A Touch of Retro

There is an old myth about not mixing interior styles, but, with a good eye and some careful sourcing, you can do it quite prettily…

As most of us now live in contemporary-style homes and apartments, the question is how to incorporate heirlooms seamlessly into our interior design schemes. Here are some tips – and advantages – to adding a retro touch to your home.

Opposites Attract

When placed in just the right places, vintage finds can enhance a contemporary design look in your home. Vice versa, a sparse, neutral-palette interior is the perfect showcase for beloved antiques. For a lesson on how to mix contemporary and family heirlooms, check out our current issue’s Amazing Greys house tour (above left). The easiest vintage items to incorporate into a modern scheme are statement and accent pieces that add uniqueness and a certain lived-in quality – side and night tables, chairs, desks, vanities and mirrors. A masterclass in how to do it, in Pearl Collins’ house tour (above right).

Magic Mix

Have just the right mix of old and new: don’t overcrowd with antiques – it’s not a window display – and don’t overshadow modern features that keep the space fresh. See how it’s done in BASH editor Kate’s modern retro house in Fairview (above right). The important thing is to strike the right balance when it comes to adding an unusual piece to a room. Take into account the size, the colours, the shapes and the light. To learn how to do well, see the magical mid-century touch of an antiques dealer’s Sandymount house in our current issue.

Less Is More

Go for a few unique pieces that tell a story and will stand the test of time. Managing an eclectic antiques collection is hard unless you are an expert collector and your house is built for displaying treasures, like Helen James’ one (above right). Ideally, keep to the same general look throughout the house, by using the same style, period, colour. Have a look at this tour of Geoff Kirk’s home (above left), Dublin mid-century décor authority, in our current issue.

What’s your take on mixing old and new in the home? Are you partial to a little vintage in your abode? Learn from the collectors whose houses we featured in our house tours and read our guide to the art of the art display. And for visual tips on how to mix old and new in the home, have a look at our dedicated Pinterest board.

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