How to decorate with antiques, part 1

How to decorate with antiques, part 1

For some, the thought of living with “old stuff” is off-putting, but for those who have experienced the richness provided by well-chosen and elegantly placed antiques, the experience is more exhilarating than traumatic.
For as long as humans have surrounded themselves with furniture, it has been understood that without the balancing influence of the past, the future and all its bright, sleek and shiny newness can create a rather flat and uninteresting living environment.

To better understand your relationship with antiques, decide which of the following groups best describes your relationship with antiques:

1. Staunch Modernist – I can’t bear to live with anything made before 2000
2. Mixer and Matcher – We currently live with 50% new and 50% antique items in a well balanced compilation
3. Time Machine – My home is literally a blast from the past where everything is old, older and oldest.

I’ve always believed that decorating a home should be a liberating experience, so the idea of ​​becoming a slave to any of the above, broad approaches to using antiques in the home should be avoided. As Shakespeare said, “Be true to thine own self,” and this carries weight both in the home and in the realms of interpersonal relationships. Another way of saying this is, in the context of what you choose to surround yourself with, is “know what makes you happy.” If stark minimalism appeals to you, then trying to surround yourself with the decorations of a richly detailed interior with antiques will prove to be most unsatisfying and should therefore be avoided. But know this too. I have never seen a more successfully realized minimalist interior that did not have at least one rich flourish, usually a fine, sculptural antique. Sometimes that one piece helps put the surrounding pieces into perspective in a way that wouldn’t be possible without its embellished reference to the past. Also know that the reverse is also true. A once-extremely elegant modern piece inserted into a room shrouded in historical prejudice can make all those antiques appear in a light impossible on their own.

In the world of music we see the truth of “point and counterpoint” most fully illustrated. An element cannot exist to its full potential without the balancing properties of its “counterpoint”.

So, as we consider our personal relationship to the idea of ​​living with antiques, we’ve engaged in a much broader discussion that includes what type of objects make sense for our lives, budgets, and long-term collecting goals. Understanding each of these aspects will help us understand the best steps we can take to bring into our lives the beauty and historical perspective that antiques offer. They can also alleviate any guilt associated with the subject. Just because people around you love (or hate) antiques doesn’t make either a defining “must-have” for you.

Know yourself first and the right pieces will follow.

In the next antiques article, we’ll take a closer look at 5 different approaches to buying and living with antiques and what you can expect from each. I hope you’ll check out this ongoing conversation.

#decorate #antiques #part

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