Mad About . . .

How to Mix Vintage and Contemporary

10th August 2016
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This was one of the most popular posts so far this year, so for anyone that missed it, have a catch up. I can also tell you that, since I first wrote this, Rose and Grey have opened a real life showroom. And we should probably applaud them for doing it outside London. It’s in Manchester, which, admittedly, doesn’t help me, but it’s good that not everything is in the capital. And that will give me an excuse/reason to visit my mother-in-law so I should really go up there….

I have put this post together with a little help from Rose and Grey, one of my favourite sites. I wanted to ask their advice on mixing old with new as I know it’s something that many of you have asked about and rather than just reading my waffling on I thought it would be good to get some different opinions on the matter.


Here then, are five tips from Guy and Lyndsey Goodger, the owners of this store. They spent many years living and working in London before moving to south Manchester where they live with their two sons. The images are from the new collection.

“In interiors we love white, dark grey, natural wood and exposed brick mixed with splashes of vibrant colour. We  love to create a contemporary mix of vintage pieces with more modern furniture and home accessories to make a unique and exciting home.”

They are clearly people after my own heart and therefore, I suspect, some of yours.


“When creating a new space in our own home or when advising customers, we always recommend mixing a vintage pieces with contemporary items. We love the vintage look, but it can become overpowering and a little fuddy-duddy if you decorate an entire room with antique and retro finds.

“Combining one or two statement retro pieces with more contemporary furniture, crisp white walls, contemporary prints and bursts of colour creates a great compromise between old and new.”


Be wary of woods

You don’t have to meticulously match up all of the wood in your room to the exact same finish, but pick a theme and stick to it. Darker woods, such as teak, cherry and mahogany create a more formal aesthetic than pine and the two subsequently don’t mix well when used together. We prefer rustic and salvaged finishes, which are ideal for an industrial aesthetic and both new and vintage pieces are easy to come across.


Create a good balance

Your room is going to look unbalanced if it’s predominantly vintage with just one contemporary piece standing out like a sore thumb (and vice-versa). One good way of creating a strong balance is to use mainly modern furniture and fittings, and to accessorise with vintage decorative objects that you have accrued during your travels. Or pick a style that works well for both new and retro pieces, such as the current Mid-Century revival or a stripped-back industrial look.

Deep porcelain planter

Mix and match styles

You don’t want your room to look overstyled, as if you bought it  straight from the showroom. Regardless of how long it’s taken you to style, you want to create the impression that you’ve pulled everything together over several years to create a lived-in look that feels personal and homely. Try mixing a Mid-Century inspired sofa and sideboard with modern concrete decorations, exposed light bulbs and an on-trend dark wall. Pull in an eclectic selection of your favourite accessories; things you’ve picked up during the years on your travels or from small independent shops help to create a thoroughly personal and well-considered space.

Concrete Collection

Paint your walls white

Pulling together a mishmash of styles can seem overwhelming, so start things off nice and simple with crisp and clean white walls. Once you have a fresh white canvas to work with, you’ll find that your ideas start coming together more easily. Pick a colour scheme that works with your flooring and make the big purchases (such as a sofa or dining table) first, before adding colour, texture and interest with a fusion of vintage and modern accessories.


Think of new uses for old objects

When browsing antique markets, curios shops and retro furniture fairs, think outside the box. If a particular item catches your eye, think of how you could repurpose it for your own home. Old wire racks and locker room shelves look great in the kitchen or a home office, antique bottles make interesting vases for flowers and foliage, and retro crates make great storage solutions.

Black Magazine Rack

I hope that has been helpful and you have enjoyed it.

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  • Taste of France 10th August 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I need to DIY that magazine basket.
    Totally agree on the mix of woods. The thing isn’t so much old/new as rustic/formal.

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