Vintage Interior Style

Great news that the Little Birds Market is setting up shop again this Sunday 10 July on the first and second floors of Sloans, Glasgow, from 12 noon until 5pm. Vintage guru Laura McIlquham of whose retro inspired home is featured on this page, promises that it will bring together the very best in vintage, craft and design offerings.

Says Laura: “This month we have upcycled vintage and retro furniture and accessories from ‘I’m a Good Girl Designs’ including chairs, tables and artwork, a gorgeous range of jewellery from ‘Nicola Reed Jewellery’, handmade accessories, purses, & knick knacks from ‘Frayed at the Edges’ , and the chance to try your hand at ceramic painting with The Life Craft. Plus much more!”

Entry is free. Visit Little Birds Market on Facebook for more information and monthly market dates.

In the meantime, here’s my take and some tips on vintage interior style…………..

Putting a personalized spin on the familiar by mixing modern items with much-loved pieces provides a visual, almost emotional connection to the past as well injecting your home with personality.

It’s all about balance, as if you restrict yourself off-the-moment pieces, the room will feel like a style laboratory, while wholesale vintage without a contemporary context will have all the style of a down-at-heel ‘B’ movie.

It’s no coincidence that this return to pairing treasured pieces with updated items has coincided with the recession, as these are elements that cannot be bought and make the story of your home unique and different.

A whole new generation is cherry picking pieces from the past and using them in an original way. We’re even seeing a softer side to property maven Kirstie Allsopp who demonstrated the fine art of transforming car boot sale and thrift shop finds into something fresh and fabulous in her Channel 4 series Kirstie’s Homemade Home.

For example, the crystal dish that graced your granny’s sideboard may not be to your taste, but it evokes precious childhood memories, and can easily be updated by filling it decorative pebbles.

Modern vintage style may not come with a strict tick list but the rule of thumb when grouping objects together is to start by taking everything away, then slowly put things back piece by piece and play around with them.

When mixing furniture periods, create some surprises with upholstery by putting retro patterns on contemporary pieces and very modern fabrics on vintage furniture and antiques. Being nimbly inventive with textiles and textures enlivens a room as well as making the pieces appear more distinctive.

Just which eras you decide to pick and mix is a matter of personal preference, but they will need a strong contemporary palette of colours and textures, along with good lighting; ideally have everything on dimmers switches for a mix of moods.

There is no reason why a 1970’s chrome and smoked glass drinks trolley cannot sit next to a modern modular sofa in front of a Victorian fireplace, while a traditional Persian rug can add warmth and colour to a clean-lined kitchen.

Laura McIlquham who runs vintage homewares and interiors website points out: “Mixing vintage and contemporary style can really add diversity and a curiosity factor to your home.

“It can also be fun marrying the two styles together and seeking out interesting pieces and finds from both the high street and vintage outlets. Open your mind to new shopping opportunities – visit vintage shops and sites such or take a trip to an auction.”

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, as when you mash it up with modernity, you end with something even better.

Style Tips from
Invest in mismatched old frames and add new photographs of family and friends. Create a feature wall by hanging them all together – or mix them with new frames and pictures on the same wall.

Get the balance right – why not add some vintage cushions to a new sofa – or vice versa. This new retro look silk cushion (£59) from BoConcept is perfect for adding a colourful splash of nostalgia.

Vintage and contemporary style work really well on the dining table – mix new plates with teacups for serving desserts and spruce up a new crisp tablecloth with quirky vintage napkins. These emerald green dessert dishes (£12 for four) and this teacup (£6) from are ideal.

There’s some fantastic interior shops that offer clean lines and classic shapes and colours which have more than a nod of nostalgia to them.

Placing a vintage eiderdown at the bottom of the bed or replacing the top pillowcases with vintage embroidered or bright retro slips can really give the bed room a different look. Try this feather filled floral vintage quilt (£70) from set against a modern white duvet cover.






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