Who ever said you can't mix different styles and periods?!! For some time now, home decor has been about showing individuality – it’s great because pretty much anything goes. But no-one wants their home to look like a hoarders paradise, so it does take a little bit of planning to make it work. I was recently looking for a few ideas for a bedroom and was very pleasantly surprised about how much is out there on mixing antique and contemporary styles.
When talking furniture - “brown” antique furniture has had negative connotations associated with it which are finally being dispelled. Here's a few reasons from me why I agree;
Firstly, describing it as “brown” does no justice to the many colours it actually is. Sure, there are some fairly hefty items in brown/black shellac, but even these have a place in the right setting. But look about and you’ll see all sorts of colours and shades with the stunning beauty of different woods with an aged patina. Antique rosewood with its glorious contrasting grain, amber aged satinwood with a depth of colour that is impossible to reproduce, flame-mahogany, coromandel, ebony, yew… – the list just goes on and on. Sadly, these are woods that are mostly not available these days (and rightly so), but this should mean that we cherish what exists even more.
Secondly, the craftsmanship that went into making these pieces is just often just magnificent meaning you'll be paying a fraction of what it's really worth. You could never hope to get the quality today without it costing more than most of us would be willing to pay.
Lastly, the choice is vast. No modern-day store could ever hope to compete with the range of antique furniture available. Mix and match in complementary or contrasting styles, or pick a statement piece to set-off your space.
You would probably accuse me of being partisan - but I would always recommend buying from a reputable dealer with traditionally restored furniture rather than buying at auction. I say this since we see the condition of furniture sold at auctions and rarely see pieces that do not need repairs beyond even the more enthusiastic woodworker. Auction houses do not take items back if you find the item damaged beyond use, even if this is not as described - so you really do need to know what to look for! When buying - ask whether the piece retains its original finish. Refinishing furniture just destroys its beauty and strips it of its history.
Having made the case for antique furniture - it'll be decorative items and accessories next!