Shabby chic has been around for a while, but now it appears to be mutating into something slightly different – ‘vintage modern.’ As the name suggests, this style is based on taking various pieces of vintage furniture, furnishings and fittings and installing them in modern minimalistic homes. In some cases, it might be that vintage lighting is installed in ultra-modern kitchens or a 1950s telephone is placed on a pure white modern acrylic table.
Other examples of the vintage modern style include juxtaposing a traditional cottage kitchen with a stark black and white living room. As with shabby chic, the possibilities are only limited by your personal imagination and taste. The trick here is to achieve a balance between old and new by utilizing not only quality, but perhaps also quirky, period pieces and putting a modern spin on what were once commonly used items in years gone by.
Pay a visit to your local thrift or charity shops and see how many vintage scarves and hankies you can collect. Sewn together, they make great looking multi-colored throws or drapes. They can also be used to make quilts, bed heads and table runners; you could even mount them in frames as pieces of art.
Picture frames and globes
Old picture frames, whatever their shape and condition, either ornate or plain, can be repainted in bright colors and used to hold artwork and photographs. If you are feeling particularly arty, you could always glue seashells, small pieces of driftwood or twigs onto the frames or convert them into mirrors.
Globes become outdated with alarming frequency as new countries come into existence and borders are redefined. As a result, there are always inexpensive old globes to be found. Cut in half, they make the perfect lampshade, table or pendent lamp. They can also be covered with small mirrored squares, inspirational messages, period newspaper cuttings or other forms of decoration.
Tables and chairs
The soft organic texture of vintage dining tables contrasts starkly with the razor sharp lines of modern kitchen worktops and cabinets, yet the result can be surprisingly successful. Throw in a collection of mismatched dining chairs – some made of wood and others with metal frames – and the look is complete.
In the living room, there is nothing that beats relaxing in a slightly dated sumptuous leather armchair. Contrast it with contemporary lighting, white walls and ceilings and a hardwood floor for a stunning effect. To put even more of a spin on the room, why not install a contemporary lounge chair – a modern twist on the traditional chaise longue?
Vintage toys and steel lockers
Vintage toys can be used as colorful features placed on shelves in children’s bedrooms or even lounge and living rooms. Mix toys from different periods and perhaps arrange them for overall effect rather than purpose.
Steel locker units, which tend to look somewhat industrial, can be painted in a variety of primary colors. Don’t worry if they appear slightly the worse for wear, as that’s part of the attraction. These units are perfect for storing all the bits and pieces youngsters tend to collect and are virtually indestructible.
With a little imagination, a few hours of your time and not too much money, you can easily bring your home bang up to date. What’s more, you will be helping the planet by upcycling a whole range of items and giving them a new lease of life rather than having them end up on the scrapheap.