Mix & Match: 5 Ways to Blend Modern and Vintage Decor

In the world of interior design, there is such a thing as an eclectic look, and everyone loves it. The fusion between contemporary decor elements and seemingly rustic features with that distinct heritage vibe is just what a modern home needs to feel homey, welcoming, and intimately warm. However, that doesn’t’ mean that bringing this unique look and feel to life is an easy task – quite the opposite, it requires careful planning and execution.


One wrong move and you can easily clutter the entire room, make it feel unwelcoming, and lose that distinct spark that permeates the rest of the household. Nonetheless, when you commit to bringing this eclectic feel to life, and stick with the tried-and-tested design tips, you can easily craft the living environment you’ve always wanted. Here are the five steps to a perfect blend of modern and vintage decor.

Begin by creating a neutral backdrop


When brainstorming your new living space and trying to evoke a certain intimate feel, it can be quite easy to get caught up in all the design choices you have at your disposal. Concretely, it can be easy to delve into the vast world of wall colors and wallpapers when all you needed the entire time was a palette of pearly whites. Don’t forget to incorporate beautiful lighting fixtures to accent the decor. Remember, you will be working with contemporary and vintage decor elements that already have their unique hues, their soul, and their substance – so putting additional colors and patterns on the walls will only limit your choices.


In order for a truly eclectic ambiance to come to life, you need to stick to a neutral foundation on the walls. This will allow you to bring a variety of elements into the mix later on without negatively affecting the overarching framework. If pure white is not your first choice, you can also choose off-white hues and even light pastels, or you can go in the completely opposite direction and introduce dark hues such as charcoal to add a dash of mystery and class to the mix.

Let one stand out over the other


An eclectic design such as mixing vintage and modern elements is a democracy. But even democracies have leaders and rulers. Your design rests on the foundation of diversity, however, there needs to be an overarching element that will guide and steer the rest of the decor. In other words, you should choose which of the two, modern or vintage, you want to represent the majority of your household.

Trying to strike a perfect balance between the two will make it seem as if you are trying too hard, and will only confuse the observer, making them feel uncomfortable in the process. Rather than building a cohesive whole, this will further put the elements at odds with each other, and make everything stand out instead of fusing it together into a beautiful, natural image. If you want to create order and symbiosis, be sure to let one design dominate over the other in a proportion of 60:40 or 70:30 in favor of your preferred look.

Make a statement with focal points


A focal point is the crowning jewel of every eclectic setting, as it will set the tone for the entire room. You should plan these accents carefully to avoid colliding them with other elements of the opposing design, or worse, fusing them together with elements of the same look. Remember, there needs to be contrast here, so don’t let your focal point lose its striking appeal by blending it with similar decor.


Instead, choose an area of the room where it can stand out, such as the seating area in the living room, and consider placing a vintage-looking natural rug among a selection of contemporary furniture to set the tone of the entire room and create a unique focal point. Follow the same mindset for every area in your household, and aim to create a focal point that emphasizes one approach over the other. To that end, you can introduce a modern fabric bed frame in a vintage bedroom, or a retro kitchen island in an otherwise sleek modern setting with vintage accents scattered throughout.

Master the art of layering decor elements


All of this leads us to the common problem homeowners face when trying to blend modern and vintage decor – layering. This is a nuanced process that, and there’s no way around it, requires plenty of trial and error. Every home is different, and even though there are key layering principles you should follow, in the end it will be up to you to take a step back, observe the room as a whole, and make the necessary adjustments.


Particularly, pay special attention to how modern decor elements sit on vintage surfaces, and vice versa. A common mistake people make is mixing vintage and modern pieces on a, for example, vintage island in the kitchen. If the island enjoys a retro look, then the cutlery and plates need to enjoy a modern one. Mixing sleek silverware with vintage plates will throw off the design and make the arrangement lose its essence. With that in mind, be sure to layer decor elements accordingly and follow every leitmotif to the end without interruption.

Emphasize a clutter-free look


On a final note, always keep your living environment clean and clutter-free. Designing an eclectic interior such as this can easily inspire you to bring numerous extraneous elements into the mix without even realizing it, in turn creating a cluttered look that will put too much strain on comfort and aesthetics. Make it a priority to declutter your home every month and you should have no problem preserving the masterpiece you’ve created.

Blending the old with the new is one of the most appealing approaches to interior design nowadays, as there is nothing quite like enjoying the unimpeded functionality of modern decor fused with the warm and inviting vibe of vintage elements.

Blending the old with the new is one of the most appealing approaches to interior design nowadays, as there is nothing quite like enjoying the unimpeded functionality of modern decor fused with the warm and inviting vibe of vintage elements. Follow these steps and you will have created the eclectic interior you’ve always wanted.


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