• Jocelyn Ridgway

Is your furniture 'junk or antique'? Insider tips on how to make it work!

Recently there was a curb side collection around New Farm where my office is. It's funny how Australians love to collect other peoples furniture that they don't want anymore and fascinating what people throw out thinking that it doesn't suit their now modern house. Before you stick it out on the footpath, lets think how we can incorporate these pieces into our home rather than just chucking them out, adding to our now somewhat disposable life...


Now, lets be clear, I'm not talking about keeping the Ikea melamine shelves that your kids flogged for 10 years, I'm talking about that old pine table or grandmas tub chair. Your crazy aunts dog shaped lamps, your mums' old cane recliner. These pieces can certainly be re-purposed and added to your home with your new pieces to create a space with personality, history and personal meaning. Too many homes these days lack any sort of personal touch, looking like a freedom showroom, our homes are in trouble of looking clinical and like any person could be living there, not you!

Tips on how to incorporate new with old:



Adding modern chairs to an antique table is a great way of creating an eclectic look.

Eclectic is not the same as chaotic.


To pull off this interior design look, you have to be realistic about what will suit the style of your home and be selective on what you keep, use or buy. An eclectic look is not the same as just filling your house with random pieces of curbside furniture of antiques.That's just chaotic! Remember to choose pieces that are loved (not damaged) and that will compliment your other pieces, like the table setting about, it really works because the rest of the interior is neutral. It's about a couple of key pieces that are a main feature, not a room full of knick knacks.




Modern fabrics on older furniture creates interest


Keep the colour palette to a minimum


A neural white works really well for this mix of old and new, or one kickass colour like all navy or a striking feature coloured wall but a million coloured cushions, rugs etc is going to lead you back to the chaotic look. Choose a warm white to go back with timber, marble, jute etc.


Pops of colour in quirky lampshades on old lamp bases work well and maybe a fun wallpaper. Mixing a bright hot pink cushion on a old fashioned sofa is also how to create the look. Upholstery on old chairs can be updated in really fun modern fabrics and is a fantastic way to add that pop of colour to a room.





Using antique furniture in an unusual way


Think outside the box when it comes to furniture placement. Who says you can't have an antique cabinet in your bathroom? Why can't you have a super modern chandelier over your antique dining table?


It's all about placement and juxtaposition of styles. Just make sure that the quality is there or the match will look out of place.


This room on the left could also have some fun modern tiles or new modern taps or hardware to really up its eclectic look.











Mixing modern art with antiques works well

Artworks and antiques


Mixing modern artwork with antiques or the reverse, antique or old artworks with modern furniture is probably the easiest way to mix your old and new. There is absolutely no reason why you can't hang a big gold guild antique artwork over your very modern fireplace if you have other old pieces mixed in as well. A gallery wall of both old and new works together also looks fun.


Equally, adding new modern artwork from photography to prints, to original works with your older pieces be they real antiques to just the old timber table you bought, is probably the most obvious way to mix old and new. They can really make a conservative piece of furniture feel very modern and give you a wonderful room full of personality and interest. Equally with lighting, modern pendants in an older home can work wonders.


So, next time you look at your old dining table you inherited from your grandma, take a look at it with fresh eyes and keep in mind the tips I have shared with you about how you can make it work before you stick it on the footpath. These older pieces of furniture can add amazing charm and interest to your home, they tell a story of you and your family history that should be preserved.

If you require any help looking over your existing furniture and deciding what to keep and how to make that look great in your home, you can now head to our gift cards page and book in a time to see us...we are happy to help and love to see your bits and pieces that your are struggling with!


Joc x

Principal Designer/director


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Little Bowerbird Interiors, Brisbane, Australia | EST. 2009