Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Decorating with antique prints

From time to time I will post guest blogs from members of our terrific staff. Kelli Lucas and Vicky Koursaros are both very interested in the use of original antique prints for decorating and so they plan to write an occasional series of blogs on related topics. Here is the first...

Guest blog by Kelli Lucas

In an era of catalog decorating, a generation raised on Ikea furniture is still looking around for interesting, affordable accents to personalize their spaces. While few of us can afford to furnish an entire apartment or house completely in antiques, there are ways to bring notes of historic design into your home that are affordable and accessible (without resorting to faux-antiques from the mall around the corner!).

Incorporating a few well-chosen antiques into your decorating scheme can anchor your space, connecting even the most ordinary pieces with a wider world of design. Far from re-creating a dated aesthetic, antique prints can blend with modern d├ęcor, offering a mix of old and new that can be adjusted to suit personal taste. For example, modern splashes of colorful upholstery can be complemented by cool, clean lines of architectural engravings, like Jean-Francois Neufforge’s architectural details from eighteenth century France. Sleek, minimalist neutral furnishings can benefit from black-and-white engravings, as well, or can really sing next to a pop of color from a pochoir print, like Gallois’ costume lithographs.

Modern spaces with vaulted ceilings often offer swathes of open wall space: a large wall map can anchor a room and offer great value for your decorating dollar. Usually mounted on rollers and filled with bold, graphic lines and information, wall maps are eye-catching and – best of all – require no further framing expense. Designed originally for settings like school rooms and offices, wall maps offer an unexpected visual punch to a domestic setting.

We’ll be doing a series of guest posts here on the many unexpected ways to use antique prints in modern, design-savvy interiors. In the meantime, there are some excellent blogs that feature eclectic, creative use of antique prints. For example, it’s not unusual to see antique engravings mingling with mid-century modern furniture in the Sneak Peek section of Grace Bonney’s Design*Sponge. For other thoughts on decorating with antique maps and prints, see Joyce Jamison’s excellent guest article at First Printing. More ideas and links coming soon!

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