24 July 2012

How to mix modern furniture with old
Switch off the head.  Logic tells us that you can't put a Georgian table in a room with plastic chairs from the 1960s.  But you can.  In the end they are just shapes and colours and forms, and they either talk to each other - or they don't.   Having too many preconceptions, following fashion, knowing too much history - all these things get in the way.  Rid yourself of those preconceptions and you can start putting things together that didn't start life together.
An unlikely match.  It's quite easy to create a Georgian interior with Georgian furniture because the colours, scale and design to together.  It's not so easy mixing pieces from difference centuries.  But that's not to say that you shouldn't have fun trying .  Look for something that unites them.  It could be a simple element like colour that ties them together, or their scale or their form.  Suddenly they'll work, and then it becomes very exciting.
Distressed is often best.  A piece of Louis XV furniture is most likely going clash very badly with a piece of Scandinavian furniture from the 20C but if the surface is crumbling and the gilding is drying ... then  it starts to get incredibly interesting.  There is nothing  like a bit of faded grandeur, seeing a piece of furniture that belonged somewhere amazing in a much more humble situation, like an aristocrat on hard times.
Get the backdrop right.  White walls and floors are wonderful, they make everything look good.  So what if they get dirty, you just paint them again!  If you keep things generally simple, when you do  introduce a small amount of colour it just sings.  People spend so much money on new floors and it isn't necessary, just gloss-paint the floorboards and put matting or a rug on top.
Less is more.  Minimalism decreed that everything had to be hidden away, but that's so unnatural.  You shouldn't deny yourself what some people call clutter.  However, minimalism has taught us to appreciate space and to think more carefully about what we put into it, and not to fill  all of it.  Space can make as much of a statement as a pice of furniture you might put in that space.
Know where to look.  Budapest is a great place to find 20C furniture because so much of it was made there.  But shopping is eastern Europe and the fleamarkets in France is quite expensive now.  One of the best places to go in this country is the antiques fair that held every other month on the show ground in Newark (dmgantiquesfairs.com).  Go with a bit of imagination and you can pick up really interesting places.
Be bold.  Experiment.  Play around with colours and textures and shapes. Mood boards are great because they enable you to move things around until they work.  People move into houses and expect instant perfection, but the best things always evolve.  Finally, don't follow fashion!  Don't buy into it!.
A few ideas:

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