Grandma’s bookcase, your great-grandfather’s clock, your aunt’s vanity—it’s easy to see how family heirlooms can stack up in the attic fast. Clean out the attic by incorporating your family treasures into your home decor. They not only tell your story and history, but they can also compliment your savvy style. From creating a vintage gallery wall to giving an antique heirloom a fresh coat of paint, here are some easy, attainable ways to display your family treasures and incorporate them into your existing spaces.
It’s easy to think that heirloom pieces will make your home feel like an old, stuffy museum, but by creating balance between old and new, you can make your old pieces feel at home by complementing them with contemporary furnishings, artwork and accessories. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding a stylish potted plant or an abstract painting to warm up a darker, elaborate piece. Other times, putting the piece next to a modern rug is all you need to make it feel less like Grandma’s old bookcase and more like a unique vintage find.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate heirloom furniture is to give it a new life. Older furniture is revered for being impeccably made, so take advantage of having a sturdy piece with added character by giving it a facelift. Update your piece with a bold new paint color or a more modern stain. Chairs can be reupholstered with a chic neutral or a funky pattern to bring them from drab to glam. Giving your piece a modern makeover will not only make it much easy to incorporate into your existing decor, but it will also help you preserve your family history and save the piece from ending up in a landfill.
Vintage sketches, landscapes and original paintings can look surprisingly modern when paired together as a gallery wall in contemporary living spaces. Mix up the frames with new and old, and feel free to play with gilded, wood and sleek modern finishes. A few framed family photos are easy additions to an open bookcase and shelving. Finish off the look by adding a few smaller antiques next to a selection of photos for a personal touch.
Give It a New Life
Sometimes heirlooms just don’t cut it with your decor or needs. But don’t write them off just yet—consider giving them a new life as something else. Old rugs are great examples. Instead of sitting in the basement collecting dust, rugs can be great for reupholstering an ottoman or bench. Not only will they show off a wonderfully inviting patina, they’ll be a fantastic boho-chic addition to a living room or bedroom. Any typewriters, record players or old-timey speakers in the attic? Why get rid of them when they can be an industrial decorative accent or a unique coffee table base!
Get Creative with Dinnerware
Silver and china sets are classic heirlooms from the bygone era of formal dining and extravagant dinners. While most of us don’t have much use for elaborate sets, they’re the perfect opportunity to get creative. Cluster a few pieces on a bookcase for a decorative accent or turn pitchers into flower vases. Antique silver trays are stunningly beautiful and great for grouping collections together in a variety of settings. You can use a tray to accent a bar cart, top off a pouf to create a casual side table or house varying jars of lotions and potions on top of a vanity for a glamorous bathroom addition.
How do you like to work family heirlooms into your home? We’d love to hear about your favorite pieces.