Give your home the stylish vintage look
Everyone loves the revived look that interiors and exteriors take on in preparation for the much welcomed summer months. However, a spring clean is often the precursor to a bigger decorating make-over, and it could be one that involves a totally new feel and look to a home. Deciding on a style can be fun – you get an excuse to spend time leafing through glossy design magazines and visit stylish websites. It’s the best way to get ideas and draw inspiration when you want to revamp a home with well-chosen vintage furniture.
Many of us live in houses built in the Victorian or Edwardian eras, and want to recreate some of the atmosphere those early owners of the properties might have enjoyed. But you don’t need to go vintage right down to carpets and cushions. A better idea is to spend your budget on a small number of larger pieces – maybe a desk, set of chairs, wardrobe or dresser – and stick with modern materials with vintage designs for the carpets, curtains and soft furnishings.
The vintage look is a popular trend that’s stood the test time. If well thought through, vintage can add a certain cachet to a home. It’s possible to create a luxurious or cosy retro feel in your living room, kitchen or even bathrooms – think sumptuous copper bath tub surrounded by Biba style Kentia palms. Even on a small budget, it’s possible to achieve a great vintage look and have fun doing it too! To get started it’s a good idea to know about some of the main eras of vintage style.
The thirties were a very stylish decade, and about as far back as you can go before you’re in the realm of “antique”. You may want to create a Poirot-style opulent Agatha Christie ambiance. Or recreate a Jeeves and Wooster living room. Twenties and thirties furniture was characterised by clean lines, practical thinking, and a thoroughly “modern” break from the cluttered past of over-decorated Victoriana. Think bird’s eye maple desks, sumptuous walnut bedroom suites and for the lounge, think leather tub chairs paired with a Marcel Breuer style chrome chair or two. Geometric carpets and fabrics add the all important finishing touch.
Sedate Post War Trends
The post-war era brought austerity to Britain, and practicality and “built-to-last” was the uppermost in designer’s minds. It’s possible to find brilliantly made English retro furniture – Utility being one of the companies that in its heyday produced masses of utilitarian furniture. Although not to everyone’s taste back then, it’s enjoying a revival in these modern times. The great thing about retro English furniture is that because much of it had been overlooked up until recent times, it is more affordable than some Scandinavian vintage furniture that’s around.
Fifties Revival & Sixties Style
The fifties were pretty austere times for most – yet the 1951 Festival of Britain saw innovative furniture designs and futuristic objects that today, are extremely collectable. Companies like Metamec made stylish, colourful clocks whilst glassware was ultra kitsch – especially the Italian coloured glass fish that adorned many 1950’s fashionable homes. Today, the glassware is getting more and more collectible.
After the war, furniture makers like the Morris Furniture Group, began producing innovative designs. They were the brainchild of Neil Morris, son of the company’s founder. He pioneered fascinating new shapes for chairs and tables using the latest wood technology in laminated woods. Later, in the sixties, Neil Morris won awards for the now extremely collectible Bambi chair and Clouds occasional tables. Today, these items are snapped up when they appear on the market.
Other furniture makers of the time were Ercol, E Gomme, the company that produced G-Plan. Then there was Stag’s C-Range and later the Minstrel range of furniture, all of which is much sought after by people who want to recreate that retro look in the modern day home
The Scandinavian Influence
By the sixties, Scandinavian furniture makers began to make their mark all over the world. Again, furniture designs were innovative with teak and rosewood being a popular choices of wood. The teak Danish sideboard is one of the most popular vintage items of furniture today.
Sourcing retro furniture is that much easier with the advent of the Internet and it’s great fun deciding on which style to go for. There’s a heap of choices from furniture made out of exotic laminate woods to solid teak, rosewood. Then ther are the bentwoods made famous by the likes of Thonet and Alvar Aalto. It’s just a question of sitting down and deciding which would suit your lifestyle and budget. Then the fun really begins as you start sourcing the vintage furniture you want – not forgetting the all important retro objects too!