7 Ideas to Use Antiques in a Modern Way

Living Room Picture

So you want to decorate with fresh clean lines…but…you have several heirlooms and antiques that have been passed down to you from family members.. or you picked them up at an estate sale.


Don’t drop these beauties off at Goodwill yet! 

Here are a few tips on how to incorporate antiques and heirlooms into your more modern home design.

It is always fun to walk into someone’s home and find the unexpected.  Funky and unique accessories can do just that. 



This 1960’s mid-century dresser can be mixed into a room containing all types of design. The wood color of this Asian-inspired dresser from Thomasville adds an interesting element to the room. 


Top it off with a fun decorative piece like the blue bird and this modern black lamp. 


The photos above the dresser are somewhat traditional, but bring in the black for a consistent theme.

Use Fun Textiles and Patterns

Reinvent an old chair like this 1920’s pine chair. This chair was handed down through family.  it was originally located in a log cabin on a river in Delaware. 


The material was faded and plaid. The pop of color, palm and contrasting navy fabric takes it from cabin to coastal. Or is it coastal cabin? 


Add the fun foot ottoman in a similar color and you have a new reading spot

Keep it Simple, Less is More

Gone are the days of doilies, precious moments and dust. Start with a clean slate and edit out the stuff. Just a few quality, useful and important pieces can create a bold statement. 


For example, this bosch telescope, and birding book are important, useful and add a pop of interest. They are placed on top of an early 1900’s pine blanket chest. They are in a convenient spot to check out the stars and find out which birds are in the back yard. 

living room image

Find a Nook in Your Home to Place Antiques

Do you have a piece of  furniture that is sentimentally valuable, but does not necessarily blend with your decor?

Try to find the piece its’ very own home within your home.

How about a space in a hallway or another area that is not a focal point? Try a corner or a back hallway.


Try placing it in a large master closet and use it for your writing desk or gift wrapping area. You will gain the benefits of use and storage without disturbing your design vibe.

This antique Hepplewhite desk circa the late 1700’s is located in a nook near the back door. A perfect spot to take care of mail, gift wrapping, and ideal for extra storage.

Antique Desk

Frame your Memorabilia

How about that antique postcard collection from the 1930’s? These postcards, offer fun images and rich colors. The personal notes written on the back will be safe for years to come. These keepsakes are way too interesting to place in a dark drawer somewhere.

Gallery art is all the rage. Since postcards are small, choose about 10  postcards to frame. They will create an impact placed together and become the size of a normal framed piece of artwork. 

You don’t have to break the bank. Check out these Amazon picture frame deals. Add the white matting to make them stand out more in a 5X7 frame.

postcard collection

Mix Wood Finishes, Always Add Light

Go ahead and use a dark dresser or side table but lighten it up with natural fibers and extra lighting. Modern clean lines work well in well-lit areas.

Rattan and other natural fibers are amazing to work with when trying to keep your decor light and more modern. For example, this rattan bed gives a fresh coastal feel next to this antique side table in a darker wood. 

These pewter task reading lights from Restoration Hardware are unexpected in the industrial style. The sputnik chandelier is modern but ties in with the black lamp and other artwork. It adds a warm lighting with the LED edison bulbs.

sputnik light in a bedroom
bedroom image

Use Green Live Plants, Not Artificial

Get your green thumb going! Become a plant Mom or Dad. Plants are beautiful and add a modern pop to any room.

Go for tropical or subtropical plants. One that has gained massive fame in the interior design world is the Fiddle Leaf Fig. Did you know you can grow them from one leaf rooting in water?

In the meantime you can pick one up at a home improvement store. Jazz it up by placing it in a woven basket. The topiary styles are more expensive than the traditional bush. Other tropical and sub-tropical plants include monstera, bird of paradise and the steel plant.

All of these varieties are easy to care for as long as you do not over water them, and they have sufficient light.

In my opinion artificial plants look…..welll…artificial. They tend to make your home look like a hotel lobby and to me just don’t have the same effect as a real plant. Plus, they make your home’s air quality better! Succulents are usually my only exception to the artificial rule.

table with view of lake

Comment below and share your ideas of incorporating heirlooms into your more modern home design. 


Judy Hughes

Judy Hughes

Hi there..I’m Judy. I am a Mom, Wife, Dog Mom and Realtor. My posts are a potpourri of my favorite activities in life. I will dabble in home design & staging (specifically small spaces), real estate tips, plant-based eating, pickle ball, camping and adventure travel. ​Hoping you join me …....Thanks for stopping in! Judy

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

Get The Newsletter

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy

Laird Bunch

Laird is our B&C local expert agent for Delaware, Maryland and Southern PA.

Will Flannigan

Will covers the East Los Angeles Market for Bungalows Cottages. 

Bungalows and Cottages Logo

Expert Agent Connect

Connect with your local B&C expert to find, understand, and secure your next dream home. We’re here!

Or Call our Call Center at 941-275-2630

*By proceeding, you consent to receive communication at the
number you provided, and email, from bungalowsandcottages.com and
real estate professionals and their network of service providers about
your inquiry and other home-related matters. Msg/data rates may
apply. This consent applies even if you are on a do not call list and is not
a condition of any purchase.

Bungalows and Cottages Logo

Dakota Feroleto

Dakota covers the Southern California Desert Region for Bungalows and Cottages which includes Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and La Quinta.

Ken Riel

Ken covers the Charlotte North Carolina Market for Bungalows and Cottages which includes Plaza Midwood, Elizabeth, Chantilly, Wesley Heights, Dilworth, NoDa, and Wilmore.

Karen Barks

Karen covers the Portland Oregon Market for Bungalows and Cottages from Beaverton and West Portland to the North and Northeast neighborhoods.

Chris Zoller

Chris covers the Tamp Florida Market for Bungalows and Cottages from Hyde Park, to Ybor, Seminole Heights, Historic Kenwood, and all around town.

Contact Chris:
or Send A Note:

By sending you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy

Jen Berbas

Jen covers the Austin Texas Market for Bungalows and Cottages from Downtown, to Old West Austin, Chestnut, Travis Heights, Rosedale, and all around town.

Mark Hughes

Mark covers the Los Angeles Market for Bungalows Cottages. Mark also serves as the liaison to the B&C Expert Partner Agent Network.  He loves Bungalows and Cottages!

Contact Mark: Call Center
or Send A Note...

By sending you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy

Peggy Graef

Peggy covers the Orlando Florida Market for Bungalows and Cottages from Colonialtown, and College Park to Winterpark, and Thornton, and all around town.

Mike Dobbs

Mike covers the West Side Los Angeles Market for Bungalows and Cottages.

Steven Lambert

Steven is our B&C local expert agent for the Tri-Cities in Washington.

Amanda Rose

GA Lic#243859

Amanda covers the Atlanta Market for Bungalows & Cottages. 

Thomson Meeks

Thomson covers the Asheville Market for Bungalows Cottages.

Contact Thomson: Call Center
or Send A Note...

By sending you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy

Submit Your BnB

Fill in your BnB details and we’ll review it for addition to our growing map of Bungalow and Cottages BnB’s.

*By sending you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.

Shannon Praetorius

Shannon covers the Seattle Market for Bungalows Cottages. Connect with Shannon here to find your best B&C Market guidance.

Contact Shannon: Call Center
or Send A Note...

By sending you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy

Anne Jensen

Anne covers the Los Angeles Market for Bungalows and Cottages along the south city side and LA’s southern coastal areas.

Contact Anne:
Call Center 818-480-2864
or Send A Note...

By sending you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy

Judy Hughes

Judy Hughes is a Orange County, CA sales expert and accomplished renovation consultant.

Call or text Judy at 562-972-0491
or send a note...

By sending you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy

Kathy Engen

Kathy is our B&C local expert agent for Edina MN.

John Staab

John is the Managing Broker and accomplished real estate consultant for Motive Real Estate Fort Worth Texas. Lic #0525982

Ken Farah

Ken covers the San Diego County Region for Bungalows and Cottages.

Alex Fotouhi

Alex is our B&C local expert agent for Seattle Washington.

Bungalows and Cottages Logo

Agent Lead and Referral Network

Realtors® Fill in your details to join our growing exclusive B&C Lead and Referral Network and we’ll get back to right away.

*By sending you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.