How To Create A Classic Contemporary Interior Style

Kitchen Painted In Farrow & Ball String And Card Room Green

It makes sense to use second hand furniture: not only is it better for the environment but brown furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries is often better made and tells a much more interesting story.

The trouble is, it can make a modern home look fusty and outdated.

This is the beauty of the classic contemporary look. Mix older pieces with contemporary highlights – lampshades, rugs, tables – for a homely yet stylish and curated interior.

Balance Is Key

The most important thing to remember when blending two styles is balance. If you decorate a room in a modern style and add one piece of antique furniture, it’s just going to look out of place.

Farrow & Ball’s Oxford Stone creates a warm backdrop to this
classic, yet eclectic, scheme that is rich in texture.

Make sure both styles are equally represented in the room – if you’re using a lot of traditional furniture in the room, you need to counterbalance it with a lot of clean lines and minimalist design elsewhere in the room.

If you don’t, the less prominent style looks more like a bad design choice than a deliberate attempt to mix different types of decor.

Choose Statement Pieces

The easiest way to find a good balance is by using statement pieces when you’re picking furniture. Antique furniture can compliment modern design very well if you choose the right pieces.

A beautiful linen press holds loads of stuff and adds wow to a room
A beautiful linen press holds loads of stuff and adds wow to a room

A large piece of antique furniture can be the focal point of the room, balanced by more modern fixtures, and the same works the other way round.

Updated Furniture

You can mix the two styles on individual pieces: upholster antique armchairs  in contemporary block print fabrics or add a modern shade to an old light fitting.

Use Modern Functionality

Go contemporary in rooms where technology really helps: a kitchen renovation for example. New furniture often has cleverer storage ideas that save space. You can still add in your vintage pieces, however – a retro table or vintage lights look great in a clean-lined, contemporary kitchen.

Make Use Of Textures

The textures in modern decor can be quite harsh: think sharp edges and stark lines – traditional decor softens the look.

wicker pendant from boex
wicker pendant from Boex

Try to make use of different textures to create a warmer and more inviting look. You can use deep, rich colours, for example, and vintage fabrics and materials such as velvet, wicker and corduroy.


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