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5 Ways to Decorate with Wood Antiques

A frequent questions posed to many decorators is how to incorporate an inherited heirloom or a precious hand me down into a space design. Many struggle with how to live daily with those vintage or antique pieces in a way that celebrates their history but still proves useful in this modern century. The solution lies in how you go about it. There are many ways to decorate with wood antiques that preserve their character and still permit practical use.

First, you have permission to differentiate from the predictable and freely mix vintage pieces with more modern styles. A room that incorporates contemporary wallpapers or textiles in a modern palette will ensure a set of antique furnishings feels stylish rather than stodgy.

antique dining set bhg


Glass front corner cabinets aren’t destined for just the dining room, instead use them as a place to store books or as a cabinet of curiosities in the backdrop to your modern living room or any space with an empty corner.

antique hutch for books bhg


Don’t be limited by a piece’s original intention or definition. A sideboard or buffet can be just as much at home in a sunroom as a formal dining room, just as a bureau or secretary can make itself useful in an entry instead of a bedroom or office.

antique in sunroom bhg


Perhaps you’ve inherited or purchased an antique wood dresser with burled wood or carved detail. Consider placing it somewhere else other than the bedroom. Bring it into your living or dining room, style an elegant vignette above, and use the drawers to store linens or small decorative objects out of sight when not in use. 

antique dresser in living room bhg


In a world where so many furniture pieces are mass produced, great antiques will stand the test of time and buck the trends. You can’t go wrong when you place statement pieces where they belong, front and center. They’ll bring originality and character to your home and become part of the memories created in your precious moments spent with family and friends.

antique china hutch bhg


Have you inherited or purchase any antiques for your home? How do you decorate with them practically or creatively in your spaces?



15 Responses to “ 5 Ways to Decorate with Wood Antiques ”

  1. Love this article! We enjoy antiquing and using hand-me-downs (and my mom has a traditional style) but have more modern style, ourselves. So, we enjoy incorporating different styles and eras for a more eclectic effect. Break the rules!

  2. Thanks for the tips. We recently bought a gorgeous antique dining table. Now I’m trying to figure out chairs and the other details to integrate it into our home. Any tips? My style is pretty traditional with a touch of country rustic.

  3. My boyfriend and I love the mix of old wood furniture and modern styles. So much so that several years ago we started our own antiques business selling solid oak furniture. I’m always looking for a unique piece to add to our collection. For so long we have heard people state that having solid wood furniture makes a room dark. Not so. When paired correctly, wood furniture brings a warmth and charm to any room. Thanks for helping to spread the word.

  4. I have worked with antique furniture for years and I have to agree that a mix of antique and modern pieces can work well together if incorporated correctly into the design. Your pictures illustrate that beautifully.

  5. Actually a question more than a comment. I have lots of cool vintage furniture, all inherited but room is limited in living room. Loveseat is neutral with large storage ottoman (burlap look). Small easy chair w/ottoman (true burlap color). An antique small ottoman w/white, gray, light blue ikat. Large armoire in Lion’s Mane. Dark secretary w/small chair in teal. Also mission table that folds w/ two sides. So when it’s open it’s oval. Also dark mahogany book w/4 shelves. Nice feet. One end table also folds and redone in crackle (aqua/lions mane). One w/ two shelves I think definitely needs done, currently in gloss maroon. I keep a a weaved cover over the top in a mushroom type cover. Another very large desk w/chair in dark wood also. Also small handmade birch table w/small black tiles. It is beautiful and getting ready to inherit another w/ wood top….Turquoise, teals, aquas are all my accent colors. But the walls a very much lighter version of Lion’s Mane. Lots of art including black & white landscapes, to Mexican art including bright oranges, purple. Lots of plants. I also collect rocks and have them on display also. I would consider my style, vintage, eclectic. I want to know, if more of these dark pieces should be redone in something lighter.?Considering a mushroom type finish. bit mpt sure how to do that. Could you advise? Also trim work is dark wood, carpet is neutral w/spots of eggplant & blue. Wish I had hardwood floors, but not possible. Bamboo shades w/light blue sheers. Lighting consists of antique brass floor lamp and copper table lamp. Also wondering if turquoise stained glass hanging lamp would work over an end table? Please help! I love decorating but I’m afraid to do anything drastic. I am also considering updating my secretary desk with old burlap (coffee burlap bag) on the back for some contrast. Do you recommend? I also have considered removing mission table and replacing with old black sewing stand w/glass top. And also using a wicker (square) trunk w/ brass handles as a end table. I am sure this is mind boggling so I want to thank for your help in advance.

  6. I have a antique sofa, about 7 ft long. upholstered in a cream fabric with very faint blue/coral pattern. My walls are minty-aqua. I find myself picking more items that are green & aqua hues but am unsure
    how, where or what to add other colors. The room just does not feel inviting or comfortable.

  7. Please visit our new website where you can find French Antique Furniture to decorate your interior!

  8. I like your blog and the wooden furniture that you have shown in the dining area is mesmerizing. I am planning to get antiques for my newly constructed home. Your blog will be of great help. Thanks for the information and the fantastic pictures.

  9. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly
    donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.

    I look forward to fresh updates and will share this webste with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

  10. I love Antique Wooden Pieces and usually buy them but always in confusion how and where to use them. But, after read your article I’ve got so many ideas like idea of placing an antique wooden dresser at some place in your home except Bedroom and idea of buffet and side-board is good. I must say very useful and good article.

  11. Antiques are best for home decor and they will give a classy and traditional look to our home. I like your ideas which are inspiring. I will definitely follow them.

  12. Please please – where is that wallpaper from in the top picture????

  13. Hi Kate!!

    Lovely article. I can now tell different ways in which my customers can use the antiques and vintage furniture they purchase from our store!!

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