Fact is that ‘vintage’ isn’t defined as an actual interior design style per se, and is rather considered as a stylistic trend showcasing the special charm of all things in fashion, design and lifestyle of early XX-th century Europe.
Vintage is referred to as ‘romantic’, too, because it features soft, flowing lines, elegant colors, and carefully chosen furniture and accessories with a somewhat old-fashioned but refined aesthetics passed down from previous generations. It is therefore that the vintage style appeals to those who enjoy the fascinating, sophisticated delicacy of antique furniture and the soothing interior design of the houses of old times.
Space. The vintage trend does not have specific rules for arranging the interior space, but it is all about creating comfort, peace, symmetry and proportion, which is achieved through flow of lines, contrast of patterns and composition of profiles and silhouettes.
Natural materials rule vintage interiors. Floorings of hardwood timber, (often artificially) aged parquet, and solid stone slabs in some areas, match walls and ceilings also of natural materials, where fine cracks, chipped plaster and other small imperfections create the effect of authentic time-worn surfaces.
Light in vintage interiors is soft and of amber glow, creating a cozy and romantic ambiance. It comes from various light sources such as all kinds of lamps, chandeliers, old lanterns, or light fixtures with large, usually textile lampshades.
Color. Typically, the vintage style prefers low-key colors, such as white, beige, grey, pale lilac, cream and other light shades from the blue-gray to gray-green palettes, but more vibrant and contrasting colors find application in vintage interiors, too.
There are two main approaches to design color composition in vintage styled premises. One is by using a single color tone (light or saturated), to create a noble and peaceful mood in the room. The other is to create contrasts and use light and dark color tones to “frame” each other.
It is often that color palettes change from one room to another, too. So, from a living room, all in dramatic emerald or boudoir red, it is highly probable to enter a bedroom in soothing cream and off-white, for example.
Furniture. ‘Antique’ and ‘old-fashioned’ are the key features of vintage style furnishing. Yet, not everything that is old or antique has a vintage charm. The goal is therefore not to build a home-museum of old furniture, but to create an elegant atmosphere of retro romance and nostalgia.
‘Aged’ but not ‘worn-out’! This is a very important thing to consider when furnishing a space with vintage furniture items. So, while fine cracks, small chips or peeled off paint here and there are acceptable and even welcomed vintage effects, faded colors, torn or stained upholstery, or damaged furniture parts are far from the refined aesthetics of the vintage style.
Typical vintage furniture features items like wardrobes, large beds with headboards, cupboards and chests of drawers made of solid natural wood, soft, upholstered sofas and armchairs, massive wooden dining tables with sets of no less than six high-back chairs around, as well as fine wood carving embellishments and forged iron and bronze or brass fittings.
Finally, when furnishing a contemporary residence in this popular house style, it shall all be about finding the perfect aesthetic combination between old-world style with modern design, blending historical with contemporary values. Innovations in design and technology are not ‘strangers’ in a vintage home, as long as they are skillfully combined with the right retro elements.
Décor. It is in décor where the vintage style finds its strongest expression and presentation. Vintage décor are lavish draperies, floral wallpapers, gallery walls of framed photos and paintings, large mirrors in elegant frames, and statement chandeliers. Vintage décor are various decoupaged furniture items and the small trinkets and figurines brought from the flea-market or found on the attic of the old country home of the grandparents. Vintage décor are also the various repurposed items, old suitcases, the antique clocks, the wind-up gramophones, or antique photo cameras. And flowers! You can’t have enough flowers and floral decorations in a vintage room!
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