The hot topic in interiors this year has definitely been sustainability and there is nothing more sustainable than buying antique furniture for your home. It saves it from landfill and it prolongs its life. But as much as that this furniture was well made – there are no plastic mouldings which means that if it breaks you can find a way to mend it as you can take it apart and rebuild it. It also brings character to a space. I love the juxtaposition between an ultra modern house and some vintage furniture. It’s not one you see often enough in my view. Vintage furniture looks great in all settings from the pared back minimalism of a mid-century modern chair against the ornate panelling and plasterwork of a Georgian house to the wonky and stained beauty of an antique table sitting on a poured concrete floor in front of a glass wall. Here are my top 10 reasons to give the old a new lease of life.
I promised you a post about the so-called brown furniture today as it has been mentioned a couple of times as an important trend for 2019, so I thought it would be good to have a little look at why that might be and why you should considering bringing it into your own homes.
In my post, interior designer Emilie Fournet said: “The end of the mid-century monopoly is fully upon us. People have realised there are a lot of affordable, desirable antiques out there – timeless and elegant art deco can be incorporated into many existing styles, while arts-and-crafts pieces will emphasise a return to artisanal originality.”
While Serena Pitchers, added: “My prediction is that brown furniture, or more antique furniture, will seen be in homes more. Mid-century furniture has been embraced by the public, but the antique, Victorian era has not had the same popularity in our homes in recent times. I think people will discover the quality of workmanship and the colours that you can get in woods like Mahogany that you simply can’t buy new anymore. And re-using existing furniture or heirlooms is a very eco-friendly decision. Brown furniture can look awesome juxapositioned against a very modern background and looks great against the slightly paler palette that I see creeping in too.”
Everything is cyclical of course and there was a time – actually since the 1970s – when antiques, as they used to be called before the rather derogatory name of brown furniture was coined, were regarded as old fashioned and dull. Or, more damning – belonging to your parents. It was the age of plastic and space age, modern G-plan and Scandinavian furniture which was, crucially, lighter and made from pale wood.
Those of us who had grown up in dark period houses filled with dark heavy – mostly Victorian – furniture rejected this look for something light and modern. We also hated the thin and spindly furniture that was overly ornate and seemed to collapse at the touch of a coffee cup – not to mention the marks. “Use a mat,” was one of the most common refrains in my Grandmother’s house where I grew up.
But the wheel has spun round and suddenly it’s fashionable again. So let’s have a look at 10 reasons why you need to bring brown furniture into your home.
10 Reasons You Need to Bring Brown Furniture into Your Home
1 Your home should tell your story. A piece of furniture that has been passed down to you will do that. But even if it belonged to someone else’s Granny rather than yours, it will still have a story to tell though the wearing of the wood, the dents and the scratches. It just has more character and who doesn’t want that in their home?
2 Antique wood has a depth of colour and patina to it that you just can’t recreate with modern wood. It’s great for warming up grey rooms which can look a little cold in our blue northern hemisphere light.
3 No-one else will have the same piece as you so your home is automatically more individual and personal
4 It is often better made than modern equivalents – it’s already lasted this long after all.
5 An old piece of furniture is perfect in a newly built, or decorated room. The key to creating a successful interior scheme is making something that looks so right that it looks like it has always been there. A vintage chair or stool can bring that story to life.
6 A vintage stool in a bathroom, or a vintage dining table in the kitchen is a beautiful counterpoint to all the hard edges, straight lines and, well, modernity, of those spaces.
7 Many interior designers believe that vintage chairs have a better rake (angle of the back) than modern ones and are therefore more comfortable.
8 A modern house looks great with some period furniture just as an old house will showcase modern furniture – you don’t have to match the two.
9 An old Persian rug will soften an industrial concrete floor, or hide some rustic floorboards. Plus you can spill anything on it and it won’t show.
10 You can still pick up great bargains on ebay and carboot sales and junk shops. Yes, the big names and collectable stuff is expensive but you don’t need to buy that – unless you want to.
So there we have it. What do you think? Antiques love ’em or hate ’em? Tell us your stories below.