The cultured owners of French Metro Antiques in Fayetteville are in France this week, but they took time out of their schedule before departing to reveal a new favorite design trend: Incorporating French antiques into contemporary interiors. While not all of us are blessed with their discerning eye for design, and as they reveal, it certainly doesn’t take much to bring a little bit of the past into our lives, all the while making our homes vastly more beautiful and, well, up-to-date.
Thanks to the Hunts for stopping by…and enjoy your trip to France!
In with the old, In with the new: Inviting French Antiques into a Contemporary Home
French antiques donât just belong in traditional interiors. Open any design magazine today and youâre sure to see a modern bathroom lit by a Baccarat crystal chandelier, a contemporary sectional placed next to an Empire buffet, or a clean, all-white room reflected in a Louis XVI gilded mirror. In more modern settings, antiques can help to warm up an otherwise stark space, making it more approachable and inviting.
Here are some tips on how to incorporate antique pieces into your modern interior.
1. Straight as an Arrow
Choose a style of furniture that is straight lined and simple over more ornate or carved furnishings. Louis-Philippe and Empire period pieces from the early 1800s are a perfect option. Their simple design with scant embellishments blends effortlessly with a modern backdrop and allows the grain of the wood to make the statement.
These homeowners appreciate clean lines, but they werenât afraid to add a touch of Louis-Philippe with this secretary in their living room.
This empire period armoire is a nice complement to its more contemporary surroundings.
This Louis-Philippe period chest (c. 1830-1848) has simple lines but warm burled wood.
This Empire period chest (c. 1800) dates from the time of Napoleon Bonaparte and shows off some flashy bronze hardware against burled walnut drawers.
2. Keep it Simple
Sparsely displayed antique accessories add interest and personality to what can come across as an icy interior in a contemporary home. Try introducing architectural elements such as a hand carved stone fragment or a centuries-old church frieze into your space. Other objets dâart that work well are Napoleon III inlaid boxes, gold leafed bronze mantle clocks and antique leather books. Just remember one rule of thumb: âless is more.â One large-scale item on a desk or cocktail table will be more adventuresome and dramatic than multiple smaller items.
17th century Hand Carved Marble Fragment from a Church
Napoleon III Exotic Wood Inlay Box
3. Over the Top
If youâre feeling really daring, try juxtaposing your Ã¼ber-modern space with some sparkle or bling. Integrating one single ornately carved chair, a glitzy crystal chandelier or a gilded frame will serve as a counterpoint to its minimalist arena. The lone presence of an antique piece will resonate against its austere surroundings. Just remember to use lavish pieces sparingly so as not to detract from the sleek look youâre trying to achieve.
This whimsical teenagerâs room with fresh colors showcases a Louis XIII period chair from the mid 1600s amongst the hip window treatments and bedding.
A turn-of-the-century bronze and crystal chandelier adds some sparkle and interest to this sleek bathroom]
However you choose to feature your French antique pieces, remember that introducing an element of antiquity can help add personality and individuality to your space without compromising its contemporary look.