If you are a regular reader, or even dip in occasionally come to that, you will know that one of my mantras – I don’t want to call it a rule but it’s the closest I get to insisting – is that every room should have Something New, Something Old, Something Black and Something Gold.
And, as I always add – it doesn’t have to be gold as such but it does have to be metallic, or a bit shiny. A reflective surface, be it a mirror or antique silver lamp base, will bounce the light around and bring a sense of luxe to a room.
The Something Black is also key. It brings a bit of definition to a space. Even if you love the pale pastels they can look a little sugary on mass. Add black legs to the furniture or a splash of charcoal grey and not on only will it make the colours sing it will also just make it look a bit more cool and a bit less my little pony. It doesn’t have to be much – you don’t have to go full Abigail (Ahern) but just try using a couple of black photograph frames instead of, or as well as, pale wood. Actually throw in a couple of gold ones as well and the space is really starting to sing.
When it comes to the Something New you probably don’t need my help there. In that yes I can show you were to shop but there is always new stuff in every room. It’s pretty hard to avoid whether it’s the sofa, or the cushions, which you can change as often as you like to ring the changes in an affordable way, to the lights or the flooring.
But it’s the Something Old that’s the key. I have something old in every room some of it stolen from my mother’s house, some inherited from my grandmother and some that I have owned for a just a very long time. These are the things that turn a house into a home. That have special memories and that give off an air of homelieness in any room they sit it.
Recently I visited a client who had two very battered leather armchairs that she had inherited. They had material seats and leather arms and backs with quite ornate carving. She had had a quote for reupholstering them but wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do.
In the end we decided that she should reupholster the material seats and simply patch the arms with a leather patch. That way the chairs continued to tell their story. The story of being old and loved and passing through a family and bringing a sense of previous owners to the present.
It might not have been the right solution for everyone, nor even for every room but it worked for those chairs in that room and that is what she has done. Homes that are filled completely with new shiny things tend to be lacking a little in soul.
If you prefer a very contemporary modern look you need to work to bring the essence of you to that space. If you want everything new then try and include some photographs – they will age even if they are recent ones, a few books, don’t throw away your favourite mug or cushion just because they’re old. Keep them and show them, they will bring that sense of home.
And so this post celebrates those purveyors of something old. It’s not a definitive list of course. It’s just eight that I look at regularly. Eight places that have a fine collection of vintage and old that you might like to know about to bring in your own homes.
Because it doesn’t have to be inherited from your Granny. It can easily be from someone else’s Granny. As long as you love it and look after it, it will look after your house and turn it into the home you wanted when you first moved in.
So if you’re looking for Something Old go and have a browse of these places and please do add your own suggestions to the comments below. These shops need to be known about as their stock changes all the time so they rely on word of mouth and frequent visits to keep people knowing about them.