Another interesting blog by our "young" Kelli Lucas...
One of the biggest anxieties among antique dealers is that young people don’t seem interested in antiques – that no new collectors are coming up to take the place of the old guard as they pass out of collecting. As someone still classified as part of that “young” demographic, I see a lot of confusion among my peers about how to incorporate “antiques” into their daily lives.
Antiques Roadshow has done a lot in the last decade to educate people, convincing them that antiques are not just the province of the extremely wealthy. But for a generation increasingly buried in student debt, any collecting foray beyond Ikea can seem inaccessible. They may feel destined for a lifetime of plexiglass-framed posters and Poang chairs, uncertain of how to personalize their space beyond the pages of the latest West Elm catalog.
The thing for young, would-be collectors to remember is that their journey beyond Ikea’s blue walls begins with a single step – or, in this case, a single print. Bringing even one antique print or map into your home can start you on the path to crafting your own unique aesthetic, where old, new, and gently used co-mingle to express your style. A botanical print of your favorite garden plants, cleanly framed in basic black, can add oomph to a dining room, where (if you’re like me) your furniture might be the “gently worn,” not-quite-antique castoffs of family and friends. Does your home office still sport a particle-board desk? Hanging an antique map of your home state above your computer monitor can anchor the space – and you. After all, you are a product of the history represented in the map as much as of the current era that makes the particle-board desk practical – why not let your home reflect the blend?
This sort of pleasant mixture shows up fairly regularly on Design*Sponge, a marvelous design blog that I’ve mentioned here before. Their Sneak Peeks posts are narrated by the home’s residents, who usually describe a blend of family pieces, personal designs, budget-friendly purchases, and – our favorite – treasured antiques. Take a look at some of the variety here and here to get ideas of how people are decorating with antiques in ways that are unique, expressive, and accessible.
Apartment Therapy is another great stop on the internet for anyone looking to decorate outside the catalog-furniture box. They highlight apartments around the country, generally designed with a budget in mind by people who don’t mind mixing influences to make a space their own. Take a look at (these posts to see wall charts and nautical maps integrated into chic, livable rooms.
Chris has written some great posts on this blog about the why’s and wherefore’s of (print collecting. It always pays to learn more about what you’re buying before you buy it, and he offers great tips for understanding what you see when you look at an antique print or map. For readers of this blog who fall into that “young” demographic, the “Young Collectors” column at the Maine Antique Digest is also a great read. Columnists Andrew Richmond and Hollie Davis fit that category themselves and have some great ideas of how to access a world of shops, shows, and auctions that can seem overwhelming or intimidating. They also have a blog, which details their own forays into the antique world as they look here, there, and everywhere for pieces to live with in their Ohio home.
With an adventurous spirit and a willingness to mis-match now and then, “young” collectors will find antique prints, accessible, enjoyable, and wonderfully suitable for even the most eclectic décor.