Those aspire-to-homes we are bombarded with images of on T.V. and in magazines are really beautiful things to look at. Filled with all the latest styles, furniture gadgets and wall coverings they really are beautiful…to look at. However! Looking at and living in are two very different things. A room lacking in history and character will always lack in warmth and can often feel unnervingly sterile- just where am I supposed to rest my cup of coffee?! Now I’m certainly no minimal-phobe but simply throwing together all of the latest must haves, to me, is a little lazy. Where is the personality, where is the culture, where are the funny stories about how you came across your marvellous little occasional table? I’ve been to designer furniture shops, they’re not funny… well… the prices are hilarious, but that’s another matter.
I’m not saying new is evil, what I’m saying is not to forget the old. A room with more of an eclectic feel, with a furniture collection that was built up slowly and shrewdly, says so much more about you than a room filled with the outcome of one mad Saturday fighting for a parking space on a furniture outlet estate. Just one piece of antique furniture used in a modern room is enough to create a strong composition. Being from a completely different era to everything else in the room, your antique will become a strong focal point, giving the space clarity and balance. An old trunk for example, used as a coffee table in the middle of an all white minimal layout is quite a style statement. It says that you have your own individual style and know how implement it.
The growing influence of 1960’s design on contemporary interiors fabrics and furniture means it is now even easier to include older pieces. No longer is your furniture old, it is retro cool. Think I’m making it up? Check out the prices original 60’s furniture is changing hands on-line for these days- people are really rediscovering the beauty and craftsmanship of pieces from eras gone by. Modern-retro is all the rage at the minute and looks set to last. This means your modern sofa can sit perfectly comfortable next to an original Arco lamp by Verner Panton or coffee table by Issamu Noguchi.
The best thing about antiques is the lottery system in which it is sold. Trawling antique shops, charity shops, car boot sales and church sales is half of the fun as you really don’t know what you’re going to find or how cheap you might get it. It is not uncommon to stumble upon a real bargain, meaning you can end up owning a seminal piece of design history for next to nothing. Trust me, when you set something like that down in your front room, you really do have something to be proud of- not only are you displaying your great knowledge on design, but you can also boast about your detective work and haggling skills, plus now you really do have a story about your occasional table!