Old + New = The Perfect Pair

Sotheby's Home shares the best combinations of antique and modern design to implement in your home.

Interiors by Christopher Noto
Interiors by Christopher Noto

The juxtaposition of something old with something new is a simple way to add character and texture to an interior. It’s not something that immediately comes to mind when choosing furnishings, but interior designers use this trick to skillfully pair items from different eras and create layers of interest. 

Here are four formulas that will help you achieve a mix of old and new in your own home.

Simple + Elaborate 
From Left: Hellman-Chang Parker Dining Table and Early-19th Century Empire Doré Chandelier.
From Left: Hellman-Chang Parker Dining Table and Early-19th Century Empire Doré Chandelier.

Contemporary Dining Table + Antique Chandelier

Why It Works: The clean modern lines of the table act as a counterbalance to the ornate design of the grand Neoclassical chandelier.

Minimalism + Pattern

From Left: Alain Van Havre for Ethnicraft Nordic II Bed and Persian Handwoven Ziegler Sultanabad Rug 13’3″ x 16’3″ Circa 1890.
From Left: Alain Van Havre for Ethnicraft Nordic II Bed and Persian Handwoven Ziegler Sultanabad Rug 13’3″ x 16’3″ Circa 1890.

Contemporary Bed + Antique Rug

Why It Works: Because of the bed’s neutral wood tones and minimalist design, the antique rug can explode with color and intricate pattern without clashing with the bed.

Hints of Gold + All Out Gold

From Left: Arteriors Elle Credenza and Louis XV Style Laurel Leaf Rectangular Mirror.
From Left: Arteriors Elle Credenza and Louis XV Style Laurel Leaf Rectangular Mirror.

Contemporary Credenza + Antique Mirror

Why It Works: While it may not be immediately apparent, these two pieces have something in common. The subtle brass knobs on the credenza mimic the gold tones in the mirror, and this shared metallic element ties the pieces together.

Solid Color + Detail Color

From Left: Tom Dixon Wingback Dining Chair and Mid-19th Century Biedermeier Inlaid Partners Desk.
From Left: Tom Dixon Wingback Dining Chair and Mid-19th Century Biedermeier Inlaid Partners Desk.

Contemporary Desk Chair + Antique Desk

Why It Works: The modern, black desk chair pulls out the black inlay detail on the Biedermeier desk and allows the antique craftsmanship of the piece to shine.

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