Decorating With Family Heirlooms in a Modern Living Room

Decorating With Family Heirlooms in a Modern Living Room

One of our favorite things to do when decorating our home is to mix old and new, modern and vintage, serious and silly. Our style tends to be pretty modern, with lots of white walls, a fairly minimal approach, and clean-lined furniture, but we love the contrast of adding in unexpected moments with antiques and vintage pieces. These older pieces have a story and allow us to tell our own personal story better, which is exactly what we think your home should do. Your home is a reflection of the people who live in it … so maybe I’m saying we’re a little bit of a mix of old and new, silly and serious, too!!

I have inherited furniture and art from my great-grandfather, who lived from the 1860s-1920s, as well as my parents and grandparents who were all antique collectors. While the majority of it isn’t really our style and it sometimes feels like a bit of a burden (storage units are expensive!), we do have a couple of favorite heirlooms in our living room, including my great-grandfather’s somewhat intimidating portrait (he was a Congressman from Chicago in the late 19th century) and his beautiful bar cabinet. We also have a bright orange vintage chair from the 1960s mixed in with our otherwise new, more modern furniture from places like Ikea and West Elm.

The online interior design and decorating service Havenly challenged us to look at how we incorporate antiques, vintage and heirlooms into our decorating style. They work with real people to tell their real decorating stories, at very affordable prices — you can hire a talented interior designer for less than $100, wow! Their challenge gave me a fun opportunity to restyle the top of my great-grandfather’s bar cabinet. I can only imagine the swanky parties this bar has seen!

For the longest time, I’ve been meaning to do something with top of the bar, and I had so much fun taking this opportunity to pull together fun, quirky pieces that reflect my personality. I love the idea of putting something sort of silly, like a mini flamingo, together with something much more serious, like the 100-year-old+ piece of beautiful antique furniture. These unexpected moments are what make decorating so much fun to do — and to live with!

A simple white tray (this one was from Crate and Barrel years ago) corrals all our barware, including some vintage midcentury glasses from All Things For You and a brass pineapple tumbler from Target. Aren’t the little fish glasses adorable?

Ding ding!

Do you incorporate antiques, vintage, or family heirlooms into your own decorating style? I’d love to hear more about your own story!

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