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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14 Tips on How to Open an Antique Booth

Do you think you might want to open an antique booth? Here are 14 tips on how to get started.

My love of antiques all started with one woman. My mother-in-love. She has been a collector her whole life and with two gifts from her early in my marriage, I was hooked.

Antique Gifts from my Mother-in-Love

gilded mirror

One from her…

Statue Named Wendy

And the other handpicked by her as a gift from 007.

face of wendy

How could you not be hooked by this face? Her name is Wendy and she is both young and old.

A Small Decorating Business

Years later, when Pinterest came about, my sister, Kiki (her childhood name) and I became addicts! We started a small decorating business, along with my youngest sister, Kellie, and were on the brink of opening a home staging business in our hometown, when Kiki’s husband was offered a job in another state. We loved shopping in antique stores, thrift stores and flea markets. I miss my sisters. I miss our shopping excursions and the thrill of finding something that we could transform into a gem.


So, I decided to open my own booth in an antique mall. It was a way to stay connected, in a sense, to my sisters and continue the fun of treasure hunting. I’ve learned a lot in the 3 years since I started, so I thought I’d share a few tips with those who might be thinking of opening their own booth.

14 Tips on How to Open an Antique Booth

         1. Go slow, start small.

One mistake I made was not planning the overall style of my booth ahead of time. I purchased items that I thought would sell without thought to any type of theme or style. Now 8 months later, I have items that haven’t sold and don’t really fit into the overall look I am going for. On the bright side, my customers get great prices as I work toward my new look.

Setting up an antique booth


          2. Investigate mall policies and amenities.  

If there are multiple locations for you to choose from in your area, be sure to investigate each mall and what all they have to offer. I now have two locations and love them both. One is open 7 days a week in a prime location not too far off the interstate. It has lots of booths with lots of choices in antiques and current trends. The other mall is open 6 days a week, and 30 minutes longer per day than the other. It also has lots to offer with creative, friendly booth owners, daily email with a list of items sold that day, and a monthly sales event with extended shopping hours.

          3. Buy smart.

Choose your display cases, shelving, and lighting, to fit into the overall look of your booth. Purchase items that offer beauty, style and function. I was so excited to get started, that I didn’t give a lot of thought to how I might display hanging items. I bought white pegboard and installed it right away.  Since then, I’ve fallen in love with booths using reclaimed wood, shiplap or lattice as their walls. At the very least, I wish I’d painted my pegboard and still plan to do that soon. When purchasing for your booth, shop estate sales, thrift stores, online resale sites like CraigsList, VarageSale and auctions. Make bi-annual trips to market, focusing on items that fit your style and aren’t sold in local big box stores. We can’t compete with Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby.

gathering treasures

My booth, the first month.

Budgets, Projects and Style of the Booth

          4. Set a budget.

There are booth owners who start with as little $100, but honestly, I don’t see how. Pegboard or similar materials will cost that much. A more realistic number is between $500-$1000 to get started. That does not include rent, commission or advertising.

          5.  Avoid huge project pieces, unless it’s something you love to do.  

I originally bought several pieces that needed painting or updating in some way, just for the fun of it. I now recommend starting with pieces that need little-to-no work, so you can concentrate your energy and time on setting up your booth. Work on projects to fill in as you sell items.

          6.  Plan the style of your booth.

Use your own distinct personality and taste. The name of my blog, decorating style and stage of life have everything to do with the style of my booth. CoziNest was born out of a need to refill my empty nest with new loves. So, I wanted my booth to reflect this. The goal is to feel cozy, portray a sense of nesting and offer pieces that create a comfortable home with a mix of antiques and current trends. Birds gather twigs, strings, and feathers from other locations that make their nest uniquely theirs. An osprey nest is different from that of a seagull, yet they are both seabirds. To help you get started, scan booths you love and incorporate items that match your look or style, without encroaching on their personal style.

This was my pin-spiration. Click on the photo to visit Country Provenzale e Shabby Chic site. My goal is to create a booth that reflects the style of French Industrial who married Rustic Elegance. 😉

Price Tags, Inventory and Social Media

          7.  Design your price tags.

Purchase a die-cut, cardstock, ribbon or twine and a hole punch. Stay with a predetermined color scheme for a professional look. Or, you can order tags from someone like VistaPrint, or make your own on the computer. I do a combination of all three.

          8.  Decide on a price point for your merchandise.

Is your merchandise high end? Bargain-based? Or somewhere in the middle?  I want to pass my savings on to my customers, so they’ll come back again and again. There are some items over $300, but most are below $100.

          9.  Create a spreadsheet to keep up with cost and profit of merchandise. This helps keep track of what sells and what doesn’t.

          10.  Curate your social media pages.





          11.  Restyle your booth at least once per month.

a view to a booth

July CoziNest Booth Photo

Table with Pumpkins

          12.  Keep it clean.

          13.  Items that sell: I’ve had success with storage items like baskets, canisters and tables with drawers. Greenery, footstools, vintage bottles, galvanized watering cans and farmhouse decor are all quick sellers.

          14.  Carefully choose these items that haven’t sold well: Upholstered furniture and mismatched dishes.

Do you love antiques? Was it due to a gift from a loved one? We are all on a path with a purpose. I found mine awfully late in life, but God’s timing is always perfect. I hope this has been helpful if your path leads you to open an antique booth.

Fashion Friday: 5 Tips for Consigning

Last week you saw in my “Closet Cleanse” post that Megan LaRussa with Southern Femme spent three hours helping me do a closet cleanse. As we touched every article of clothing in my closet, we separated my clothes into several piles. Two of which were “clothes to consign now for spring” and clothes that need to be donated. All others were placed in a consign-for-a-different-season-pile.

Bag Lady

Bag Lady for Donations

Many people don’t consign, but I have had great luck with it. Over the last few years, I’ve sold about $2-400 dollars worth of clothing per year. Every little bit helps, right?

I have a few favorite consign shops that I’m happy to share with my local readers. In Fairhope, there’s only one that I have used and I’ve always gotten great results. As a writer, Hertha’s Second Edition is not only a great name, but they have a huge clientele.

Birmingham has several, but the two that I’ve gotten the best results with are Collage Designer Consignment in Homewood, AL and Renaissance Consignment in Birmingham.

So how did we decide what went in what pile? I’m going to share that with you today. Look for the following to consign:

  1. Current style: be sure the item has been popular in the last year. Labels are important, too. High fashion or mid-range such as Chico’s, White House Black Market, Ann Taylor, Loft, Banana Republic, Talbots, etc.
  2. Current season: Shops only take items that are in season.
  3. Good condition: no tears, no fading, zippers work, no stains, hem in place.
  4. Clean: Pressed and on hangers, no underarm or collar stains, buttons secure.
  5. Needed in the store you want to consign in.

To donate, if you can’t answer yes to all of the above, then contribute those items to an organization like Dress for Success through the YWCA. It will help someone who needs an interview wardrobe. If the clothing has multiple problems, then put them in the trash pile.

Donation Pile
Donation Pile

Image 2

And while you’re cleaning out those closets, keep the little fashionistas in mind. They might put on their own fashion show in your backyard.