World Heritage Day: Give your home a vintage feel

[] Buying and collecting antiques and heritage artefacts may be an art, but so is preserving and integrating them into our home’s décor

In Indian culture, owning a house is always associated with a sense of pride. Most often, this sentiment also extends to our household objects. Even today, there may be many among us, who love to sleep on their grandmother’s old four-poster bed, or those who spend hours polishing and re-polishing that timeless grandfather clock.

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“When my grandmother was in her 80s, she gave away all her possessions to her grandchildren. That’s how I inherited her saris, her bookshelf and this large sofa set with feet shaped like lions’ paws,” recalls Karmeshwari Prasad, who moved from Bhubaneswar to Delhi in 2003.

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Prasad rented a house with the largest living room she could find, only to accommodate the grand sofa, while her second bedroom served as a reading room-cum-study.

“Getting all of it transported was difficult, but also worth it. Other than these two vintage pieces, all our décor is quite contemporary. So, we used colours like yellow, pink and lime green, to make the vintage furniture stand out. The wall behind the bookshelf is a relaxing shade of pink, with white motifs printed on it, while the large and overstuffed armchair next to the bookshelf is bright pink, with white cushions,” she elaborates.

Offbeat, ‘English’ colours work well, with most antique Indian furniture. For example, an olive green wall can serve as a backdrop for old family portraits, pictures of regal cars, or of large family weddings celebrated with traditional Indian fanfare.

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[] Add art to your décor

If you too want to showcase your heritage belongings, try these ideas:

  1. Buying antiques? For genuine antiques, look for certificates of provenance or authenticity and deal only with reputed, established dealers. Do your research online. You can figure out the best places to buy from blogs, or browse online sites such as Fabfurnish or Stocktail.
  2. Opt for complete sets, as other matching pieces may not be available on a later date. This applies to everything – from bedroom sets to crockery sets.
  3. When transporting the items, mark your antiques as ‘fragile’, pack them up in thermocol and bubble-wrap and have them shipped by professional packers and movers. If possible, put them in your car and drive them yourself!
  4. Look for the right upholstery. A 100-year-old sofa needs different fabric, than something built in 2016. Look for pictures of similar furniture online and then go shopping for something that will do justice to your furniture.
  5. Make space. Do not try to fit a gigantic bed into a small room. Instead, hire a decorator for that specific project and get them to adapt the bed to the size of your room. This might mean cutting or resizing the bed, but it’s far better than having to throw it out.
  6. Use the walls. See what can be hung up on the walls, or suspended from the ceiling.
  7. Do not be afraid of dark colours for the walls, drapes, or sofas. They can highlight the beauty of your artwork.
  8. Create a balance, by using warm lighting to highlight and create shadows, where necessary.
  9. If you have wooden antiques, keep them waxed and polished at all times.
  10. Use the colour white (white cushions, white stripes on the wall, or white curtains) to blend the old and new items in your décor.
  11. Make it contextual. You can mix antiques with modern pieces, but try to ensure that the room only has one or two focal points.

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Category: Rent

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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