Type "antique" into dictionary.com and some pretty unflattering synonyms pop up: aged, elderly, obsolete and out-of-date. I beg to differ! Maybe it's because I grew up in a home filled with antiques from around the world. Maybe I am just getting old (aged, elderly, obsolete and out-of-date…). But I can't imagine decorating a room without a single piece of antique furniture. Why?
1. Antiques tell a story. Antiques are relics of the past: they carry the weight of bygone conversations, obsolete customs and etiquette. They are a reminder of the extravagances — and the hardships — of another era. And antiques that are inherited from your ancestors provide a tangible link to your own heritage.
2. Antiques are green! Antiquing is the ultimate in eco-friendly shopping. Antiques are inherently recycled and reused. And by buying an old piece, likely constructed before our dependence on oil, you are extending an already impressive life cycle! Very few products can claim such longevity.
3. Antique furniture is generally very well made — and made by hand. If it has lasted this long it will likely withstand the daily grind of modern life. Of course, antiques can break and they do carry their own set of rules for maintenance and cleaning. But a table that has lasted through 200 year's worth of meals is probably pretty well made. Moreover, scuffs and imperfections are often celebrated in antique furniture not dreaded.
4. Antiques are trendproof. While antique pieces are less likely to be super trendy they are also less likely to ever be completely untrendy. If you buy a piece with beautiful lines, curves and construction it is unlikely to offend even the trendiest of trendoids.
5. Constrast is good. Antiques can add texture, energy and personality to even the most modern or contemporary decor. In fact, it is the contemporary room that benefits most from a few antiques. The old pieces cast a new light on the newer pieces — and vice versa. If your living room is chock full of mid century modern, adding an ornate Rococo console table or Gustavian barrel back chair turns a monochromatic (albeit stylish) setting into something truly original and fun.
6. Antiques retain or increase in value. Well-cared for antiques go up in value over time. While prices rise and fall (many experts say that now is the best time to invest in antiques, by the way), antiques are a good investment over the long haul. In some ways a new piece of furniture is like a new car: the new models plummet in value the minute you drive them off the lot.
Have any more reasons to add to the list? Let us know...
Image: From Thomas O'Briens beautiful book, American Modern, that features rooms with great mixes of antiques and contemporary pieces.