There are lots of myths out there about antiques and decorating with them. I find many people who are intimidated by the mere thought of going to an antiques store or buying an antique. They often feel that they are going to be “cheated” into paying too much or buying something that is not what they are being told it is. I find this is to be most unfortunate since I find antiques to be of a magical world that elicits history and beauty to all surroundings. Living with antiques is like listening to wonderful music. Eating breakfast on a great, rustic farm table just makes my whole day more interesting.
Here are a few “myth busters” I've assembled regarding antiques:
Myths: “my children will ruin my priceless antiques” and “I don't want my house to look like grandma's attic”
1.Antiques are not always priceless. In fact, antiques are often better or equally priced than their contemporary alternatives of equal quality. I’m not comparing the prices of antiques to new furniture at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. High quality antiques should be compared to high quality new furniture such as that available at Holly Hunt or Roche Bobois. Antiques tend to be an even greater value when you consider that their resale value will not drop the moment it leaves the store. Buying new furniture is like buying a new car; buying antiques is like investing in real estate. (This does mean that at moments like in the current economy prices DO drop. My house is not worth today what it was worth 3 years ago. Same goes for my French armoire. But in 5 years, my house will probably be worth more than it is today...same should go for my armoire!) Therefore, antiques are probably a lot more affordable than you think. And in the long run, they are a LOT more affordable if you consider you will have to change that “made in china” coffee table 3 times by the time your kids are grown since it is made of pressed wood.
3. If you do choose to purchase some “priceless” i.e. expensive pieces, don’t be afraid to teach your children their value. Children will behave as they are taught/ allowed to behave. Toys are toys, special pieces are just that, special.Your home establishes your quality of life, so set your standards high. If you want to surround yourself with beauty and art, you shouldn’t give that up because you’re in the reproductive stage of your life. Always strive for the best quality you can afford and be patient about finding the right pieces. Better to buy one great piece that you will have for years to come then fill a room with pieces that will have to be replaced.
2.Antiques are not always fragile. You wouldn’t let your child stand on a glass coffee table or play with a ceramic vase. Proper treatment of new furniture is not any different than treatment of antiques. In fact, if it’s lasted more than 100 years, it’s probably for a reason: it was a quality piece of furniture made to last. If you spill wine on your new couch it won’t cost you less to replace it than it would to reupholster an antique armchair. Antiques can be just as practical and livable as any other options on the market.
4. Designing with antiques does not mean you will have a cluttered, dusty, or sad atmosphere. Antiques can be clean cut, bright, and airy…you just have to find the right pieces and interesting combinations. Designing with antiques doesn't have to be all or nothing, you can have a contemporary space with one or two token antiques to give the area depth and poignancy. Perhaps an unexpected chandelier or curvaceous chair.