In home decoration terms, vintage generally means items from the middle of the 20th century and tends to include furniture and accessories that have an intentionally ‘shabby’ look about them.
Popular vintage colors
The current trend for vintage palettes includes calm and cool colors. Whilst neutrals, such as whites and greys remain a favorite and will probably never disappear from vintage design themes, slightly bolder, more statement-making colors of pinks, purples and apricots are creeping into vintage room designs. One design must for vintage décor is that the colors should be muted rather than brazen, so blues should be ‘powder’ rather than ‘midnight’ and greens should be ‘sage’ rather than ‘emerald’. One key feature of vintage rooms is that they tend towards a cluttered, rather haphazard appearance, so when considering wall colors, it is best to use no more than three different base colors as a design theme for the whole room.
Wood plays a big part in vintage room design. When furnishing a bedroom, choose a wooden bed frame, preferably in, white or cream, along with a wardrobe or armoire and chest of drawers in the same shade. For a really shabby chic look, distress the furniture so that, in places, the wood shows through the paint.
If there is room for it in the kitchen, a big wooden refectory-style table looks good or if space is more limited, a circular pedestal table does the trick; a large dresser completes the look. Stuff the open shelves with crockery and other utensils, but try not to make the dresser’s contents appear too organized. Vintage should look as if everything has been placed randomly.
If wood does not seem quite right for the room, opt for metalwork painted black or white. This too should be distressed to get the aged look. Chairs and window-seats should look inviting, so upholster them in fabrics patterned with subtle stripes, flowers or even tapestries.
In the dining-room, as in the kitchen, a large refectory-type table would look great, teamed with chairs that have loose, full-length fabric covers thrown over them. Alternatively, try an oval table left as bare wood, so that the grain shows and place complementary, but contrasting, colored chairs around it.
Accents and accessories
To really create an authentic vintage look, the window dressings should not be ignored. Generous drapes or light toile fabrics held back against the wall with curtain loops look okay, but for a genuine look, go for wooden shutters. Not only do they look clean, attractive and authentic; think French countryside, they are also more practical than curtains. Shutters can be used to control the amount of light coming into a room and afford more obvious privacy.
Vintage means going heavy on accessories and these can be bought at flea-markets or free, as hand-me-downs from the older generations of the family. Large gilt-framed or white painted mirrors look good, either hung on the wall or placed on mantels and chest of drawers. Add layers of texture to furniture, such as throws and tablecloths, to create a truly vintage look.
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