How to mix vintage decor into a modern home

There’s a growing trend in home decorating towards personalisation. In 2024, it’s all about breaking away from that ‘showroom perfect’ aesthetic in favour of celebrating your individuality. And what better way to find unique, quirky, and one-off pieces than thrift shopping?! A mecca for vintage and second hand is Dirty Janes and today I’m delighted to collaborate with them to share my tips on how to mix vintage decor into a modern home.

You don’t need to have an eclectic or period style home to incorporate vintage items into your space. Keep reading for effortless ways to incorporate vintage decor into contemporary homes, as well as my top 3 styling tips to mix old and new in harmony.

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Placing vintage items in bookshelf

Celebrate a hero vintage piece

One of the easiest ways to incorporate vintage is to find a statement piece you love and allow it to be the hero of your space. This could be an armchair, artwork, floor lamp, mirror… anything really! If you spy something you absolutely love, celebrate it in your space and let it shine!

The trick to making this work in a modern home is to find a standout vintage piece with distinctive design elements. For example, a mid-century modern armchair or ornate oversized mirror. It’s the juxtaposition of this vintage item in an otherwise modern environment that makes this styling trick successful.

Style a vignette with vintage home decor

Vignettes are small, styled arrangements that create moments of interest in your home. These can be anywhere from your coffee table to sideboard, kitchen island to bathroom vanity. Generally consisting of at least 3-9 objects, you can have a lot of fun creating these styled pockets around your home.

If you just want to dip your toe in with vintage, incorporating a few thrifted items into a vignette is a fun way to infuse vintage touches. This could be with decorative items, vessels or trinket boxes, and even small artworks. Don’t be afraid to update and refresh vignettes periodically. Swap out items, introduce seasonal decor, or incorporate new finds to keep it dynamic and interesting.

My favourite vintage items to add into styled arrangements are:

  • candlesticks
  • vases
  • bowls or trinket dishes
  • books, and
  • sculptures.
Vintage vignette in modern bathroom

Add old world luxe 

‘They don’t make things like they used to’ is a phrase we’ve heard all too often and it’s one reason why vintage items are so treasured. From beautiful silverware to antique perfume bottles, handcrafted decor and everything in between, there’s so much beauty to be found in vintage objects. 

Celebrating old world luxe is an effortless way to incorporate vintage decor into a modern home. I did this in my bathroom by creating a hotel-inspired display on my vanity using elements that make the space feel special.

Blend old and new together

Another way to add moments of vintage in a contemporary home is by blending old and new. Have a display cabinet or bookshelf in your home? Why not weave in a few vintage items like old books and bookends, retro clocks, decorative boxes and other vintage decor. These items will add character and also a sense of history to your space.

Monkey bookend in bookshelf styling

Display a collection of something

Finally, a fool-proof way to style vintage in a contemporary home is to simply display a collection of something. What are your passions and interests and how can you celebrate these in your home? Whether it’s a collection of etched glassware, antique toys, ceramics or even vintage cameras, there’s no wrong way to translate this idea into your home.

Personally, I love seeing a wall of ledge shelves where people display old vinyl records above a vintage record player. It creates such an interesting moment in a home and is also functional.

My top 3 interior stylist approved tricks to mix old and new

1. Allow one style to dominate

The thing about achieving harmony in interior styling is that it’s often counter-intuitive. You can achieve a sense of balance by having things off centre, in odd numbers, and when blending interior styles allowing one to dominate.

So when mixing vintage decor and furniture into a modern home, I suggest using vintage items sparingly. This allows them to shine while avoiding the trap of overwhelming the space.

Styling a modern bookshelf with eclectic decor mix vintage decor into a modern home

2. Create a sense of cohesion with repetition

One of my favourite interior styling tricks is the use of repetition. Whether it’s with your colour scheme, certain prints, or shapes, using some consistent elements throughout your decorating will tie together the vintage and modern elements. 

For example, in the bookshelf I used repetition of brass accents through the metal sculpture and bookend, wooden trinket box and even the spine of a book. These brass accents achieve a cohesive while unifying old and new. 

3. Combine materials and textures

It’s important not to confuse repetition with ‘matchy matchy’. While you want elements of your colour scheme or style to repeat across the space, it’s also important to integrate a variety of materials and textures to add depth and interest. 

In the kitchen vignette, I played with materials by styling a rustic clay vase with a vintage French serving board and also antique silver dish. If your space isn’t looking quite right, it may be that you’re using all the same materials and need to shake things up. Think smooth with rough, gloss and matte, hard and soft, and so on. Mixing materials helps create a visually dynamic and layered space.

I hope these styling tips on how to mix vintage decor into a modern home has inspired you to get thrifting. If you have any questions or want more tips and tricks on an aspect of styling second hand decor in your home, pop a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap. And if you’d like to find your nearest Dirty Janes store to discover all the items I styled in my home and more, check out their website or connect with them on Instagram.

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Gina interior stylist
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Gina Beschorner Style Curator

Welcome to Style Curator, your destination for daily interiors inspiration, styling tips, reno advice, home tours and DIY projects!

We're on a mission to help you create a home you love. And with plenty of tips and tricks, tutorials and other home inspo, we give you all the tools to achieve it!

I’m Gina, Founder and Interior Designer, and you can read more about Style Curator here.


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