antiques

Antiques have history and memories steeped into every piece. Just one stand-out piece can make any space more interesting and characterful. However, the hardest style to get right, as any interior designer will tell you, isn’t contemporary or classical, but the fusion of the two to create an eclectic or lived-in look that feels as though it has evolved over many years. Marrying modern trends with inherited pieces and items that have sentimental importance is what makes our homes unique. However, creating a balance so that the room looks considered instead of chaotic can be challenging. But adding antiques to your home doesn’t have to be difficult. If you love a piece, it serves a purpose in your home and fits the room, you can make it work. As with any room scheme, determining the overall feel you want to achieve is the best starting point. Do you want the space to feel elegant, lived-in, relaxed, classic or retro? It will then be easier to choose the designs for your desired look. To help make things easier for you, we’ve put together some useful tips:

Don’t rush your purchases

If you want to choose pieces that are timeless, well designed and will really work in your home, take your time. Visit antique stores to see what pieces are on offer and look at Pinterest and design blogs to get some ideas of how they could be styled to fit in your home. Here at Hobson May we’ll work with you to find the right antiques for your spaces that will work perfectly with the more contemporary items you already have as well as your modern home. You don’t want to get stuck with a piece that you don’t like. Most good antiques dealers will let you try out an item locally.

Texture and layering

While ‘worn’ and aged pieces can be a lovely addition, too many can give the effect of a junk shop. To get it right, mix them with smooth, unblemished surfaces and silky textures. An ornately framed mirror with slight pitting can diffuse the light and bring a real glow to the room. Or try a mirrored tray on a worn timber coffee table, or top a distressed leather chair with a new silk cushion. Mixing a strong and symmetrical display, such as framed pictures on a contemporary-coloured wall, can be the perfect contrast to weathered, vintage-style furnishings. Introducing natural textures, such as leather, faux-fur, wool and linen will also help to create a more relaxed feel and bring the look to life.

Adding your personality

For maximum impact, group collectibles together to make a ‘story’. Choosing antiques that bring back memories of your travels or a special part of your family history, can turn an otherwise unremarkable corner into an interesting and personal space. You can also use your interests, such as musical instruments or vintage cameras, for example, to accessorise. Displaying multiple timepieces of different shapes, sizes and colours on a feature wall is another clever and yet simple way of creating a dramatic display in your own home. Books are another option, but to give your space a more design-led look, try organising them so that the spines are grouped by colour.

Think outside the box

The problem with antiques is that they can look old-fashioned, rather than creating a unique addition to your room, so don’t be afraid to find new, creative uses for them. Try using an antique bookcase to display a collection of glassware or pottery, or an antique wardrobe as a drinks cabinet. A vintage dresser can be used to stash things in the living room, while antique cabinets look great (and provide a little extra storage) in ultra-modern kitchens. Or why not use a compact vintage wardrobe in the hallway instead of a coat stand?

Pulling the look together

The most challenging part of decorating with antiques is integrating them with the rest of a home. An elegant couch surrounded by sleek, modern furniture can stick out like a sore thumb unless it’s tied to the rest of a room by picking up on a few key details. An item of dark wood furniture will sit more easily within the scheme if other dark wood elements are brought in, even if it’s only with a few bowls or picture frames with a matching finish. When choosing pieces of antique furniture, it’s a good idea to keep the palette as simple as possible; adding too many pieces with different stains, varnishes, and colours could look too mismatched. If you have something like a table, which requires other furniture to accompany it, keep things simple to avoid clashing styles. When using lots of interesting individual elements, there isn’t such a need to add dramatic colour to your walls; a neutral palette is generally the most successful as it allows the pieces to really shine. However, colour can often be the subtle link to unify a space so try using bold cushions or accessories to draw the eye from one area to another.

Need some help?

A truly eclectic look that successfully combines old and new takes time and will evolve with you. Whether you need help in starting a collection, adding to an existing one or simply finding a one-off purchase, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Hobson May Collection regarding any query you may have on 07768 304056 or email:

More Posts


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Shopify secure badge

Search our store