How to Mix Modern and Vintage

Vintage has slightly changed its meaning. Once it meant anything old that was getting a re-branding by being called – pre-loved. Now the term ‘vintage’ has come to mean a mix of styles, still utilising old pieces of furniture and ornaments, but mixing them with new and even homemade pieces, to create a truly unique style.


Why Mix the Two

Mixing modern and vintage has become extremely fashionable, and with very good reason. The design styles of the past have a timeless appeal. If a piece of furniture worked back in Edwardian days then there is a very good chance it will work just as well in the modern Elizabethan age.

One reason why a mix of styles, such as modern and vintage, is especially on trend and fashionable is that interiors can avoid looking dated. You only have to look at old TV programmes as an example, and it will be immediately obvious which decade it hails from. Remember all those black, reds and greys from the 80s?

How to Mix the Two

Getting the balance between the two styles can be a tricky proposition. Go overboard and a room can easily end up looking like a junk shop, so harmony is key. The vintage and modern items must ultimately complement one another, even though they come from different periods. For example, the colours used for upholstery should all be in the same tone and colour ranges. Look for vintage furniture that has a quality in common with the modern elements in the room.

To get the balance right, the vintage pieces should be used as key features or accents. Do not try to shove too many vintage elements into a modern room, as the result will be a confused and visually overwhelming interior.


Do not keep vintage items to just the furniture. Consider using one wall to display vintage print wallpaper or a selection of vintage prints in frames. Alternatively, painting the walls white or cream provides a neutral backdrop that is modern, yet unobtrusive.

How to Achieve a Modern & Vintage Mix

There are two ways to approach a modern and vintage interior style. The first is by focussing on the smaller items in a room, such as table lamps and side tables. Good ornamental items include glassware, such as large vases or vintage photograph frames. These are considered accent pieces and can be used in slightly greater profusion than key pieces.

Key pieces include the larger items of furniture, such as sofas and chairs, or a dining table and chairs. Scour antique shops to find original pieces that are in good condition, or buy retro styles new. Bring the modern element in with colourful upholstery, but remember to keep it within the colour palette established by the bulk of the room’s décor.

Use accessories to add layers of texture to the room. A vintage chair can combine the modern with a contemporary cushion or throw placed on it. One way to get a truly personalised vintage/modern room is to upcycle items from around the home. For example, use empty jars or tins as squat vases or candleholders.