9 Ways to Get Romantic, Antique Style

Shopping flea markets and antiques stores is addicting -- especially when it's easy to turn your fragile finds into a family-friendly decorating coup. Explore this house to see how it's done.

Strategic Collecting

Safely stow away delicate collectibles in a display case, but when it agrees with your tastes, collect inexpensive items that you can use, such as these colorful teacups and spoons. Then you can purchase them guilt-free and not worry if a few get chipped or broken.

Build Your Own Set

Why spend money on a pricey dining set when you can purchase a table to match your dining room's scale and color palette and find more dramatic chairs in an antiques shop? A new coat of glossy black paint and toile covers make these chairs smart again, and the perfect foil for the round marble-top table.

Smart Swapping

In the living room, a large antique mirror hangs low on the wall to anchor the sitting area and reflects the daybed, billowy sheers, and drapery panels. The classic-boned 1930s French chairs were given a fun and functional facelift by swapping out silk upholstery for cotton.

Center Your Home

The lavender home office off the dining room looks untouchable, but it's actually a stress-free hub of family activity thanks to a sturdy antique daybed covered in stain-resistant fabric. The chandelier dates to the 1940s, but a fresh coat of paint brings it up to date.

Clever Walls and Lighting

Salmon-pink wallpaper exudes romance in a hallway; clean-line wainscoting keeps the look simple and the paper out of reach of grubby fingers. Adding a vintage crystal chandelier is an easy way to transform the look of a room (or hallway) -- it lifts the eye and adds character to a space. Try colored shades for a chandelier or a soft pink light bulb for a lamp to give the room a romantic glow.

Put Your Stuff to Work

Another serviceable collection: Depression-era pottery with curves that look good enough to stand alone or in groups. Toss in a few stems of wildflowers when entertaining or use shallow vases as key and coin holders.

Room for Valuables

Stacking small piles of books and magazines horizontally leaves plenty of room for displaying more trinkets out of harm's way. Pricey antiques, such as a century-old European crown and vintage tiaras, stay safe but prominent on the top shelves.

One-Color Wonder

"Girly-girl" pink reigns in the master bedroom, where antiqued walls are a dreamy counterpoint for the gilt bed and mirrored table. A painted electric chandelier lights the room and reflects beautifully off the unadorned tile floor.

Arrange at Will

This 1930s French settee is actually part of a set that includes the chairs in the living room. Like all the other furniture in the house, it's been reupholstered in stain-resistant fabric -- its pink and brown stripes match the bed's sheeting.

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