Decorating With Antiques

Antiques are worthwhile investments because they can add personality to any house. When using antique decorations, it’s best to create a concept that you can call your own. You can also use antique pieces as focal points, creating a home full of old-world charm.

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably dream of buying designer accessories, high-end furniture, and other expensive furnishings for your home. But while those can be pretty, they aren’t always valuable. Sure, they work with your décor and they may even be functional. But if you want something with stylish yet personal touch, antique décor is the way to go.

Antiques add a lot of charm and coziness to your home. Whether it’s a little porcelain doll or a large teak table, there’s something about antiques that makes them so rich and lively. Perhaps it’s the years of history they hold in every grain, or maybe it’s simply the rustic, vintage look they lend to any room. A house with antiques, as designers like to say, is a house with personality.

But antiques can be worth a fortune, and you want to make sure their value shows through. Here are some tips on buying and using antique décor for your home.

Look for charm, not perfection.

If you like your décor sleek and smooth, antiques are probably not your thing. “Shabby chic” is the theme when it comes to antique decorating. Most antiques will have little dents, chips and cuts, but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. On the contrary, these little imperfections add to their charm and stand as testament to their age and experience. But that said, quality should still be a top consideration. An antique doesn’t have to be fully functional—it’s mostly decorative, after all—but it has to last years on the shelf with only a bit of dusting and polishing.

Make your own.

Antiques are all the more valuable when you put a bit of work and thought into them. Instead of splurging for that antique coffee table, why not put one together from several smaller pieces? Find a large piece of wood (or anything that can serve as a stand) and top it with an antique grate cover and a slab of glass. The result is something with more texture and variety than a solid wood table, and more importantly, costs a lot less.

Buy base pieces.

If you like to build with antiques, invest in “base pieces”—plain items that you can embellish to create that antique look. This can be a simple table, chair, or bookshelf, which you can transform with a bit of creativity. Also stock up on wood trimmings, borders, linings, and other accents you can add to your base piece. That way, you can transform your furniture anytime you want without losing its historic value.

Decorate your walls.

See something you like but don’t know where to put it? Try your wall. Many antique pieces make great wall hangings. Wrought iron gates, old shutters, and printed fabrics make interesting accents and break up an otherwise boring surface. Bigger pieces can be used as headboards. For your bedroom, try arranging some postcards on a clean board and use it as a poster. You can make them a bit loose at the top to create little storage pockets.

Put them on center stage.

You don’t have to design your entire home with antiques—sometimes one interesting piece can stand out enough to be the room’s focal point. To make them stand out, place them somewhere immediately visible from the room’s entrance. Make sure it’s the first thing a person sees upon entering. A corner beside a window would be a great spot, because it gets enough natural light to highlight the piece. Don’t put them next to another place of interest, such as a fireplace, as this can draw attention away.