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How to Decorate with Antiques- Interior Design Tips

Updated on July 30, 2011

Each of the five divisions in this hub will include:

  • At least one quality tip for antique decorating
  • One video
  • One or more pictures
  • Helpful links to get you on your way to implementing that particular tip!

Tips for Interior Design and Decorating with Antiques

Decorating your home with chic antiques is easy to get into but hard to master. Knowing how to get a plan in place, group particular items together and accentuate certain features of your design will all help you to make the most of your space and adorn it with beautiful antiques.

In this article I will share the top five interior antique decorating tips along with videos for those who are more visual learners. (All videos come from an antique enthusiast on YouTube who also owns a Leesburg Virginia antique store.)

In Case You Want More

If you want more great antique information and tips, here are some top-notch resources:

Antique Decorating Video Tips on YouTube

(Many useful antique decorating videos can be found here)

Seasons NL Antiques on Facebook

(A small but growing group on facebook that overloads on antique photos to help you visualize your decorating ideas)

Get out a pen and paper and prepare to become an antique decorating expert!
Get out a pen and paper and prepare to become an antique decorating expert!
Magnify your goals
Magnify your goals

Determine Your Objective (Tip #1)

If you have a schedule vacation to PARIS, FRANCE would you just show up in Paris hoping to make the most of your vacation? Or would you plan ahead so that you could maximize your time abroad?

Well, the same is true of interior decorating with antiques. A little bit of planning will go a long way.

The best way to do this is to get out a pen and paper and organize your thoughts. Determine what it is that you want to accomplish with your antiques.

Do you want to incorporate antiques into your existing décor? Maybe you have a few antiques that you want to make as the focal point of a room. Maybe you want to do your entire room decorations with antiques. Or perhaps you want to target a particular color, mood or antique era for the room.

Figure out your goal and run with it because without goals in place you will never know when you have "arrived".

Antiques on a shelf
Antiques on a shelf

Put Thought Into How You Group Antiques Together (Tip #2)

One of the first things people need to know about antique décor is to group antiques in odd numbers. Let's take a look at why that's important:

When you have a cabinet with a top and bottom shelf, group items into an odd number of rows (maybe three depending on the size). Now, imagine if there were only two rows. Or think of what it would look like if there were six rows? With two rows the shelf would feel look and "empty" and with six rows it would probably appear too crowded!

But there's a more important reason why antiques should be grouped in odd numbers: odd numbers are more appealing to the eye!

Marketers know this and that's why they price things at 3.99 instead of an even 4 dollars. Landscapers also know this and often group trees, bushes and other shrubbery into groups of 5, 7, 9, etc. It is simply more appealing to the eyes.

The second thing I'll say is this: don't scatter antiques and don't crowd them together.

If you have antiques from the baroque period don't crowd them together and don't simply "toss them together" in a corner of the room. Make a smooth flow of antiques from left to right.

Put differently: Don't crowd too many antiques together and don't scatter miscellaneous antiques throughout a room. Crowding similar items together is often hard on the eyes- so don't do it!

The third thing I tell people is to group similar objects together. If you have ironstone antiques displayed on the shelves, don't have one shelf full of antique dolls, then another full of ironstones, then another full get the idea. Don't split shelves up with unrelated items.

And finally....

Stick with the theme of the room. Don't have one portion of the room be dedicated to Baroque pieces then another portion with antiques from the Elizabethan period! It would disrupt the flow and feeling of your room.

Remember: Put thought into how you group your antiques together!

Room decorated with antiques from the Baroque period
Room decorated with antiques from the Baroque period

Find Creative Uses for Common Antiques (Tip #3)

Beware: This tip requires some creativity on your part. You will have to really think outside the box.

So get those gears turning. Try finding a quiet place, or grabbing a cup of coffee. You could also get out into nature (one of my personal favorite ways to get my creative juices flowing) or search online for what others have done with their antiques.

Here is a short list of creative useful ideas for antique décor:

- Use a vintage wooden mold as a stylish organizer on your dresser
- Frame an old poster on the wall
- Store your remote controls in an antique tin dump truck
- Use a vintage apron as kitchen window toppers
- Turn a tin bread box into a plant pot in the garden
- Take glass, marble or metal doorknobs and mount them on the wall to hang pictures or clothing items

Get inspired and have fun with it!

What will you create?

Display Antiques Creatively (Tip #4)

There are two great ways in which you can creatively display antique décor in your home.

The first way to display antiques creatively is to use another object to showcase your antique items. You could use a cabinet, a frame or even a cork board.

The second way to display antiques creatively is to call attention to your antique décor with intentional lighting. Look at the example picture to the right: a ceiling light can really draw attention to the wall! A wall mounted antique would look great under this lighting.

There are tons of other ways you can use lighting to your advantage when decorating with antiques. Try using track lighting, cabinet lights, small spotlights, an antique lamp or even a chandelier to draw attention to your room decorations.

You might even consider using special paint colors in the room to compliment the décor!

Whether by lighting or using display furniture or objects, find ways to creatively display your antique décor!


Don't Be Afraid to Mix Old With New (Tip #5)

Pair Antique with Sleek...

Why should you pair antiques with modern decorations?

Although there are many reasons, here are three primary reasons:

  1. It transcends time periods
  2. It adds richness and depth
  3. It frees you up to begin decorating instead of waiting for "all the right pieces" or extra funding.

Now let's take a look at how we can do it:

1- defy tradition and be spontaneous
Remember: The only rule is that there are no rules!

2- Cover antique furniture with fabric
Antique chairs and tables are perfect for this

3- Combine an antique object with a modern object
Take a look at the picture to the right for an example of this. See how the mirror is installed into the inside of a washbasin and then mounted on the wall? Pretty cool, huh?

4- Simply use antiques in a contemporary room
Don't make things overly complicated. It could be as simple as having a modern headboard in your master bedroom and integrating antique lamps and nightstands on either side.

If you wanted more great ideas, try googling the term mix old antiques with modern. You are guaranteed to find lots of alternative ideas and pictures.

Which Antique Decorating Tip Did You Find Most Useful?

Which tip was the best, in your opinion?

See results


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Hi Bekki,Thank you SO much! I really aptcariepe you linking to my site, and your kind and encouraging words. I also think your site is full of excellent information. It's obvious that you speak from experience in homeschooling, and you have so many good ideas and resources. I think my readers will find your site very helpful!

    • Arco Hess Designs profile image

      Arco Hess 

      3 years ago from Kansas City, Kansas

      Some very good tips here about using antiques. I like the rule that there's no rules, especially.

    • profile image

      Anthony Hansen 

      5 years ago

      Really great tip, with the stripe wall with the antique grouping!

    • profile image

      Antique Door 

      7 years ago

      This is a really great article. The trick is to find out how to draw attention the the antiques in your home, without being too obvious with their presentation. Going with antique décor is expensive, but well worth it if you have the means.

    • Peter Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Brown 

      7 years ago

      Wow Lighting-101 that's a deep question. That's probably the subject of a much longer hub or a series of hubs! Maybe in the future...?

    • noithatvanphong profile image


      7 years ago from 55 Khuat Duy Tien- Ha noi- Vietnam

      yes, that help


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What would you say are good rules of thumb when it comes to shopping for antiques. How would a novice pick out what is truly antique from something that has little value?


    • ericosiu profile image


      7 years ago

      awesome tips! i've been looking to decorate with antiques for awhile..hope you can check out my hub too!

    • AuntySa profile image


      7 years ago from Austalia

      I agree with you regarding careful planning and organizing one's thoughts when it comes to decorating. It is really important to plan everything first so there would be no waste of time and money. Great hub!

    • eventsyoudesign profile image


      7 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      Great article. Very informative. I live in an apartment and space is tight. I do have antiques, but I am afraid they do not go with my more modern furniture. This article has come in handy and I am going to rearrange my things using your ideas. Thanks! Teresa

    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 

      8 years ago from Aurora

      Very nice ideas and videos. Thanks!

    • Kiddo Zerglin profile image

      Ryan Miller 

      8 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I really enjoyed Tip #2. I have never put decorating (let alone antiques) in that type of perspective before. I did not get a chance to watch the rest of the videos or read through the comments so I will bookmark it so I can check it out later. Thank you for this awesome hub!

    • Peter Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Brown 

      8 years ago

      Glad you liked it relica!

    • relica profile image


      8 years ago from California

      Hi Peter --- Thanks for the great video on mixing old and new! Great hub.

    • Peter Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Brown 

      8 years ago

      You're welcome aleida, I'm glad you liked the antique tips.

    • aleida_77 profile image


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Grouping your antiques always raises their importance in your room's design. Thanks for all of the wonderful information as well as the interesting pictures.

    • Peter Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Brown 

      8 years ago

      Rebekah I'm glad you liked it. Antiques run in the family so I thought I'd write a hub about it :)

    • rebekahELLE profile image


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Peter, this is a wonderful, informative hub! I'm bookmarking it to come back and watch the videos. Some people just have that natural talent for decorating, but how fascinating to see this specifically for antiques (I have many!) thank you for sharing! rated up. :)


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