How to guides
how to guides

How to blend old and new together

Want to know how you can add some vintage charm to a modern interior scheme? Take a look at these ideas to find stylish ways to successfully combine traditional elements with sleek contemporary features.

Man in kitchen opening oven

1. Take the middle ground

Add some retro vibes to a contemporary room with a few items of midcentury furniture. Hunt around online and in second-hand stores to find vintage pieces with the distinctive tapered shapes and veneered surfaces of classic Scandinavian design. Alternatively, look out for modern furniture made to resemble styles from the 1950s to 1970s.

Designs from this era are ideal for introducing personality to very contemporary rooms. This sleek kitchen-diner, for instance has been given a cosy vintage look with a midcentury-style sideboard and some retro-style dining chairs.
Kitchen with retro furniture

Go with the grain

Combine a smart neutral interior scheme with some traditional rustic furniture and accessories. Look out for wooden pieces with a distressed finish and plenty of natural detail. There are a number of new, yet traditional-style furniture pieces on the market, or it’s possible to find interesting second-hand items.

If you’re up for some DIY, try making a table or some shelving from reclaimed timber panels – there are plenty of tutorials online to help you. This dining table is made from wooden boards that have a distinctive grain, and is surrounded by mismatched vintage dining chairs. 

Oak dining table in dining room

Shake things up

If you’re looking for a versatile kitchen style that works well in both modern and traditional homes, Shaker cabinets are ideal. This classic design features doors with recessed central panels, surrounded by a rectangular frame. It’s simple enough to be both contemporary and vintage, depending on the look you’re going for.

Here, for example the Shaker-style units are complemented by a traditional butcher’s block. However, modern chrome handles and slick lighting bring it fully up-to-date. The whole space is a happy mix of old and new.


White kitchen with wooden worktops

Stay pretty

Give your bedroom a cosy, luxurious feel with some ornate period elements, such as vintage-style bedside table and dressers, or even a beautiful French armoire. Furniture with elaborate detailing works well in a bedroom, particularly if you’re going for a glamorous boudoir look.

In this room, the designer has successfully combined modern and traditional by using black as a cohesive feature. The charcoal geometric pattern on the wallpaper is matched by the jet black drawer handles to tie it all together.

Bedroom with vintage bedside tables