Why Newstalgia Is Driving All the Latest Home Trends Right Now

The aesthetic blends old and new to deliver personality and patina to your home.

If you’re one to keep up with home trends, you might have noticed a theme over the past few years. Whether it’s the old money aestheticgrandmillennial style, or cluttercore, current home designs have a decidedly vintage spin. Gone are the days when homes looked like they were lifted off the showroom floor. Now, we’re dousing spaces in color, giving Grandmother’s china a place on our walls, and scouring vintage stores, antique markets, and more for one-of-a-kind finds. All of these trends can take a maximalist turn, but the umbrella where they feel most at home is within the chameleon referred to as "newstalgia." 

living room soft simple
Panichgul Studios Inc

What Is Newstalgia?

“Newstalgia is the trend of balancing new home decor staples with found, vintage items that have a bit of patina to them—worn edges or burnished spots that imbue the piece with a little bit of soul,” says Deanna Jacoby, senior designer at LA-based design firm Jenn Feldman Designs. “That depth just can't be replicated!” Jacoby specializes in bespoke interiors, and works to tell a story within each space she designs. And when it comes to vintage items, a story seems to come along with just about every piece.

If you feel drawn to pieces that don’t look pristine, you’re not alone. Jacoby believes newstalgia is such a force in the design industry due to what these character-rich pieces can bring to a space. “It’s hard to pull off a well-rounded space without a vintage element (or two!),” she says. 

vintage eclectic design living room
Kim Cornelison

Why We’re Drawn to Vintage

While the design world loves vintage right now, our personal inclinations toward preloved items with a bit of history might have more to do with the leanings of our hearts. “Vintage items render feelings of home, of warmth, of stability and tradition,” says Jacoby. Decorating in a way that reminds us of our grandmothers (looking at you, grandmillenial decor) can feel like a warm hug after a long day.

Coming home to a space full of sentimental pieces with storytelling appeal isn’t just a bonus of a well-designed space, it’s a focus. “[Vintage items] have a soul to them and in a world where trends shift overnight and creativity is delivered in surface-level, bite-sized doses at every turn, vintage items feel grounded and timeless,” says Jacoby. 

Vintage items have a soul to them and in a world where trends shift overnight and creativity is delivered in surface-level, bite-sized doses at every turn, vintage items feel grounded and timeless.

And Jacoby assures this isn’t just a passing trend. “The vintage elements we are drawn to always have an element of timelessness to them,” she says. “Think about what catches your eye on a trip to Italy, or Mexico, or any number of destinations with art and architecture hundreds of years old: materials that are built to last, artisanal techniques, and excellent craftmanship.”

In addition to their beloved silhouettes and style, vintage items boast impressive craftsmanship that makes them stand the test of time. Vintage items come with their own stories, built-in tradition, and a level of depth that can’t be achieved with fast furnishings and passing trends. 

midentury modern living room gray palette arched lamp wood tones
Annie Schlechter

How to Balance Old and New

The key to newstalgia is not only spotlighting amazing vintage and antique pieces, but marrying them with new pieces as well. “Aesthetically, vintage items that have patina and imperfections really pop against a fresh white wall or clean oak shelves,” she explains. “[Whether] a thrifted pine dresser with brand new hardware, or a vintage oil painting in a clean, new frame, the two really marry beautifully.” Finding items that speak to you and that you love are central to pulling off newstalgia’s focus of blending of old and new

Good design takes patience. Anyone can fill their home with items purchased in a day but it takes a self-restraint and focus to build a space that you truly love. With each piece added to your home, consider how it works with existing pieces. Don’t be afraid to move things around (and often), and work in small doses so you can get pivot should you find your space not coming together the way you originally hoped. 

living room furniture mock sheepskin throws
Shaun Sullivan

Newstalgia Decorating Tips

Use Art 

If you want to start incorporating vintage items into your home, Jacoby suggests looking for art. That said, be aware that even a fantastic find might need some elbow grease to truly bring out its best. “Vintage art is often stained, worn, or unframed; the trick here is to invest in a great clean, modern frame to marry old and new and give the piece new life.” 

Go for a Vessel

When you’re on the hunt for vintage accessories, you don’t necessarily need to think big. in fact, some of Jacoby’s favorite pieces to score at a flea market are found vessels. “We love the balance of a weighty, antique olive pot or hand-painted ceramic jug filled with fresh florals or lush greenery,” she says. Consider how these pieces can transform a small corner or side table. They might just be the finishing touch your space needs. 

Look to Lighting

The concept of newstalgia revolves around creating a harmonious relationship between old and new. To Jacoby, one way to do this is by sourcing vintage lighting in a new space. Just be sure to consider both the base and the shade and how you can give it a fresh feel. The designer suggests selecting a shade in textural linen or a patterned fabric to give it new life. 

Refinish Furniture

Don’t be scared of a fixer-upper. Whether it’s a couch with great bones and faded upholstery or a chair with a busted cushion but amazing craftsmanship, consider how you can rehab the piece to fit your space and give it new life. “There's a saying: they just don't make them like they used to,” says Jacoby. “Finding an old, handcrafted furniture silhouette and reupholstering in a fresh fabric is guaranteed to have staying power.”

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