Today’s roundup is all about the perfect pairing of vintage dining room tables with contrasting modern chairs. I love an eclectic space, and the dining room is the perfect place to have some fun with an aesthetic mashup of vintage and modern, like in the space above. There’s no wrong way to make this look happen and it’s also a great way to interject personality and history into your home without having to spend a ton of money as this look can absolutely be achieved on a budget.
Maybe you inherited your grandmother’s dining set or were stuck with a hand-me-down set after college. It’s simple to give an old table a fresh spin by switching out the chairs for something new. . Contrast is everything when it comes to this look, so don’t be afraid to push the envelope a little bit. This look is anything but matchy-matchy and sometimes the natural and traditional raw look of wood can enhance the contrast between old and new all the more.
Studio McGee paired the classic Eames molded plastic chairs with a spindle-legged wooden table in a beautiful dark finish. It contrasts sharply with the white plastic and lighter wood dowel legs. The Eames chairs are available in a variety of colors (as well as price points if you don’t want to grab an original) and they also have different leg options too.
I love the mismatched colors in this shot above from BHG. This entire room feels inviting and feminine with pops of English garden colors and a drapey capiz shell chandelier. You could find a similar table in any antique shop, a yard sale in your neighborhood, or by hunting around on Craigslist.
The uber-traditional table (above) in Gen Sohr’s dining room table definitely feels like a piece that might be relegated to a fancy dining room, only to be used on formal occasions. But it suddenly feels family friendly and well loved when paired with simple white Emeco and funky modern art.
Of course, there’s my favorite modern chair of all, the Louis Ghost chair, which works with practically any table you put it with, beat-up wood included! A little bit of lucite can go a long way, and in this case, it allows the beautiful accents of the table to really shine through, in both the image above and below.
My brandmother had a round table that reminds me of the one below. I wish now that I had that table because it proves that a classic and simple design can be so flexible in any interior.
It’s gorgeous in the dark wood with the white chairs, but you could switch it up by painting the table, as evidenced below.
These mismatched chairs above are loaded with personality and this look would be super easy to recreate with a quick perusal of your local Craigslist. Sometimes public schools also sell off old fixtures and furniture at auction (rolling library carts are my current google obsession), and you could snap up a bunch of chairs and other fun finds for not a lot of money.
Such a great way to bring style and personality to your space. There’s just something about having a history and a story about the items you surround yourself with! Ok, a few sources if you’re hunting for some great modern chairs. My current favorites are West Elm, Industry West (Tolix knock-offs in a ton of colors, as well as several fun modern options), Craigslist, CB2, and good ol’ Ikea (check out the Tobias style for a lucite chair lookalike at a fraction of the cost).
Gen Sohr is a featured Stylemaker in the September 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Here, Gen shares tips for choosing and using vintage pieces.
Hi! I’m Gen Sohr, and I love all things vintage, from Bertoia chairs to Bakelite bracelets. I’m the co-founder (with my darling husband Benjamin) and creative principal for Pencil & Paper Development Co., in Nashville. We renovate old houses, build new ones, and even remake retail stores—anything in need of some creative reimagining.
Here are my favorite rules for when you should go vintage—and when it’s best to buy new. I don’t ever want my spaces to feel like a museum, or as if I am trying to recreate a particular era. It’s about the mix: Old and new together is what I find most interesting.
Truly, I am addicted to the hunt! Nothing compares to spending the day scouring a good flea market and then coming home and cleaning up your treasures. But the thing about vintage is … it finds you. It’s not usually the piece you were hunting for to complete a particular room. But often, it IS the piece that makes the room!
You have to buy what you love when you find it. I never pass up something that speaks to me simply because I don’t need it. I am a believer in buying things as they find me.
Since I have a retail background, where I was in charge of customer experience in stores like Old Navy and Victoria’s Secret, I start by “merchandising” my vintage pieces. I put them in the best, most visible spots in a room. Then I fill in with new pieces where function dictates (and to keep my spaces from feeling like an actual thrift store).
In our master bedroom, I started with a pair of vintage Asian-inspired Lane bedside tables (in my favorite tomato-red). They are the heroes! I love the mix of these vintage finds with the modern Tolomeo desk lamp for bedside reading. For the bed, I wanted something upholstered for comfort, and I didn’t want to break the bank. We opted to keep it simple with this new neutral linen headboard from West Elm.
I think every room needs something that just speaks to you. This is my master closet. I wanted the space to be super clean, white, and functional with great natural sunlight. The simple architecture and well-organized cabinetry is the canvas for this space, but it’s the amazing vintage side table and pair of cut-glass mirrors that make it sing! I rarely buy tables or mirrors that are not vintage treasures because I can get a one-of-a-kind look with them. But for window treatments, I choose something simple, unfussy, and new. This Roman shade allows the vintage pieces to stand out. I often use graphic pattern fabrics in fun colors because they keep my vintage finds feeling fresh and young.
Usually, I recommend purchasing new sofas—both for comfort and sanitary reasons. But sometimes a very special vintage sofa just calls your name, and you have to break the rules. This chrome-framed beauty is such an occasion. I had it recovered in a neutral geometric pattern and had the cushions re-wrapped. Now it’s better than new!
When it comes to vintage clothing, I usually keep mine reserved for special occasions. And, like my vintage furniture, I am not scared to tweak the design of the pieces to feel more current (and figure-flattering). The great thing about buying vintage is that it allows you to become part designer, too. When I wear a vintage dress, I always pair it with a modern clean shoe silhouette (new of course) and some great chunky modern jewelry. Again, it’s always about the mix of new and old together.
And sometimes it is just plain OK to fall more on the vintage side of things. In my children’s desk nook, the desks, chairs, and lamps are all flea-market scores, which could be retro overload! But somehow with the introduction of bright modern art pieces and graphic window treatments, it all just works.
That’s the fun of using vintage pieces in your home and wardrobe: There really are NO Rules! Simply follow your heart and have fun!
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Clothing, decorating, Design, Mixing Vintage and Modern, Style, Vintage, vintage furniture
TREND: Worn, vintage/antique textures
Have you noticed that rug companies have started offering plenty of new rugs with a fake ‘old’ finish? And of course distressing on furniture has been around forever. The bedroom above combines a number of worn textures: the antique (or antique-looking) rug, the wicker/rattan stools, and the matching dressers. Even the grasscloth wallpaper, with its imperfectly matched seams, adds to the look. Abstract artwork, bold pattern on the bed, and an unfussy canopy bed contrast and complete the room nicely.
You can achieve a similar look with the items below.
- Italian Campaign Canopy Bed, Anthropologie
- Acacia Grass Pink Ballet Slipper Grasscloth Wallpaper, Ralph Lauren
- Floral Crewelwork Pillow, Wisteria
- Nava Brinjal Pillowcase, John Robshaw
- Rattan Stool, Rejuvenation
- Soma Print, Heather Goodwind
- Herat Oriental Rug, Rugs USA
- Louis XVI Dresser, Ballard Designs
– Nicole Balch, Making it Lovely