It's no secret that I love vintage in all its capacities. In the past I've filled rooms full of vintage pieces that made my home look like a grandma explosion. Now that I'm a bit older I value the restraint that needs to happen with vintage - especially because I'm so tempted to keep every piece from our vintage range! And it also doesn't help that I have an addiction to thrift stores that borders on insanity.
That said, I think I've picked up a few pointers along my vintage journey which I hope will help you style your vintage finds in a way that is charming and modern, rather than natty.
1. Colour is your friend
The beauty of vintage is that the pieces often run along similar hues - faded browns and reds and greys, which means that a few disparate vintage or retro items, when arranged together, can be extremely complementary (see point 2). But if you run your room's colour scheme entirely to match these faded colours you might find it overwhelmingly...tired, sad, lacklustre. Adding some unexpected pops of colour helps to alleviate that tiredness and provides a lovely contrast that just works. See in the image top left the stylist has added some random neon pink washi tape stars on the walls? It adds just the right amount of fun whimsy to lift the brown vintage boxes and bronze trophy on the mantelpiece.
2. Choose pieces that are tonal
The nice thing about vintage decor is that many of the pieces you choose will boast the same tones that have ocurred naturally with age. Gilded gold and bronze frames work beautifully with rich wooden browns and faded pastel greens. A good tip is to keep current photos of all of your rooms in your phone so that when you go shopping and happen upon a fabulous vintage teapot, you can whip out a photo of your kitchen to see if it will work with your decor. If you're going to go for lots of one tone, keep your eye out for a vintage piece in a complementary opposite tone to tie it all together. See in the top left photo the brown tones of the vintage chest of drawers and the box work really well with the rich jewel tones of the green plant? Or how the mustard cushion in the right hand picture complements all that brown perfectly? Nice.
3. Keep space open
Vintage decor is so detail-rich and wonderful to look at that it's easy to go overboard to stuff your space with a wonderful cornucopia of vintage delights. But too many random vintage pieces can easily overwhelm a space. It's best to simply group 2-3 lovely vintage pieces together amidst a larger table space and let them do the talking. Simply leaving the wall bare behind a large vintage ornament where you might have hung a picture means that you're giving that vintage piece the respect it deserves. Like Coco Chanel's adage of taking one accessory off before leaving the house, assess your space and see what you can remove to make the other, more hard-working pieces shine.
4. Pair vintage pieces with modern furniture
If you want to embrace more vintage in your home there's absolutely no need to rush out and buy every piece of mid-century modern furniture you can find. There's a certain charm to displaying vintage ornaments and accessories on top of modern furniture. In keeping with point 1, it's this method of styling that keeps vintage items looking fresh and relevant. And often the sleekness of modern furniture provides a great base to showcase the detail in vintage decor. The key is to keep it simple. See in the top left image above how well the vintage wooden dog figurine works atop the sleek white coffee table? That's what we're talking about here!
5. Create a sense of symmetry
If you come across an amazing pair of vintage candlesticks or two vintage lamps, snap them both up and display them with pride. See how the two vintage lamps in the top right picture above beautifully frames the bust and mirrror? Total vintage styling win. But don't worry if you're struggling to style a whole host of random Vintage pieces - a good friend of mine has this trick where she paints two different (thrift store) vintage ceramic ornaments a bright solid colour and pairs them together to dramatic effect. A really great way to update and refresh your space for next to nothing!
A note on thrifting vintage home wares: Walk into every single charity shop you go past. Even if it's about to close. Even if you're tired. Even if you'll be late to your own wedding. Head straight to the back where all the bric a brac is kept and go through everything. Don't forget to look on the top shelves above the clothes racks too. About 98% of the stock will be cheap High Street junk, but at any given time, in any given charity store. there a gem will be nestled just for you!
And if you want to head straight for the quality vintage finds, then step right up and check out our curated selection from France, Denmark and The Netherlands here!
Happy Vintage Shopping! If you have any other tips and tricks, let us know on Twitter @Moraapproved or on Facebook!
(PS: Don't forget to take advantage of our Valentine's offer - free shipping on all orders in the UK and free shipping for orders above £60 to the US!)