Antique Bedroom Design Ideas & Tips

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Your bedroom is one of the best places in your home to showcase your antiques. While your kitchen and bathroom are humid environments and your living room experiences significant foot traffic from kids and pets, your bedroom is a secluded and safe place for your fragile valuables.

What Is An Antique?

So what exactly is an antique? Is your stereo from the '80s an antique because it is older, outdated, and to some extent, charming? Most likely not. Antiques are collectibles that incorporate some degree of craftsmanship. Examples of antique items include cars, furniture, jewelry, and dolls. When it comes to your bedroom, antiques can be beds, dressers, desks, and chairs.

In museums, antiques represent a fragment or characteristic of history. Usually, antiques are at least 70 years old and relatively rare. They may be decorative, functional, ordinary for their time, or completely unique. You may learn something from them, or they may just be beautiful. Regardless of what they are, antiques are usually valuable because they are in high demand relative to the small supply of available items.

Contemporary Ideas For Decorating With Antiques

Some people confuse the term "antique" with "old" or "outdated." While antiques might be old - sometimes several hundred years-they do not necessarily give your room an outdated feel. In fact, when decorating, it is possible to incorporate your antiques into your room's contemporary look.

Instead of using actual antiques, you may just want to give your bedroom a vintage look and feel. The fact is that antiques are expensive, and if you have an item that is truly valuable, you may not want to use it, especially since it might be fragile or prone to being damaged easily. It is possible to create an antique look and feel using items that are brand new. You just need to keep your eye open for the styles and trends that you wish to incorporate, and that appeal to your personality. Because antiques can range in style from ornate European designs to simple rustic pieces, antique bedroom can suit a wide array of people. (For more information on rustic bedrooms, see Rustic Bedroom Design Ideas). 

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Themes

The term "antique" is relatively vague, incorporating a number of decorative approaches and trends. Narrow down your design strategy by focusing upon a particular theme, motif, or color. You may want to choose an Italian or French theme, or you may prefer to organize your room based on a particular pattern or color. Rustic themes with classic American pieces can also work well when incorporating antiques into your bedroom design. Design your room based on a decade, or leave the look a little bit more ambiguous - it's up to you, and you can take a number of approaches when it comes to your unique design.

Décor

Antique-inspired bedrooms are relatively elegant and ornate. Wallpaper and paintings are welcome in this type of environment, as are chairs, chandeliers, elegant curtains, and rugs. Velvet, ruffles, shine, mirrors, and matte are all ideal for a bedroom with antique motifs.

Be careful that you do not overcrowd your bedroom with décor. Instead of piling up the stuff, aim for the balance of a cozy environment. Incorporate more decorative items if your room is spacious, and use fewer if your room is small. There is no need to cover your walls with ornate portraits when you can find other elegant decorative approaches through your furniture, bed sheets, lighting, and floors. Just because you have something does not mean that it needs to be on display.

Instead of an overhead lamp, consider installing a chandelier to illuminate your room with refined charm. With a chandelier, your room will appear vibrant, ornate, and characteristic of past eras that inspire you.

Colors

Rich and deep tones are ideal for an antique-inspired bedroom. For furniture, rich mahogany shades and dark truffle browns will contribute to an elegant look and feel. Purple, pink, red, cream, dark green, gold, and blue are all ideal color options for antique décor. Floral prints and elaborate designs are both ideal ways to synthesize color combinations. In most situations, you should avoid bright colors unless you are able to overemphasize the room's antique design elements. You should also minimize your use of white throughout the room. White should be used sparingly if at all, as part of a design.

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Actual Antiques

Actual antiques are unique and beautiful, but they may be tough to incorporate into the design of your bedroom. With age, your antiques may appear worn down. If you want your bedroom to appear lively, you should take your antiques to a trusted expert to have them restored to a decorative quality. A restored antique is more durable and practical than an item that is worn with age.

Antiques are challenging as everyday furniture since they are valuable and difficult to preserve. Even a small jewelry box can be worth thousands of dollars, and you may not want to risk any opportunities for theft or damage. Even if your antiques are in good condition, you may want to keep them safely locked away in a storage facility. With antique furniture, even the smallest scratch can damage an item's value.

Faux Antiques

Instead of using actual antiques, you may prefer to use items that were designed in the recent past. These items will be less expensive to purchase, and their value will also be lower over time, so you won't need to worry about damage or theft. If you choose an antique-inspired design, make sure that you choose rich colors such as green, purple, gold, cream, or mahogany. Even a little bit of shine is acceptable.

Furniture

For antique and antique-inspired beds, make sure that you include a headboard with ornate, organic patterns. Include dressers, shelves, and décor with similar detailing. If your furniture is relatively plain, over-accentuate the ruffle details and patterns of your bedding, pillows, curtains, and shams.

Not all of your furniture needs to match. Because antiques are unique, standalone items are acceptable since you may not be able to track down an entire set. In fact, a matching set may detract from the authenticity of your antique-inspired items. Regardless, you shouldn't feel obligated to conform to any particular standards. If you prefer matching furniture, then get matching furniture, and if you have a standalone item, find other pieces to complement it. There's no perfect way to design an antique-inspired bedroom.

Lighting

The lighting of an antique bedroom should be relatively dim. You may want one basic overhead light such as a chandelier, but you may also want table lamps, floor lamps, and sconces. Turn on one at a time, and when you need more light, use all at once. Choose bulbs with a dim yellow glow instead of using lights that radiate bright white with a bluish hue.

Walls

Both wallpaper and paint are ideal options for an antique-inspired bedroom. Be careful though: you don't want to cross the line from sophisticated to outdated. For an antique room, basic and bright patterns with organic shapes are ideal. If you use linear designs, your room may start to appear contemporary or modern. Treat your wallpaper like artwork, and select designs that reflect the themes of your favorite era. As another design approach, you can select patterns that look attractive within the context of your room. There is no need to stay true to history, especially if you have an eclectic personal style.

If you choose to paint your walls, select rich tones in a dark or light shade. Neutral colors are ideal if you want to play it safe and if you want to avoid overcrowding your room. If you feel adventurous, paint your walls a color such as pink, burgundy, lavender, beige, gold, or green.

Floors

Floors and carpets are both acceptable options for antique bedrooms. For most bedrooms, lighter carpet shades are the most aesthetically pleasing; however, they can accumulate dust and dirt, causing difficulty when cleaning. You may even want to experiment with more unique shades of light blue, purple, and green depending on the décor of your room. If you choose hardwood floors instead, choose any color-dark or light-based on your design preferences and objectives.

Last Updated: February 10, 2012
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About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for Investopedia.com's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

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