Ten Tips / Vintage Interiors

Photo Nathalie Pecht for The Independent

Some of you may have noticed over time that I am a bit of a 50s & 60s furniture maniac. I explained some of my decoration ideas in The Independent, as well as in a previous post that I wrote shortly after moving in my new flat. I’ve always had very strong ideas about decoration themes & it so far, vintage furniture and objects have bee the best to convey my ideas.
Here are ten tips to turn your house or flat into a vintage paradise.

❤ Choose a theme

It is much easier to decorate a room once you have a theme in mind. Be it a colour scheme, film or music inspiration or a specific era, it will facilitate your job & search. Here are the themes I chose for my house: enchanted forest (living room), 50s diner (kitchen, how original), museum (hallway) – I still have to find a theme for the bedroom other than “bombsite”.

❤ Make a list

Once you have your theme, the best thing is to make a very precise list of what you want. For my living room for example, I wanted china animals from the 50s & 60s, ideally a plush deer head, hunting decoys etc. For the hallway, I was after various old paintings of Lynch amongts others. Write everything down, and when you next head to a Jumble sale, take your list with you. It will help you scan the mess for the hidden gem. To make lists, I like to go on Listography.

❤ Find good places

With a list burning your pocket, you have to find good places to go get your junk. I have a confession for you… I never EVER go to car boot sales. I know a lot of people who swear by them and find amazing stuff all the time. All I see when I think about them is getting up early and looking at endless piles of tatty tee-shirts & broken playstations. I prefer charity shops (they also have tatty tee-shirts and broken playstations, but at least they open all day) or small antiques shop. I used to look on eBay a lot, but nowadays everything on there is too expensive.

❤ Do your research

Get some books about the eras of design you like. Read them, take notes. I am really nerdy about decoration (and everything in general), so I like to know what I am talking about. This is also a good way to know a bargain when you see one. I have an Ercol table & an Arkana tulip table. They each cost me £1. Because I knew how to identify them straight away. Knowing your designers, in vintage decoration and in vintage fashion can save you a lot of time and effort.

❤ Make it work

Throwing together a bunch of vintage items doesn’t necessarily make a stylish home. It can also look like a bric à brac. The important thing is to manage to mix the old and the new and keep people guessing. If all the furniture and trinkets blend together, then it should be hard to tell the vintage from the new.

❤ Don’t be afraid of change

Sometimes, finding the perfect look for a room comes straight away, but most of the time, it takes a while and some living in. My friends generall laugh at me because each time they come over something has moved in the flat. It is because I am constantly looking for the perfect place for everything. I used to avoid being in my living room because I found it a bit cold, once the furniture was swapped around a bit, it became a lovely room to hang out in.

❤ Paint

If you find that you have all the right furniture but your flat still doesn’t feel vintage enough, do some period research and look into paint colours & textures. There are some very good books about this, but the best would be to find an original decoration book from the era you are going for.

❤ Focus on one room at a time

I made the mistake of going in all directions at the same time. As a result, the bedroom still needs work. If you progress one room at a time, you will give yourself time to think and identify exactly what you need in each room. And add to your list. For example a G-Plan sideboard in the bedroom, an Eames rocker in the living room, a modernist desk in the study etc. You don’t want to end up with all the nice stuff in one room and all IKEA in the rest of the house.

Now, I would love to show photos of your best vintage decoration finds & the story behind it. The best one will be featured in a post on this blog!