What makes a good vintage interior?

Now that matching furniture suites are (thankfully) a thing of the past, the focus has turned to interiors that are unique and which reflect the people who live in them. For many home decorators, this brings a challenge of its own: how to create spaces that are 'eclectic cool' rather than 'mish mash of old crap'. Let's face it, it's a fine line!

Here are my top tips for creating vintage interiors. 


1) Avoid Getting Too Themey

Yes, you're reading this on a website that's dedicated to industrial style. But look closer and you'll see that we always mix in other elements, whether that's clean contemporary lines, art deco, or mid century modern. Totally themed interiors (where even the loo roll holder is made from black metal pipe) look both naff and contrived. Try using colour, instead of era or style, as your common element.

For ideas, see:




2) Focus on Scale

With interiors, size really does matter. A huge room full of smaller-scale mid century furniture with tiny spindly legs looks way out of whack. So, too, do petite rooms where three of four walls are covered by sofas and the TV unit. 

Carry a tape measure and a list of the key dimensions of your existing furniture. Contemporary furniture tends to have seats both higher and wider than did midcentury pieces, and you'll want to make sure that your new-old finds will look right with your existing ones. 

3) Unique Pieces

Certain vintage styles have been ripped off by the 'replica' (read: fake) market and are way, way oversaturated. Don't feed the beast by buying new fakes, and steer clear of vintage fakes too. How can you tell? A vintage Eames chair is going to cost thousands, not hundreds, and you'll find it at a specialist dealer rather than your shop down the road. 

4) Repurpose Carefully and Creatively

Careful and creative styling can help to avoid the 'pile of junk' look. Try to choose quality vintage pieces that need minimal work, or which can be left as-is. After all, it's often the patina that draws us to these pieces in the first place. 

Unless you're styling for photography or very experienced, ignore half of what you see in magazines or online. In most real-life contexts, a pile of suitcases is not a substitute for an end table, and five stacked crates are not a book shelf. (What you can't see on Pinterest is how often that stack will fall over). Instead, choose a small trolley, baker's stand, or even workshop shelving.

However, the bulk use of small vintage props can really make an interior. A collection of any object, no matter how small or how inexpensive, always looks more impressive than a single item. Artfully arrange your collection of vintage bottles, or attach your vintage tools to a board and frame it, 





Questions? Comments? Tips we should share? Drop us a line!