Antiques and Interior Design

Living Rooms

For many, the idea of antiques evokes images of stuffy mansions or the furniture grandmother never let us sit upon. However, we at Hoskins Interior Design feel there is a place for these pieces of history in all design styles. Their unique character can add another dimension to a room. Adding old pieces to a new space develops an evolved look, like the elements have been collected over time or generations rather than purchased all at once. And, as one of our clients says, you get instant heritage from antiques – you can buy some ancestors!

Designing with Antiques

In contemporary or modern spaces, including antiques can bring a warmth that can be lacking within these styles. A piece of artwork with a baroque frame, antique chairs with an interesting silhouette, or a pair of French side tables next to a contemporary sofa can mellow a space. Also, finishes become more beautiful with age – the richness of a mahogany table top that has been waxed for 100 years is difficult to match with today’s furniture. Finally, the detailing within many antiques provides a beautiful way to add visual interest. These unique pieces keep a room from getting to sleek or hard-edged.

Antique sofas

For example, we included two reupholstered antique Chippendale sofas in this early 2000-built contemporary space. The armchair, ottoman and coffee table are new. – The sofas create different silhouette in the space, adding visual interest. Our client already owned these sofas, made 30’s or 40’s with beautiful carvings that today are difficult to find at a reasonable price. We had them reupholstered in white damask to lighten the room and the look of dark, serious furniture. By grouping them with new furniture pieces, we brought an airy, transitional look the client wanted.

Sophisticated Rustic Dining Room

Traditional to eclectic spaces may offer even more opportunities to include antiques. projects where we are including a lot of newly purchased traditional-style furniture, we add antiques to bring some age into the space. And, we are cognizant to place them in a highly visible spot to make the most of their character.

The elements of good design still apply to bringing antiques into your space. Scale, color, texture, function etc all need to be considered when choosing the perfect piece.

Shopping for Antiques

First and foremost, when buying antiques, look for a reputable antique dealer who has the knowledge and expertise to help you purchase well. We have a long-standing relationship with Beauchamp Antiques in Westfield, Indiana, built on decades of working together to find the perfect pieces for our clients. We come to them with our parameters, such as size and function, and they guide us through the fun of finding something interesting. They are the experts in their stock, taking us to things we may not normally see with self-browsing. And, they know how to pull together multiple items based on our client’s needs. Finally, the staff at Beauchamp not only has superb taste and knowledge, they are passionate restoration professionals as well. They allow these old pieces to be usable – artfully replacing support systems and padding, or making drawers moveable and light fixtures safe. Remember, particularly with sofas and chairs, you are buying the structure, silhouette and carving of the piece. You can change the fabric and the comfort.

Keep an open mind when you are shopping of antiques. The one-of-a-kind nature of these pieces can create opportunities to get creative. Leave your preconceived notions at the door as you wander – you never know what you are going to come across. A gorgeous fire back could become a range backsplash. An old door or gate could be the perfect entry to a wine cellar. Old tiles could be repurposed into wall art. Discover what intrigues you and then figure out how it can be used within your design!

Antiques have a reputation for being expensive. In some cases, the unique nature of the piece does make it pricey. However, we find antiques offer quite a value, particularly in lighting. New quality light fixtures are quite expensive these days, and the craftsmanship does not compare to the days of old. Knowledgeable restorers can rewire chandeliers, lamps and sconces to make them usable while staying true to their heritage.

We have clients who love collecting antiques. They have an appreciation for the craftsmanship, detailing, and quality of these old pieces, and want them to be a part of their homes. For the newbie, accessories may be the perfect entry point to try out the world of antiques. Teapots, books, ceramics, and statues can be artfully placed in a tabletop, mantle or shelving vignette to begin adding warmth and richness. Antiques have a place in every design style – let your imagination run wild!

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