Plus, the best stores for shopping vintage furniture and accessories in Toronto
Nostalgia is a powerful tool, and vintage furniture is one of the most effective ways of evoking it in your home. This retro outfitting looks back to earlier eras of late-19th and 20th century decor—incorporating specific style elements that are rare or simply unavailable today. If done correctly, these features add warmth, character and a curated feel to a space without aging it. Here are some tips to style vintage furniture and accessories with lasting appeal.
Let there be light
Pendants and lamps in metal or glass shades offer a classic touch to rooms dressed up or down. Find them in pastel-coloured or milky finishes for a truly retro style. In this colourful condo by IN8 Design Inc., a prismatic teal lamp by Foscarini is perfectly suited for ’70s-inspired outfitting.
Go bold with feature furniture
In the home of visual artist Alex McLeod, rooms are stocked with curiosities, heirlooms and vintage finds. This reclaimed sofa from Ethel 20th Century Living sets the tone in his quaint and sun-filled living room.
Add variety with mixed seating
A seating nook in DesignTO artistic director Deborah Wang’s West End Victorian balances old and new by pairing a vintage bench with a fibreglass Eames rocker. Without leaning too far toward vintage or modern, the space maintains an approachable, transitional style using vintage furniture.
Use a timeless rug
Vintage furniture and accessories are meant to add a warm, homey feeling to your interiors. In this airy mid-century modern house by interior design and construction firm ben homes, a vintage kilim rug grounds the space and adds contrast without clashing.
Shop vintage gadgets
Small spaces, like this industrial build turned modern loft, often require furnishings that are simultaneously functional and decorative. A vintage stereo and oak-framed speakers are examples of retro tech that are as practical as they are eclectic.
Dress up in velvet
Certain textures are immediate indicators of a decade in design. If you find inspiration in the sultry hues and velvety textures of 1960s and ’70s design, like the owners of this renovated home in Burlington’s Roseland community, vintage drapes are the perfect outlet for maximum impact. Less of a commitment than bulky vintage furniture pieces, drapes and curtains are easily swappable.
Reach for repurposed objects
An old shuffleboard turned kitchen island is a one-of-a-kind statement piece in this revitalized Geary Avenue loft. Giving old steps new life, the owners kept hold of a vintage library ladder as well, which is used to access the mezzanine sitting space that overlooks the room.
Emphasize what you’ve got
If you’re not working with a modern build, vintage styling can be as simple as showcasing classical features already present in the home. Vintage elements of this renovated Georgian home by Wayback Architects, for example, remain in stained-glass windows on the second floor.
Add to your art collection
Vintage furniture shopping can require a certain amount of patience, especially if you’re taking the antique or auction route. However, vintage art is oftentimes much easier to access. Local thrift shops and flea markets are great starting points to pick up unique paintings, sketches or textile art already framed and ready for hanging. In this suite at The Drake Devonshire, vintage artworks serve as counterpoints to the brightly coloured walls and new, barn-like additions.