Sometimes, your personal style and your personal situation don’t align. Maybe you had to compromise with a partner, and couldn’t live in the 18th-century cottage of your dreams. Or, maybe you had to move for work, and now live in an urban area where your farmhouse-style preferences are hard to come by. Luckily, there are ways to satisfy your shabby-chic design tastes without having to relocate.
If you’re longing for antique charm in an all-too-modern space, use these tips make the past part of the present in your current home:
Highlight Antique Materials
Even if the house itself can’t be from an earlier era, you can draw attention to older elements, or elements that would have been used in older houses. For example, the average single-family home contains 13,000 board feet of lumber– find a way to expose some of it! Southern Living writes that maximizing the impact of wood by removing drywall and incorporating wood furnishings can add warmth and character.
In earlier centuries, bright dyes and paint were expensive and hard to create. Eliminating vibrant and bold colors and opting for earth-tones and neutrals can help any room achieve an older, weathered look. If you still want a pop or two of color, avoid neons or primary colors, and instead choose pastels or faded gem hues, like crimson, navy, or pine green. When painting, be sure to apply thinner layers no matter the color to avoid the stark, synthetic appearance of thick paint.
Don’t Replace; Refinish and Refurbish
This Old House recommends trying to fix and and refinish old and out-of-style furnishings to match a room. Rather than paying the cost of finding something brand new, a little DIY effort can tie any element into the overall look of a room. Try sanding, painting, or staining wood surfaces like tables and dressers to match the style you’re trying to achieve. You can also use sandpaper to create a weathered appearance on painted surfaces.
Go Natural and Casual
Another way to bring antique charm to a newer space is to bring the outdoors inside. Flowers, wood elements, fireplaces and more can make a home cozy and feel less sterile or high-tech. Natural fabrics add authentic texture and colors, so look for cotton curtains or wool pillows.
Find Detailed Accessories
Finally, don’t forget that small details can have a big impact on the style of a room. Investing in authentic antique accessories can transform a modern space. Look for antique brass or sterling silver that have evidence of their age. For example, 19th and 20th century sterling is typically marked with the word “Sterling” or the number “925.” Doorknobs, tea sets, mirrors, and other accessories in fine metals or old-fashioned china will help bring you space to the era and style you’re looking for without big renovations.
By following these five easy steps, you can achieve any vintage or antique look you choose. Focus on color, materials, and details for a cozy, nostalgic, and stylish home.