The world of antiques may seem a little daunting at first, especially at an auction house. However, if you can overcome the fear of the unknown, there is an exciting and more sustainable shopping experience waiting for you! Antiques provide the perfect opportunity to inject personality and individuality into your home, whether you live in a period or modern house. In collaboration with Cheffins, I have styled four rooms that combine the old and the new through the juxtaposition of cohesive forms and complimentary colour palettes. Cast away any thoughts of ‘boring brown’ and embrace the thought of mixing the wonderful patinas of antique furniture with contemporary pieces. I hope these images provide you with inspiration and confidence while demonstrating how antiques can be brought into the 21st Century with style.

Blue and red sitting room styled with antiques furniture and Birdie Fortescue soft furnishings, lighting and homewares


A combination of bold furniture in rich tones and an eclectic mix of decorative objects has injected interest and warmth into this room. An ottoman covered in a Turkish Kelim takes centre stage and is flanked by a Burmese black and red lacquer occasional table and a Classical revival giltwood side table. Organic shaped simplistic lampbases with textural shades have been chosen to balance these pieces and bring a sense of calm. A mix of traditional and contemporary pieces from different eras and origins add interest and personality to the room. For example, the combination of a late Victorian leather armchair with an embroidered Bhutanese wool cushion and an English needlework chair with an Asian Batik cushion. The room brings together Chinese blue and white porcelain and Japanese Imari vases which are combined with modern glassware and accessories. The end result is a celebration of both history and the modern day. Be brave, be bold – keep the colours simple and the furniture balanced to create an eclectic and individual interior!

Green home office styled with a walnut bureau and styled with Birdie Fortescue home accessories and lighting


As hybrid working seems to now be the norm for many of us, there is a need to create a functional, yet uplifting, workspace at home. In this scheme the Yeabridge Green (Farrow & Ball) walls provide a rich and soothing backdrop to create an interesting juxtaposition of old and new. The pairing of a walnut bureau with a contemporary desk lamp brings two eras together, while the distressed leather Victorian desk chair and embroidered wool cushion from Bhutan combines cultures. Don’t shy away from quirky details - a dried and preserved Puffer Fish sitting on top of a Regency mahogany table adds so much personality and fun.

Polished antique dining table styled with painted dining chairs and Birdie Fortescue accessories, including floral table linens, hand-painted candlesticks, fresh flowers, papier mache placemats and ceramics 


Polished furniture is often overlooked, but these beautiful pieces can work brilliantly in contemporary schemes when styled correctly. The Victorian dining table featured here has been enhanced with light and floral block printed tablelinens and decorative papier mache candlesticks. Fresh flowers instantly soften dark wood while brightly coloured candles add a contemporary touch. Painted chairs paired with polished wood create balance, while the 18th century oil landscapes hung alongside contemporary art provides an interesting and eclectic angle. Choose a bold and contemporary rug to enhance the dark wood further and bring vibrancy into the scheme.

 Bench styled with Birdie Fortescue accessories and lighting


When choosing antiques listen to your intuition - if you immediately love a piece and it speaks to you, then it is the one for you. Sometimes the simplest settings have the biggest impact. In this scheme I opted for a calm and minimalist approach, where the 19th century Dutch marquetry settee is complimented by a clean and neutral backdrop. The furniture, although deeply classical, is juxtaposed with contemporary cushions and a soft scalloped lampshade. The colour scheme of fresh blues and greens ties all contemporary features together, softening the dark wood and creating a harmonious look. When styling a room, add interest through creating asymmetrical balance, seen here by positioning the William Etty study of a male nude in a quirky and off centred position.
If you’re at the beginning of your journey into the world of antiques, my best advice is to start small and keep it simple. Choose pieces that truly resonate with you and you will treasure them forever.
Shop the products featured in these styled rooms are available to purchase here. The antiques featured here will be available at to purchase at the Cheffins Fine Art Sale, 22nd – 23rd June.



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