How to Modernize Your Favorite Vintage & Antique Finds

How to Modernize Your Favorite Vintage & Antique Finds

Dabney Frake
Feb 15, 2015
(Image credit: Atif Hyder and Zainab Ahmed)

Like wide lapels on a 1970s suit, certain features and finishes clearly announce their vintage status. If you are already happy with it looks as is, grab your ruffled shirt and enjoy yourself at the prom— you are good to go. But if not, use a few quick and clever moves, and you can transform that vintage throwback into a tux worthy of the red carpet today. The same goes for old furniture and decor. Consider these tips and tricks to give your finds a fresher appeal...

(Image credit: Folk)

Add Casters: Casters automatically make things more modern and industrial, with very little effort. You can see how the look and feel of this antique dresser completely changes with over-sized wheels, as seen in London’s Folk Clothing store.

(Image credit: Go Haus Go)

Remove Dated Details: Here, Emily from Go Haus Go removed the skirt from this lime green sofa, and the remade version looks perfectly at home in her clean, modern living room.

(Image credit: Live Love DIY)

Add Sleek Hardware: Pair ultra minimal knobs and pulls with more traditional-style furniture. Virginia's dresser had classic, ornate brass pulls before she remade it for her entryway. The minimalist hardware makes you think it's much more recent than it actually is.

(Image credit: Studio McGee)

Never Underestimate the Power of White Paint: Covering everything in one color makes all those vintage details recede and white is a classic, fresh look that never fails. Above, a bedroom from Studio McGee with a faux bamboo nightstand that was refinished with new hardware and paint.

(Image credit: Timorous Beasties)

Go Against The Grain: Reupholster your thrift store chair in an ultra-modern or unexpected fabric whose pattern has nothing to do with its original style of shape. Take this Victorian chair, which was recovered in a psychedelic drip textile from Timorous Beasties.

(Image credit: Little Green Notebook)

Go With Gloss: There is something about a shiny coat of paint that dismantles a vintage vibe and adopts a more modern feel. It did the trick with Little Green Notebook's old credenza.

(Image credit: An Urban Cottage)

Incorporate Parts: Urban Cottage took some antique drawers and used them when renovating his kitchen. They lend an old-world feel within the context of an updated space.

(Image credit: Knack Studios)

Give It a Decidedly Modern Paint Job: This painted antique bed from Knack Studios is a favorite of mine. The antique-ness of the bed is in tact, but the bold blue stripe is a delicious contrast.

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