I have an old sideboard or should I call it a ‘retro piece’, that I will be keeping when decorating the living room. I will be buying a couple of pieces, of contemporary furniture to provide a balance between ‘old + new’, and to give the room a taste of 2 styles. I do like the retro look and I love how you can contrast contemporary furniture with old.
A book that I bought a few years ago, and which I browse through from time to time, is great for giving me an instant inspiration boost. OLD & NEW, Combining past and present in contemporary homes by Katherine Sorrell (2002) illustrates how you can create a home where old and new look great together, adding interest to your home with unexpected and very individual pieces. It shows you how to combine old and contemporary objects to create a space that is entirely original and individual.
Combining new pieces of furniture with older ones which have, over time, gained pleasant and possibly nostalgic signs of ageing will allow you to contrast the young and old and to balance colour & style, shape & texture in ways which you alone can conceive from your own experiences in life and growing up.
To create a retro-inspired living room, it hasn’t to be taken too seriously. Have fun with the look (which I intend to do!) and experiment with what sits well with your old furniture – it only requires only one key piece, and I am going to just use the sideboard cabinet.
These points below are taken directly from Katherine’s book, as she has summed it up succinctly:
Getting it right –
- Keep it simple – don’t try to cram too much furniture into the living room. When mixing pieces from different periods, you only need a few examples or the effect will look cluttered.
- For the lines of furniture to really stand out, keep wall treatments understated and in a pale colour (I like the idea of adding a subtle pattern to emphasise the sideboard).
- For old furniture to work with new, both should have a similar feel. Keep them clean lined and pared down. Look for shapes that echo each other, such as gently curving lines, or boxy silhouettes.
It’s interesting how the lampshades are a similar colour to the drawers, and the huge, blue still life artwork contrasts and adds more detail.
With this image, again the retro cabinet is placed next to pale coloured walls and flooring, with the painting adding colour and detail.
This sideboard has more detail on the drawers and looks great with the bird illustrations (not too bright and sit in harmony with colour of the cabinet).
This cabinet has curved (inner) lines and looks fab in the contemporary setting. Loving the pair of curved metal light shades and the yellow and turquoise accessories.
I like how the top of the sideboard blends with white wall and overall……..minimalistic!
This sideboard looks very cool placed behind the blue boxy cushioned chairs.