Decor Fusion: How to Combine Vintage with Modern Elements

Welcome to CoziNest, Gary Ashton

Gary is a realtor in Nashville, TN and contributed the following article to help homeowners and/or stagers combine vintage with modern elements in our homes. Thank you Gary, for allowing CoziNest to feature your tips and advice. We are honored.

Decor Fusion: Tips for Combining Vintage with Modern Elements in a Home

There is something to be said for the craftsmanship of vintage or antique furniture. Many of these items last for generations. While the standard living room set often feels stale and downright boring; vintage elements add personality and variety to a space. The mix of vintage with modern elements can make a room pop. 

That being said, there is an art to mindfully combining disparate elements from different periods. Consider personal style and functionality when incorporating items from different periods. Use the following suggestions to add inspiring twists to living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and more.

Choose with Thought

Key pieces of furniture add a particular feel in a home and bring in a sense of history. However, not every vintage piece or antique is worthy of your space. Look for vintage and antique items in good or excellent condition.  Joints should be secure. There is little point to choosing items that need significant repair. Items constructed from real wood make them an excellent choice to anchor a room. 

Vintage with Modern Decor

Minimalist Style with a touch of vintage. Your eye is drawn to the clock and the chest adds a feminine touch.

Design Around the Piece

Furniture is often chosen to demonstrate the function of a space, which is why people often prefer staging their home when it’s up for sale. A beautiful headboard, vintage dining table or accent chair provides inspiration to the rest of a room or area. Other items worth considering when designing a room include wall art or a larger mirror. Partner these choices with vintage-inspired modern items.  Be consistent in applying specific trends or principals to a design to achieve overall harmony. Keep lines and shapes similar when pairing different pieces.

Keeping similar lines

You see modern with vintage here with the placement of antique brass candlesticks on the mantle. The curves of the center table coordinate with the transitional rug and the straight lines of the sofa reflect the lines of the mantle.

Pick Colors and Patterns

A little research into colors and patterns of the period go a long way in drawing out a particular theme. Look at images of the period to see how specific patterns and colors were used. Different colors from the 50’s or the Victorian period incorporated in modern living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens add whimsy and personality.

Color and pattern also add energy to a room and modernizes vintage furniture. Reupholstered older pieces, colorful textiles and prints add necessary brightness to generally neutral-colored spaces.  Throw in a pillow, add a centerpiece to the table or a bowl of fruit in the kitchen. Color, when used consistently, creates a cohesive appearance in a room with mixed elements and furniture.

adding color

Keep Scale Consistent

Whether it’s high or low, the scale in a room should be similar. High backed chairs feel ill-placed next to low and wide mid-century pieces. A small carved love-seat looks out of place near overstuffed seating. Maintain similar heights in order to make arrangements of furniture blend well together.

Plan the Space

Are you planning a formal room or a more relaxed space? Designers and homeowners should share the same objective.  Select a particular theme and adhere to the specified principals as you design the space. The addition of pieces from different periods offers a cohesive feel and look to the room. 


It is not hard to mix elements if one is mindful of the general layout. Remember to distribute elements equally and do not simply clump all items of one period together. Balance is about the integration of vintage furniture with contemporary pieces. The eye finds harmony in a design with styles spread throughout a space strategically.

Bring old and new together. Arrange your furnishings in delightful ways. Visitors will want to come in and stay a while.

Photo by Bruce Mars


Gary Ashton REALTOR®
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
210 12th Ave South, Suite 201
Nashville, TN, 37203

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White Trash Treasure-Metal and Glass Table

Repurposing furniture can be as simple as changing out the hardware or painting it a different color. I found these tables and transformed them into two Modern Metal and Glass Side Tables using spray chalk paint and a wee bit of creativity!


metal wood tables before

 Sorry for the blurry picture.


I was picking up another item when I saw these tables sitting off to the side of the seller’s garden shed. (Sorry this is the only picture I have of the tables before the makeover.) I knew immediately that I would change the color, but I loved the combination of wood and metal. I’ve had them in my garage now for months trying to decide what exactly I wanted to do with them.

I’m not a fan of wood that has an orange tint, so my first decision was what color to paint or restain them. The metal was a deep brown with flecks of gray throughout, so gray was my choice.

Metal Accents


Gray Paint with Amy Howard Dark Wax

I cleaned them and then took them apart. Each section of the legs came apart and the metal just slipped right off. After sanding the wood, I sprayed them with gray spray chalk paint. I sprayed 2 coats and let them dry for a couple of days. Then I added Amy Howard Dark Wax to the legs and put them all back together.

Rust-oleum Chalked Paint

I purchased two quarter-inch pieces of round glass and added them to the top. They are so pretty.

Metal Glass Tables

I think they will look great on a screened porch, in a sunroom or on a long front porch. They would look delightful in a den and are masculine enough for a mancave. Where would you use them? They are offered separately or as a pair.

Tables After

When you visit Southern Antiques and Accents, be sure to go by booth 141 and sign up for email. Once a month, there will be a drawing for my followers. September’s drawing is for the “Moonshine Jug” pictured here with the 3 Drifts Away clipboard. Sandy Hinchey (my partner in the booth) makes these clipboards out of reclaimed wood.

Thanks so much for reading and following this little blog. I love adding a story to recycled or repurposed furniture or accessories.

This Week’s Special 8/28/17

Child's Rocker
Use this rocker in every room of your house for a dramatic touch.

  • add a whimsical pillow for your porch, bedroom or living room
  • use as a pedestal for potted flowers
  • display cookbooks on top of cabinets
  • clip photos of your children to the back rungs and add their favorite doll or stuffed animal
  • remove rockers and hang on wall to store towels, books, dolls, etc.
  • use for photo prop
  • stencil names on back like (sweetie pie, sugar, angel)
  • use on tabletop for baby shower to display gifts, food or flowers
  • dress doll in christening gown and display in baby’s room
This rocker is for sale in the CoziNest Antiques & Decor booth located at

Daphne Antique Galleria

1699 Highway 98

Daphne, AL 36526


Call 251-625-2200 to reserve.

Item # COZ 14


Tea Towels and Mad Men

I have everything from delicate, linen tea towels, to mid-century modern triangular pieces. The modern pieces remind me of one of my all-time favorite tv shows, Mad Men. In the words of Don Draper:


“In my heart, I know we cannot be defeated, because there is an answer that will open the door.”


Open the door of Southern Antiques & Accents and find your perfect treasure! Tea Towels and furniture, anyone?

bench for extra seating

Theses mid-century modern end tables are straight out of the Mad Men era. They would have been perfect in Don Draper’s living room or perhaps yours? Fusing modern decor with antiques make any room more interesting.

Displaying Tea Towels

Galvanized Basket
I would love to see this galvanized basket filled with succulents, small tea towels and smooth river rocks.

vintage fire dogs
These Brass Firedogs would be perfect as bookends. Or add a small rectangle box with a floral arrangement. Place on a bathroom shelf and roll tea towels across the two.

Set of three bottles
Add these to your vintage bottle collection. Set of three.

Vintage Scales
Add an arrangement of succulents or hydrangeas with a trailing vine atop this vintage scale. Set it on a bathroom counter with a basket of soaps or in your den with bundles of books sitting on top.

Frames, Vases and Hurricane Globe Lamps

Picking Peanuts

I’ve named this very old artwork, “Picking Peanuts” because it looks like a family picking and boiling peanuts. It reminds me of many trips to the beach as a kid, where we passed boiled peanuts stands on the side of the road.

Round wooden platter

Add this round, wood-like cutting board to your collection. It has been sealed with polyurethane, so is for decorative use only. It would also make a great base for a floral arrangement, or a small tray in your kitchen.


Here’s a small, earthy piece of pottery with swirling color and a unique glazing technique.

Fill Drawers and Picture Frames with Tea Towels

Very Vintage Drawer


I love finds like this one! This is an old handmade drawer that I imagine a farmer using in his barn to store tools. Great farmhouse look to hold cookbooks on your counter, hand towel and toiletries in your bathroom, or any number of ideas for your den, man-cave or she-shed. Add felt to the bottom and use it to store your jewelry.  It could also be a catch-all on your desk for all those papers you need to file.

crystal vase

Sit this lovely crystal vase inside the handmade drawer above and use both for your makeup brushes and cosmetics.


Joanna Gaines loves to use lots of empty frames on one wall. Here’s one to start or finish your collection. Another idea would be to use your collection of frames to display tea towels, sort of like this …


Tea Towel Display from Carley Kelley


I found this display on Carley Kelley’s Blog from her visit to Joanna Gaines store, Magnolia. I have also just gotten some vintage linen towels in that would be too cute hung like this! That’s a future project for the booth!

Vintage Hurricane Lamp

This beautiful vintage hurricane lamp would be gorgeous sitting in a front window of your home. Or add it to a modern vanity to mix an antique with something contemporary. Both globes light up, so it would also make a very pretty night light.

Triangle Candelabra

Last, but not least, this triangular candelabra would look perfect on that mid-century modern coffee table, don’t you think? What other ways would you use this unique piece?

Don Draper
Mad about Mad Men


Another Draper quote,

“You want some respect? Go out and get it for yourself.” To which I would add:  “You can find some by shopping at Southern Antiques & Accents! Find a treasure here and turn it into your own masterpiece.” Happy shopping!

254 Greeno Road

Fairhope, AL 26532



Featured Image Credit: The New York Daily News

Magic Makeover

31 Days of Flipping Out has been so much fun. And today’s flip is probably one of my favorites. A recent decorating client asked my sister and I to “work our magic” in her home. She has recently moved into her house and needed help getting everything finished. It was a pleasure and an honor to be asked. She previously owned an antique store so she has a lot of pretty things. She could have done it all herself because she truly has an eye for furniture, but her schedule doesn’t permit it – SO, lucky us!

Who is “us”? My company, Rave Redux (a take off from the phrase rave reviews) focuses on using items clients already own. We do this for four reasons:

  1. Most clients love their things and it makes them happy to keep them
  2. To save things from the landfill
  3. It’s fun to use our creative thinking caps, and
  4. To save our clients money.

It has been my experience that when we get tired of things we can always move things around, paint them, even take them apart and repurpose them. It is always such fun to see “old” things used in a different way. This client’s home was perfect for us because she loves the same things.

Some of my before pictures didn’t turn out clear enough with my cell phone, but the after-photos just had to be shared. She has ongoing projects and a wish list for future changes, but all in all is happy in her new home.


Welcome home! The foyer already had the furniture and the mirror was sitting atop the chest. Kristie and I simply hung the mirror and added the runner, urn and art piece. Look carefully and you’ll see a scarecrow in the mirror.


She has lots of pretty pieces of ironwork, so we hung this piece over the door. Our next visit will include accessorizing the secretary to the left.

Entertainment Center

Again, I apologize for cell phone pictures. This entertainment center was empty except for the tv. Kristie added her accessorizing magic to this piece in the living room.

Wall Art

This piece to the left of the entertainment center is a folding three-tiered table that we loved on the wall.

Sofa Table

Our client has gorgeous antique pieces and this buffet used as a sofa table is the perfect size for her sofa. We left her with a short shopping list, upon which was 4 more candles for this candelabra.


We added light colored accessories to brighten up the dark wood of this secretary.


This piece was completely empty. We added books, family photos and a few collectibles. She loved the touches of red.


Of all the accessorizing we did here, her mantle is my favorite. The piece of iron weighs 900 gazillion pounds and took two of us to get it onto the mantle. It was too heavy to hang, but looks great propped up there. And believe me, it’s not going anywhere!

Coffee table Books

I heart coffee table books.

Dining Room Before

This is one before-picture of her dining room that sort of turned out. We moved one of the cabinets to another room and now she only has one on the wall to the left. No picture, but it looks great. The movers broke the mirror in the armoire and are in the process of replacing it.


We decided against the Japanese screen and added the mirrors, lamps and a pop of blue to her buffet.

Buffet Vignette

On her wish list is to someday update the wallpaper and shower curtain in this bath, but it came with the house. For now we decided to make it her “frilly, girlie room.” These are before pictures.

Guest Bath Before

water closet

And this is after…

Water Closet

Ironwork over Shower

Chair in the Bath

We were able to finish four rooms in about 8 hours. Our client was very pleased and has even asked when we can come back to work in her bedrooms and kitchen. I’ll take my cadillac of cameras with me next time. Thank you, dear lady, for trusting us with your antiques. You have a beautiful home!