Five Approaches to a 'Modern Vintage' Style

Mega-matching decor is out; mixing old periods with new styles is in. Personalize your home by blending a variety of design elements in a modern vintage style that is uniquely yours. Follow these tips to learn how to pull off the look like an interior expert:


Almost any vertical surface can be wallpapered regardless of material: drywall, plaster, concrete, masonry and even wood paneling, according to Better Homes And Gardens. So dressing up your walls with patterns is a relatively easy and on-trend idea from past decades. To add that modern twist, consider bright-patterned wallpaper or limiting yourself to covering just one or two select walls to create some contrast.

For instance, you can use a traditional floral print in an offbeat color to add a bold touch to any room. Covering just one wall in a pattern of your choice serves as a great way to create your own focal point or to highlight an interesting architectural feature of your home. If you want to break up a big room, you can set two different wallpaper prints in similar color palates on adjacent walls to create the feel of two distinct spaces. Trellis style prints, with their vintage-inspired geometric patterns, can work well in both traditional and modern spaces, too.


The background of your home may look rather modern from white trim and molding to Wide-Plank Wood Floors but you can shake things up with a single contrasting design element that reflects a retro touch. A faux fur rug, an area rug with a flashy pattern or even a stretch of bamboo or jute mat in an unconventional spot can all give the room a hip, easy makeover.


To create a truly eclectic aesthetic, blend two furniture styles from wildly different time periods or locations. Think mid-century modern and Victorian, transitional and Georgian or Scandinavian and Japanese there are countless possibilities. But be sure to include enough unifying elements in your furnishings so that they blend well; keep an eye out for similar lines, shapes or colors.

Don't feel limited by what you can find at the store. You can easily reinterpret your finds to help blend in your modern vintage space: Transform an antique sofa by reupholstering it in a bright hue, repurpose a vintage dresser as a bathroom vanity with sleek metal hardware or accent a traditional sofa with some peppy patterned pillows. Keep some objects similar to one another, while contrasting others in style, texture and color to play up the contrast.


With the spotlight on furniture, finishes and decor, don't forget your light fixtures are an equally important part of the design. Select lighting angles and shades that capture the right mood given the room's "temperature," whether it's funky and hot, traditional and warm or edgy and cool. Light fixtures can also function as decorative pieces in your space, too. For example, chunky, industrial pendants create a masculine contrast to the curved lines and feminine flair of a French country kitchen.


As the final touch on your space, your accessories can really help bring the entire look together. Even if most of the home leans toward one particular style, you can mix in accents from other eras and themes, and easily switch them out as the seasons change or your tastes evolve. If most of your room is white and spare, include a few personality pieces, like an oversized brassy antique wall frame, a Moroccan rug, colorful thrift-shop paintings, rugged reclaimed wood tables or bold-patterned throw pillows that can warm the sitting areas up all by themselves.

It's all about balance when mixing and matching old and new decor, so don't go overboard. Pick one dominating style or theme and juxtapose it with a few contrasting details at a time. Create your own modern vintage decorative theme and add personality to every room in your home.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.