Create vintage style at home

Stylist Naomi Thompson on why to avoid bunting and Cath Kidston

Avid collector Naomi Thompson has made a profession out of vintage styling wardrobes and interiors. The founder of the website shares clever tricks to bring a vintage look into your home.

1. Reflect your personality - Don’t envisage the vintage look as one thing. Design it around your own likes. Those who have great vintage-looking homes, create it around a hobby, a designer or an era. It doesn’t need to be all about teacups. My father collects old fishing paraphernalia.

2. Avoid interior clichés - Most people think of vintage style as being very twee. It needn’t be. I advise clients to avoid the bunting and union jack look as it has been done to death.

3. Have one main vintage feature – It is fairly easy to find original drinks cabinets that are partly glass or mirrored. Fill them up with interesting cocktail glasses, vintage shakers and soda stream. It makes a focal point.

4. Keep walls and floors plain - Otherwise, you run the risk of feeling cluttered. I really like hanging old sheet music with beautiful drawings or old-fashioned magazines, especially from 1950s onwards where they have half drawings, half pictures.

5. Don’t be afraid to go down the eccentric route – There is a great shop called Pelicans and Parrots in Dalston selling vintage bits and pieces like framed beetles and globes. There is a trend for taxidermy at the moment.

6. Put imagination into your styling - Don’t create an identikit home filled with reproduction items. It’s your home at the end of the home. I’ve got nothing against Cath Kidston, but it’s too identikat for me.

7. For chintz, add glass - If you do want to go for that chintzy, girly look, incorporate lots of glass and mirrors to avoid the feeling of an antique shop. Get art deco dressing table sets in charity shops and use tiered cake stands for hanging jewellery.

8. Less is more - I veer more towards a small number of curiosities. I once owned 400 teacups but as a long-term collector, I’ve realized it’s better to have less items but retaining the quality. Keep it as uncluttered as possible; you’ll only have to dust it.

9. Bathroom ideas – use 1930s beveled mirrors, old nautical references and fill old decanters with bath salts. I like to burn an old fashioned candelabra in a bathroom. It feels very decadent.

10. Bedroom ideas – I would get a low, wooden deco dressing table with a round or oval mirror. Go to town on an old patchwork quilt and vintage curtains. But do buy new bed linen that can be washed properly.

11. Kitchen ideas – I like scouring for old enamel bread-bins, oversized clocks and Cornishware with the famous blue and white stripes. If you’ve got space, display vintage crockery on shelving or a Welsh dresser instead of using high cupboards.

12. Living room – I like old cameras and typewriters out on display. It creates a warm, active feel to the home. Old drinks cabinet. You can still fairly easily find 50s Formica tables.

Annie Deakin is interiors writer for sofa and interior design website

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