Become a Mix Master: How to Incorporate Heirloom Pieces into Your Décor


If you own any furniture that’s been passed on from generation to generation, then you know that family heirloom pieces are among the highest quality furniture you own – pieces that were built to last and meant to be cherished.

While it’s not hard to appreciate these antique pieces on their own, incorporating heirloom pieces into your existing décor can pose somewhat of a challenge. There’s a good chance your style isn’t exactly on par with your great Aunt Ethel’s and her old armoire may not fit in with your modern aesthetic.

The good news? With a creative approach, it is possible to marry beloved family heirlooms with contemporary styles. Here’s how to become a mix master.


Create balance.

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Your goal with incorporating antique pieces should be to give your space a sense of gravitas and character, not to make your room feel like a time capsule or museum. In order to achieve this, it’s important to balance older furniture items with newer items. Surround an ornate pedestal dining table with Lucite chairs, for example, or offset a classic wingback chair with a streamlined tuxedo sofa. At the same time, prevent an heirloom from becoming the design oddball in a contemporary room by adding in one or two other antiques from the same period.


Choose a cohesive color scheme.

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In a room that mixes and matches styles and eras, it’s especially essential to stick to a cohesive color scheme. This will unify your design and ensure that your room has a consistent feel. A good rule of thumb for using color to unite a space: repeat each hue or finish at least three times throughout the room.


Reimagine a piece for today.

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Some things are just not as useful as they once were. Case in point: sewing tables, steamer trunks, and washbasins. But that doesn’t mean you need to cast them aside. Instead, give these items a new purpose that’s better suited to a modern lifestyle. While you might not be packing up that steamer trunk for your next vacation, you may find that it makes the perfect coffee table for a small seating area.

Give an heirloom an update.

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Just because a piece is an antique doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from an update – after all, how can something be expected to stand the test of time when it’s stuck in the past? You might be surprised by how different a vintage oak credenza can look with a coat of red lacquer paint, or how much you’ll come to love your antique dining chairs once the dated fabric on the seat cushions is replaced with something fresh and modern. If you’re worried you’ll ruin a sacred family piece, forgo the DIY route and hire a professional to help.


Get an expert opinion

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Try as you might, if you can’t seem to come up with a way to make an heirloom a cherished part of your home, it might be time to call in an expert. No, that doesn’t mean shelling out thousands of dollars to work with an interior designer. Instead, try an online design service like Decorist. The platform will set you up with your own dedicated designer you can create you a room plan that incorporates your existing pieces for as little as $199. Use the code Lofty for $20 off a Decorist Design Service.

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