Design specialists agree that every room needs at least one antique or vintage piece. There are so many inspiring ways to decorate with antiques and I will share with you fourteen classic pieces that can be enjoyed in your home, whether it be modern or traditional.
1. Louis Philippe Mirrors
Louis Philippe Mirrors are a classic design - they fit seamlessly into modern homes. They are perfect above a fireplace, but can also be enjoyed in a powder room.
As they are not overly decorative, they look wonderful paired with more flamboyant pieces of art, wall sconces or wallpaper.
2. Louis XV and Louis XVI statement chairs
Louis chairs are a classic design and can be reupholstered to achieve a modern look. Louis XV chairs (above) can be identified by their cabriole legs (S curve), where as Louis XVI chairs have a straighter tapered leg.
A cosy Louis XVI armchair for the living room, bedroom or bathroom is a striking accent piece.
Louis XVI chairs are a stylish choice for a dining room - here they are upholstered in a bold green fabric and contrast a modern dining table beautifully.
3. Vintage French leather club chairs
French leather club chairs can date from the 1930's to the 1970's. Originally designed for cigar-smoke-filled gentlemen's clubs, they have a masculine scale and design.
A single club chair is appropriate for a smaller home and where space permits a pair is an elegant choice.
Large club chairs can be easily softened with throw cushions and blankets. Club chairs - with their worn and aged leather - are a wonderful addition to a modern interior.
Petite French club chairs are more feminine and elegant making them a lovely choice for a modern living room.
4. Sunburst Mirrors
Sunburst mirrors have long been enjoyed in homes of all styles. There are modern reproductions, however nothing compares to an original Chaty Vallauris sunburst mirror, or a carved gilt wood mirror with an antique patina.
This is a piece that should be purchased early in one's life - they are timeless so will look great in any space from a college bedroom to a gallery wall or above a fireplace.
When people ask me what antiques are suitable gifts for new collectors, a sunburst mirror is always a suggestion I make!
5. Demijohn bottles
Demijohn bottles are a perennial favourite for interiors of all types.
Older bottles generally have green or blue glass whereas newer examples are clear.
Demijohns are fabulous decor both indoors and out and look beautiful with a large sculptural bunch of branches and in collections.
6. Antique French pottery
Antique pottery is a joy to collect. Confit pots and tian bowls are popular collector's items and are traditionally glazed with ocher or green. Collections of antique confit pots are a lovely way to add a burst of colour to a space.
Antique plates are an economical way to fill a wall and there are so many imaginative ways to modernize this traditional decor idea.
Patterned plates are charming, whereas vintage ironstone platters are a crisp white that can be just as stunning.
7. 19th century French garden urns
Garden urns can be enjoyed with garden cuttings in all seasons. Here a bunch of wild blackberries contrast the muted tones of the antique urn.
A weathered cast iron urn, particularly when it is over-sized makes a beautiful centerpiece on a dining table or sideboard.
8. Vintage butcher's blocks & marble butcher's tables
A well worn butcher's block is a must have in the kitchen. I am fortunate enough to be invited into many private French homes - a butcher's block and marble table usually takes pride of place.
Butcher's tables traditionally have a marble top and decorative cast iron base. They are on casters making them easy to move about and a practical choice for a kitchen island.
9. Antique lanterns
Antique lanterns are an essential element to include in your lighting design.
Hang them indoors or in a summer kitchen for an instant dose of charm.
Chandeliers are truly timeless. They are a spectacular choice in modern interiors where their detail can be enjoyed in an unexpected context.
11. Collections of antique curios
Shells, ostrich eggs and antique Saint's crowns are lovely pieces to collect. Displayed on open shelving they will be a talking point with guests.
12. Antique French candlesticks
Antique candlesticks are a wonderful choice for the new collector. They can be enjoyed in small apartments or grand homes.
A single gilded candlestick will emphasize other gold finishes.
Extra large candlesticks can be placed on the floor beside the fireplace or respond to the scale of other large furniture.
Gilded, carved and silver candlesticks can be matched with any style.
13. Wall appliques (wall sconces)
Wall appliques add a three dimensional decorative element to walls. They provide context for other pieces such as a chair, mirror or fireplace.
Gold wall sconces by Maison Charles date to the 1960's and are a fun choice for a modern home. Here a dark wall finish provides a dramatic background for a gold wall applique.
14. Antique bust & sculpture
An antique bust instantly changes the feel of a space. They exude design acumen - it is rare to find a stunning living room or entryway without a bust or spectacular piece of sculpture.
A plaster or white marble bust works well with ironstone plates. Here Kay O'Tool adds her personality with other objects of curiosity.
Pieces of antique sculpture are stunning when mounted. This terracotta piece can be enjoyed at sitting height as it is not only mounted but placed on a weathered pedestal.
A circulation space is a wonderful opportunity to display larger pieces of sculpture as you are standing or walking by.
These fourteen decor pieces are affordable and will be pieces to enjoy for a lifetime, no matter what size or style your home is.
Explore our full collection of exquisite one-of-a-kind French antiques.
Image credit: Cote Maison, Elle Decor, Veranda, Architectural Digest, Lonny Magazine, Apartment Therapy, Amelia Handegan, Giannetti Home, Ashley Goforth Interiors, Nate Burkus, Martha Stewart, Ken Fulk, Pinterest.