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Something Old, Something New – Mixing Contemporary & Antique Furniture

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If you are looking for an exciting yet balanced approach to interior design, then mixing contemporary and antique furniture is a timeless solution that will add visual interest and contrast to any home. Marrying different styles in a design scheme allows you to showcase your individuality and for each space to express its own personality without being constrained to one particular era or trend. 

“Modern spaces can especially benefit from incorporating antique and vintage pieces. They add real warmth and character, and the look can be as eclectic as you like.” – Jacqui Moskovitz 

Mix & match does not equal ‘mishmash’

Eclectic, however, is still a decor look that follows certain design principles and so just mixing any antique pieces with any contemporary items is not going to work. Juxtaposing too many different period pieces will create confusion rather than cohesion. But embracing a considered design plan with regard to layout, proportions and materials (and incorporating old and new) will always result in a well-put-together look that makes sense. 

Mixing contemporary and antique furniture

Decide upfront what the overall look is that you are hoping to achieve. Is it a contemporary look with some antique touches, or an antique look with some modern touches? When mixing modern with vintage or antique, follow the 80/20 design rule – i.e. keep 80% contemporary and let the remaining 20%  be vintage or antique accents. This will help you buy wisely and create a successful space.

Mix & match involves repetition

The simplest way of creating a coherent look when pairing contemporary and antique furniture is using repetition. Bring your look together with a common colour scheme, a repeated pattern or similar materials. There must be a mutual attribute that connects the modern and the antique to achieve intrigue and layered sophistication that will make you want to linger in a space and just enjoy the richness of the design story. 

Mixing contemporary and antique furniture

Mix & match adds depth and story

The minute you add a vintage accessory or an antique piece of furniture to a contemporary space you add originality, contrast, history and timelessness. This is the easiest way of avoiding a cookie-cutter or generic ‘showroom’ look. Bear in mind that this will take time as well-designed spaces evolve over time.

Consider the following inspirational ideas:

  • A modern, minimalist kitchen will immediately gain character by adding an antique dresser. A kitchen island will become a focal point with hanging antique pendants – creating story, harmony and interest without being distracting.
  • Transform a basic guest bathroom by hanging an ornate gilded antique mirror or a crystal chandelier for a touch of glamour. (Lighting fixtures are one of the easiest ways of combining the old with the new).
  • Adding contemporary ghost chairs to an antique dining table or partnering upholstered antique chairs with a modern wooden table will create balance and charm without being too heavy and imposing. 
  • Upholster occasional antique chairs with modern fabrics. 
  • Add a modern chair or lamp to an antique desk. 

Mixing contemporary and antique furniture

Mix & match at The Crown Collection

The Crown Collection is SA’s largest collection of antique, vintage, French, and contemporary furniture and accessories, allowing you to choose something old and something new that will add form and function to your home. Whether it is a contemporary piece of furniture or an antique piece of furniture, it needs to resonate with your style and personality. 

With over 5000 pieces of handpicked contemporary and antique furniture, our showroom is just the place to find pieces that you will fall in love with. 

If you are new to the world of antiquing, read our most recent blog highlighting 3 reasons you should be buying antique furniture. 

Find your perfect mix and match pieces by shopping online or visiting our studio at 20 Ballyclare Drive, Bryanston.

3 Reasons You Should be Buying Antique Furniture

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Antique furniture has a reputation for being prohibitively expensive and way beyond most people’s decor budgets, but that is simply not true. If you are sourcing rare collectable items, then be prepared for a hefty price tag,  but If you are simply looking for a quality piece that will spark joy in your home (we love Marie Kondo’s mantra), then vintage or antique furniture and decorative items are the ultimate and affordable design solution to add interest and story to your interiors. 

Adding antique items to your spaces far surpasses mass-produced furniture, becoming statement pieces that will add a timeless element of history and depth to your design personality and easily complementing other styles.  

“I love history. Everything is inspired by history, That is why I love vintage and antiques.” – Kelly Wearstler, Interior designer

Here are 3 reasons you should be buying antique furniture and accessories for your home:

The Style Factor

“ I collect antiques. Why? Because they are beautiful.”  – Broderick Crawford

There is no denying the inherent beauty and timeless elegance of antique furniture pieces and accessories – in any space! The craftsmanship and bespoke artistry have stood the test of time in design functionality and aesthetic form. Antique and vintage items add an old-world charm to a space, giving your design a sense of gravitas, bringing a scheme together and becoming the conversation piece in a room. 

In a world of mass-produced generic furniture and a “disposable culture,” antique furniture and vintage items are the perfect “mix and match” items to add character and class. Every space deserves that.  

Antique furniture

The Investment Factor

“Antique things have an appreciation and a worth… If this antique is preserved and deemed precious, it could be passed down as a family heirloom.”  – CeeLo Green

Beyond their heirloom and nostalgic value, antiques are referred to as investment pieces as they do generally increase in value over the mid-to-long term instead of depreciating like more modern inexpensive and mass-produced furniture. So buying antiques is buying smart. 

Newer furniture designs are often made with laminated chipboard and will generally last between 10 and 20 years, not surviving daily wear and tear well. This means their second-hand value is way less than what you purchased them for. 

Solid wood antique furniture retains its value and grows in value as it is more robust and less likely to break or get damaged, making it a sound (and solid) financial investment if looked after. And there are so many options – including mahogany, oak, walnut and teak – to suit your interiors and make any space beautiful. 

Antique furniture

The Sustainable Factor

“Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the most positive benefits of buying antique furniture is its environmentally friendly factor and the impact it can have on protecting the environment. So, buying antiques becomes a responsible “recycling” eco-choice and a better buy. Research has highlighted the lower carbon footprint of antiques compared to modern manufactured furniture. A new piece of furniture that is made in China, for example, has a carbon footprint 16 times higher than the antique equivalent per year.  

Antique pieces are typically crafted from natural resources, such as wood, stone or metals. Because of the nature, longevity, quality and investment value of antique furniture and accessories, they don’t tend to end up being thrown away like their modern mass-produced counterparts and ending up in landfills. 

The Crown Collection Factor

No matter what your experience in sourcing antique furniture may be, the Crown Collection is your place to start. With over 5000 pieces of eclectic and decorative antique, French, vintage, and contemporary furniture and accessories, there is something for your home. 

From armoires, mirrors, chests, linen presses, console tables, cabinets, tables, chairs, settees, sofas, gilded furniture, chandeliers, lanterns, candelabras, silver or crystal accessories, The Crown Collection is the “one-stop-shop” for the discerning antique collector. 

Shop online or visit our studio at 20 Ballyclare Drive, Bryanston.

The Language of Antiquing – Is it Antique or Vintage Furniture?

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Whether you are a novice collector or a seasoned aficionado, there is a unique language to antiquing. From 20th-century interiors such as Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle to 21st-century homes, sourcing antique furniture requires certain skills, general antiquing knowledge and training your eye to ensure the pieces you purchase will not only add a sense of story to your space, but will be authentic investment pieces that will offer longevity and timeless style. 

As you scout for armoires, chaises and chests of drawers to Tiffany desk lamps, crystal chandeliers and decorative objets d’art, you need to know your Chesterfield from your Chippendale, your Rococo from your Baroque, and your Louis XVI from your George I – just for starters. Then you need to differentiate between mahogany, imbuia, rosewood and walnut. But that is the wonder and delight of becoming a collector and appreciating the history, utilitarian backstory and status of each piece of antique furniture.

When you buy an antique piece – you are buying a piece of the past. You need to be in love with it because any period piece deserves to become a design statement and conversion piece in your home. 

But any discerning collector of antique furniture needs the simple basics and definitions of what sets an antique piece apart from its vintage counterpart. 

Antique Furniture

In broad terms, antique furniture has a higher value because of its age, quality, rarity, handmade craftsmanship, fine artistry and period detailing. (It is not just any item that is really old).

Most antique dealers and experts are agreed that to earn the label ‘antique,’ a piece of furniture needs to be at least 100 years old. (Fine antique dealers consider objects 150 years and older to be antique).

Shopping for antiques should be viewed in the same way as buying original art. Whilst some items can be purchased as an investment, many buyers purchase antique pieces simply for their love of an item – the style, look and feel.  Antique furniture and accessories should be enjoyed in your spaces, giving depth, individuality and interest as well as growing in value over time as they become more scarce and harder to source.

Antique furniture

Vintage Furniture

“An item described as ‘vintage’ should speak of the era in which it was produced.” – Ruby Lane

What makes vintage items highly collectable and valuable is their recognisable qualities that are unique to the specific era in which they were made. Generally speaking, to be termed ‘vintage,’ a piece needs to be at least 30 – 99 years old. Shopping for vintage pieces also includes an element of nostalgia. (But once again, not everything that falls into this timeline is vintage).  

‘Mid-century modern’ is currently a vintage trend that is very popular among designers and collectors, and authentic pieces from that era are highly sought after. Characterised by simplicity and functionality, the ‘Mid-century modern’ movement was started by Bauhaus architects and designers who moved to America from Germany after WWII. 

Antique furniture

The Crown Collection

Sourcing antique furniture is an exciting pastime. A visit to The Crown Collection is not only an elegant step back in time, but it is also an opportunity to be surrounded by beautifully curated antique and vintage pieces that will add interest, character and design depth to your home. Stepping into our showroom is reminiscent of stepping into a London, New York or Paris emporium. 

As one of South Africa’s finest and largest interior decor stores, our collection houses over 5000 pieces of carefully hand-picked decorative antique, French, vintage and contemporary pieces that will appeal to any collector. The Crown Collection is your “one-stop-shop” for the discerning buyer.

Shop all our antique furniture and accessories online or visit our studio at 20 Ballyclare Drive, Bryanston. 


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