The song is never ending : "Old people are completely outdated" VS "Young people don’t know what is called Respect anymore".
And the worst part is that the battle takes place with all subjects. In my field of course, it’s about furniture: the endless debate of the modern against the old. Have you ever had to face the problem? An old uncle who wants to empty his house a little, a grandmother who settles in retirement home or (yes) a great-aunt who leaves this world?
What do we do with those relic ?
Two reactions exist:
There will be people who want to keep EVERYTHING, or at least everything they can. By respect, for memory or ... guilt (« you cannot decently get rid of old Auntie like that!)
And then there will be those who do NOT want to keep anything. It's ugly, tacky, huge, ... One has to stop with old rubbish and go ahead!
Personally, I like antique furniture (furniture in general anyway!), so I can’t agree with this last opinion obviously. Just few weeks ago, I got a Louis-Philippe sofa, 2 Louis XVI armchairs and an Empire mirror ...
But apart from this natural tendency, the most important is that I approach the topic with my professional point of view. I will never get EVERYTHING but I always seize the opportunity to keep anything that can bring an interesting shape or aesthetics to my interior.
Avoid the "antique dealers’ fair" phenomenon
When I face old furniture or decoration, my choice is done pretty quickly, following 2 factors: the volume and timelessness (if the mix with other styles is well managed) If you have a tendency to keep everything (and if you suffer from it of course, otherwise, fell free !), I invite you to consider these 2 criteria.
Thanks to them, it’s indeed possible to list 5 elements that will be easy to preserve and integrate into a contemporary space:
- Chairs ;
- small furniture ;
- mirrors and frames ;
- light ;
By limiting ourselves to this (and avoiding addition of course!), we can be sure that our interior won’t be overwhelmed and won’t look 200 years older.
Take a step back and analyse
It’s always good to take a small time to think before saying a firm NO. To take a step back and ask yourself the right questions can lead to reconsider something that had been refused in advance.
My reflection is usually as follow, whether it be in yard sale or family furniture (in this case, my grandmother’s sofa):
1. I love the form. The color is not great but I could change it.
2. This furniture is there, available. For free in fact. Do I take my chance or do I let an unknown have the benefit?
3. I will have to buy a sofa in a while. What do I do ? Do I skip this one because the fabric is a bit old-fashioned and I’ll buy something Made in China a bit later?
4. Actually, it makes me think that I’ve seen the same sofa in the super trendy café downtown last Saturday ... The colour was just nicer.
5. I remember we always sat on this sofa when we were young, it would be sad to not see it anymore, it recalls memories.
And it was decided (once we solved the storage issue !)
Apply this method to your situation
1. Analysis: Would a change of colour / finishes be enough to better integrate it to your interior?
2. Economic pragmatism: Do you have the means to not seize such an opportunity?
3. Needs: Do you need this item / furniture now or in the medium term?
4. "Trendy" potential: are you sure that it’ really old fashioned? Is there not an ultra-trendy vintage potential? Or the possibility to try a "Mix & Match"?
5. Sentimental Factor: What memories do you have with it? (This is probably the question that will start and finish your reflection!)
Think about it :)
In the weeks to come, I will bring you a lot of answers and ideas to give a new look to old things, should it be architectural details, furniture or decoration.
Are you confronted with the "keep or get rid of" dilemma? If you need help determining the potential of a particular object / furniture, tell me and I will tell you what I think. I’m not an antique dealer, so I can only judge aesthetics and "trend" potential.
And if you have already decided to keep but need advice to mix it properly to your interior, contact me on www.emilielagrange.com!
Have a good day!