Integrating Antique and Modern Design: How to Create an Eclectic Look


Whether you’re looking to bring an updated look to your traditionally-styled home or to add your personality to a modern style, we’ll walk you through a few tips and tricks for seamlessly mixing traditional and modern pieces without anything looking like it doesn’t belong.

Contrast & Proportion

Contrast and proportion go hand in hand. You don’t want to have everything of the same style, but you should have one style be the main focus. Then you can contrast with a few pieces of the other style. In terms of proportions, you want to make sure the size and shape of the furniture you have selected don’t overwhelm the room (Cb, 2011). Does the piece blend well with the rest of the room? Or is the size significantly different from anything else around it?

There are several things you can do to contrast these two styles in any room. If you have a room that is mostly modern, consider a few antique pieces that have significant detail to balance out the sleekness of the rest of the room (Hollis). Adding a lamp is a relatively easy way to add some contrast as well. A modern lamp can update the style of an antique table just as a modern table can take on a more classic look with a traditional lamp. Another option is to contrast straight lines with curves. If you have modern, linear furniture, add a round antique table to contrast those lines (Kristen Rivoli Interior Design). To make the room look like it’s been collected over time, choose a variety of time periods for your antique pieces (How to Mix Old and New–Transcend Time Periods).

Updated Look

Antique furniture can be tricky to match with a modern design. One fix for making sure that perfect piece blends in with the rest of the room is to give it an updated look. For example, you can replace the upholstery with something more modern, such as bright colors (Design House).


There a few directions you can go in terms of color for an eclectic room. If you’re worried that your antique pieces won’t mesh well with anything modern or vice versa, stick to a color palette when selecting your furniture for a room (Jizhar). Having something common among all of the pieces, such as a similar color scheme, will help tie the room together despite having a mix of different styles.

As mentioned earlier, bright colors can update an antique piece so that it blends aspects of both traditional and modern. This can be done for a chair, a sofa, or even kitchen cabinets. Adding in these bright colors prevents dark furniture from making the room look out-of-date (Element Studios). However, if having bright colors isn’t your style, you can choose a neutral color palette—shades of white, brown, gray, etc.—and still get a put-together room with both styles (Hohenadel, 2012).

Sample Pairings

To help you get started on creating your own personal mix of traditional and new, here are a few common pairings:

  • An antique lamp and new lampshade with modern table (Preiser, 2016)
  • Modern lighting with traditional furniture framing (Flat 15, 2015)
  • Traditional dining table with modern chairs (Mitchell, 2014)
  • Textile pillows with new comforter (Preiser, 2016)
  • Farmhouse table with modern room design (The Cousins)
  • Traditional chandelier with modern room design (Flat 15, 2015)
  • Straight lines with curves (Kristen Rivoli Interior Design)

Check out this Houzz ideabook for pictures of sample pairings!


No matter what pieces you decide to purchase, make sure that they appeal to your style and personality. If you find a chair, a table, or a couch that you don’t really like, don’t buy it just because it’s an antique or modern style. Not all of the tips above will work for everyone; if you aren’t into bright colors, choose one of the other tips for balancing the room so that it reflects your own style.



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