How-To Series: Decorate With Rustic Pieces

While we're big fans of the worn, well-loved look of vintage furniture and decor items, we also understand that too much of anything is just... too much. For many people, adding one too many nail-filled benches, rusted clock radios and patina-covered knick knacks may start to make your home feel cluttered and a bit dated. If you're looking for ways to incorporate rustic vintage pieces while still maintaining a cool, clean space, here are some of our favorite tips.

  • Alternate large and small items. If you scored big at the flea market and found a well-loved credenza or perfectly worn leather chair, balance things out with an ultra-modern floor lamp or a row of clean, simple abstract prints to keep things fresh and stylish. On the other hand, if you have some treasured antique candlesticks, placing them on a sleek white shelf will give you that balance you want. Combining antique decor items with antique furniture may start to make things feel a little bit drab. 
  • Only go for the really special items. You may love the look of distressed furniture, but you don't need to take home every cool piece you see. Save up for a really rare collector's piece or wait until you find that perfect item. 
  • Consider the space. If you're lucky enough to live in a period home, you may want to try to incorporate vintage pieces that are true to the time in which it was built. If not, just be conscious of the size and needs of the space you're trying to fill before buying a bulky piece that might not work. 
  • Make it work. Sometimes, all an antique furniture or decor piece needs is a little bit of TLC. If it's a little too rough for your taste, try giving it a good polish, fixing that broken leg or sanding it down and adding some fresh stain to give it a second chance. 
  • Admit when rustic is too rustic. We've all been there: you find a major piece at the thrift store or the flea market, but it's in such bad shape that you stop to wonder if it's worth buying at all. It's best to be honest with yourself about what you're comfortable with in your home — if it might give you tetanus when you touch it, it's probably too rustic.