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Create the Perfect Vintage Living Room

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Vintage can relate to a range of eras, and deciding which vintage year to base your décor on is half the battle. From a jet-set 1950’s kitchen to a 30s style boudoir bathroom, vintage can often be the starting point of a masterpiece, but without the right direction, your ideas can spiral into a confused mess. The point is to recreate a tried and tested décor rather than coming up with new concepts – a mismatch of clashing items will only leave your living room without a coherent theme. To create that perfect vintage living room, you need to make sure you’ve thought about all the necessary elements.

Work with what you have

If you live in a converted warehouse with industrial windows and bare brick walls, creating a classic Victorian drawing room may pose a challenge. And at the other end of the spectrum, a living room with high ceilings, cornices and picture rails may not look its finest with a 1960s inspired splash of colours. Using original features, restoring a fireplace back to its former glory, or refraining from covering authentic wooden floorboards can create a great focal point and really bring your vintage look together.

Work with a room’s original features.

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Deciding on an era

Although this doesn’t have to be set in stone (as it where), having a specific historical time to focus your creative energy on is key if you’re to avoid straying from your chosen theme. Some of us are lucky enough to have an heirloom or trinket that serves as the inspiration for that perfect vintage living room. However, if you need more help in this regard it is advisable to visit as many vintage retailers as possible. In fact, there are plenty of places you can draw inspiration from, whether it’s a friend’s home, a magazine, or a vintage clothes shop. Find out what moves you and build your time frame or vintage era around it.

Colours and prints

Choosing a high quality authentic item as a starting point can be a great way to build ideas. Whether it’s that lampshade you fell in love with, or your grandmother’s old typewriter, have something that your room can evolve from. Decide upon a starting point, and draw up a few ideas for colours or patterns from this. Most importantly, stick to your choices when shopping for items to match. However much you fall in love with those curtains, ask yourself if they will they fit in with the items you’ve been collecting already. Deciding on a wall colour can be made simple by choosing one colour from your favourite vintage item.

Finding accessories

The best place to start is with larger pieces, as these will, invariably, end up being the major focus of the room. Having said that, vintage design is really all about the smaller items, the details and the authentic touches. Your friends and family are less likely to be complementing you on your coffee table when they see that lamp with the unusual design, or the picture frame that came straight from an English manor estate.

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When hunting for accessories, take note of how the patterns on them were created. Older, authentic vintage items are usually handmade or drawn and often have little flaws that add character. There are also some very good replicas available to buy, which can be a great alternative if you want a specific design that you just can’t find in antique shops.


Your choice of furniture and fabrics should be dictated by the look you’re going for, which is why deciding on your vintage year is the best place to start. Make sure you look at new sofas and coffee tables as well as antiques – newer furniture that is made to look vintage will often last longer and feel more comfortable. Take the Little Lady, for example. This is a sofa design based on an antique chair – it mixes vintage with that fresh new furniture feel.

The Little Lady sofa.

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