Using retro pieces in a new home
Just because you’re living in a new house doesn’t mean you can’t work in some old favourites
Q I love vintage-inspired interiors, but I have a new home. Do you need to live in an older home too be able to use vintage furniture?
A The simple answer is no. Modern properties can benefit from old furniture, but it’s all in the styling.
Founder and managing director of James mes Said, Bethany Said (pictured), says her whole business is based around mid-century design, and you don’t need to recreate period homes from the 1950s to able to work the pieces into your home. In fact, the rule book has been rewritten. “Whether you are working with art deco pieces, or anything retro, you want to add a modern feel to it,” she says.
“We’re very careful how we put our pieces together, and it all starts with a clean palette.”
Keep it clean
If you choose well, Bethany says retro furniture can be the hero in an otherwise modern room.
“In the past, a retro space might have lots of layers of bold colours and patterns, but we definitely don’t want to make a room too chaotic,” she says.
“For us, it’s about having a clean template, with one bold piece of furniture and then a nice white curtain or a plain carpet.”
Although you might be adding some retro style to shake up your interiors, Bethany says it’s important to draw the line somewhere.
“We like to create clean, relaxed rooms, even though they are bold and edgy, they make you feel good when you’re in them,” she says.
Where to start
There will always be one item that will be the star of a room, while everything else should complement it — not overwhelm it.
In one blush pink and silver James Said-styled living room (pictured, top), Bethany says that the couch is the strongest element in the room, with furniture in tones of silver and grey blending into the background.
Although the drinks trolley, chandelier, side lamps and coffee table are all individually interesting pieces, the eye is instantly drawn to the lounge.
“You don’t want too many pieces vying for attention. You need to find that one piece that will be your inspiration, and layer from there,” she says.
Get Ge busy living
R Retro furniture can be colourful, with b bright pieces a reminder of the years before Scandinavian furniture and minimalism came to the fore. While neutral colours may be considered the “safe” option when it c comes to furniture, if you love it en enough, you should buy the colourful piece piece, Bethany says. “It’s lik like saving your best pair of shoes for one night,” she says. “I say, be brave, buy something you love, rather than buying something you think is the safe option.” When she is on a buying trip, Bethany says she is often swayed to buy according to her own personal response to a piece. “I am disinterested in other people’s idea of what will sell and I never pay any attention to what other retailers are doing,” she says. “That is my best advice to people shopping for furniture — trust your own instinct. Who better knows what you love, than you?”
The silver and grey colour scheme of this Art Deco-inspired space allows the pink velvet lounge to shine.
Graphic retro-style wallpaper ties the gold and grey colour scheme together.