5 Foolproof Ways to Pair Vintage and Modern Decor

Creating an inviting space that feels comfortable, but also interesting, shouldn’t be complicated. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to blend some vintage or antique pieces with more affordable, modern elements.

Finding the balance between old and new, however, can be tricky. Too much vintage says retro-granny, while too much modern can feel cold and stiff.

Below, I’ve pulled together five examples that best highlight a smart pairing:

Vintage Bench + Modern Bed


Benches are the Swiss army knives of furniture. This versatile piece works in nearly every room of the house, making for a smart vintage investment. Here, the leggy bench and patterned antique rug work really well to break up the solid, low-profile, visually heavy bed.

Suggestions: Vintage BenchModern Bed | Antique Rug

Large Scale Modern Art + Vintage Upholstered Chair


When buying vintage upholstered furniture, take into consideration the cleaning or reupholstering cost. In some cases the upholstery is in great condition and may just need a good cleaning, but decades of use can be hard on fabric. However, it can be well worth the extra expense for those lovely lines and sweet details.

The tufts and velvety sheen of this chair play well with the modern minimalist art. Meanwhile, the side table helps ground and neutralize the eccentric chair while mimicking similar brass hues.

Suggestions: Art | Upholstered Chair | Side Table

Modern Dining Room + Vintage Chairs


When incorporating vintage, don’t be afraid to mix styles. The primitive aesthetic of the chairs, the sleek table and funky light fixture make for a very clever mix. The chairs keep the room from becoming cold and the light fixture keeps it interesting.

Also, notice how the straight lines and harsh edges in the art and bookcases, replicated in the square structure of the chairs, harmonize nicely with the round table and organic orbed pendant.

Suggestions: Light Fixture | Table | Vintage Chairs | Abstract Art

Modern Kitchen + Antique Rug

via the Billberg Family on Hus&Hem


Let us not forget the kitchen. This all-white, modern kitchen is far from sterile thanks to the colorful antique rug and whimsical pendants. Old and new elements create a perfect balance of sensible yet playful.

Suggestions: Antique Rug | Ikea Cabinets | Pendants

Vintage Credenza + Modern Art or TV


A console is the perfect opportunity for a big dose of vintage served up in a very practical way. Consider a vintage console for a drop zone in the entry, a dresser, or TV/media console. Because it is such a large piece, it is important to even it out with tasteful modern touches (i.e. art, lamps, accessories, or even a rug.)

Suggestions: Vintage Console | Modern Art | Lamp

You may already own several vintage pieces, or perhaps you’re getting ready to invest in your first. Either way, keep it fresh by mixing old and new; keep it within budget by mixing high and low. Remember to enjoy the process and take your time collecting pieces that are lovely, meaningful and useful for your lifestyle and home.

Which of these pairings feels the most approachable for you?

Featured Image via Emily Henderson

Erin spends a bulk of her time hunting the perfect vintage piece or ideal sconce for her latest design or renovation project. But, her favorite moments are spent traveling with her husband and one-year-old daughter, Ember, while dreaming up plans for their next reno or in the kitchen cooking up vegan magic. Fingers-crossed Ember approves.

  • Rachel David March 15, 2018

    this is just how I’ve dreamt of having my own house.Vintage classic with a tinch of moderness in it.Amazing pictures and such a tasteful concept.

  • Oh my gosh, I love these looks! The photo of the piece of modern art with the vintage upholstered chair is my favourite. Adding to my Pinterest boards like crazy now. Thanks for the midweek inspo! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog