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Opposites attract! Six ways to make antiques work in a contemporary interior

Antiques are hip again! But we’re not talking wall-to-wall traditional pieces, mind. Surf the trendiest interiors on Pinterest and you’ll see a mix of old and new designs being pulled off in schemes from San Francisco to Sydney. Yes, even a single antique placed in the most modern of rooms can up the style stakes and pile on the likes. So, what’s the secret to making it work and where’s our go-to for antique furniture in Singapore? We asked Marie-Hélène van Houten from The Past Perfect Collection for her decorating tips on bringing a touch of colonial charm to your contemporary interior.

Antique cabinet
his scheme ticks all the boxes – minimalist magic! From Act Productions

 1. Use the 80/20 rule
‘As long as 80 percent of your interior is unified by the same style, same period or same philosophy, you can deviate with the other 20 percent,’ says Marie-Hélène. ‘In other words, a fine antique can absolutely work in an ultra-modern space. Just give it a try.’

2. Work contrast and surprise into your scheme
When selecting antiques, look for interesting matches or contrasts with your current setting. ‘Beautiful pairings of contemporary and antique can be found in the contrast between materials (polished wood placed on a solid concrete floor, for example) and colours (dark ebony bouncing off a white wall) – and the same goes for patterns,’ says Marie-Hélène.

Re-upholsterd antique Louis XVL chair from The Past Perfect Collection
Reupholstered and ready for another few decades of wear and tear: Antique Louis XVI chair from The Past Perfect Collection

3.  Reupholster like a pro
Add instant personality to an antique settee or armchair by reupholstering it in interesting fabrics à la The Past Perfect Collection’s antique Louis XVI chair above. ‘These pieces are a work of art on their own but fabulous new fabrics breathe new life into them, while keeping the connection to our ancestors alive,’ says Marie-Hélène.

Ghost chair and antique
An antique secretaire and Louis Ghost chair make for a perfect pairing. From Trine Thorsen

4. Pair an antique dining table with contemporary chairs
You’ll see plenty of inspiring examples of modern chairs (Louis Ghost, Eames DSW and Knoll Tulip, to name but a few) pulled up to antique dining tables on The Past Perfect Collection’s Pinterest page. ‘A traditional desk and a modern desk chair make a dynamic combination, too,’ says Marie-Hélène.

5. Create a focal point in a minimalist room
By sticking to one or two neutral tones in a scheme, the background becomes the perfect canvas for highlighting a particular piece. ‘With the right lighting or a pop of accent color or trim, an antique is instantly turned into a showstopper,’ says Marie-Hélène.

Modern Art paired with antique table
An antique console is brought bang up to date by the modern work of art above it. From Vaucelleshof at Brigitte Garnier

6. Invest in a modern artwork (or two)
Energise your interior by working the walls. ‘While an antique may anchor a scheme, a contemporary work of art will spice it up,’ says Marie-Hélène. Placement is key here, so be creative and your interior will reap the rewards of this playful balance.

Top-quality British colonial antiques made during the 19th century in India are the stars of Past Perfect’s showroom, with the collection handpicked by Dutch couple and owners Pieter and Marie-Hélène van Houten on their travels to India. Each unique piece is restored to its former glory with exquisite polishing and fresh upholstery, before hitting their Dunearn Road store. Get a sneak peek of what’s in store by flicking through our edited picks in the gallery above or visit their website to view what’s new in store.

315 Outram Road #11-05 Tan Boon Liat Building Singapore 169074
6737 3078 | www.pastperfect.sg | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

We have plenty of more decorating ideas to make your home unique.