When we hear the word vintage, what visions appear in our mind? Is it the glamour of a 1925 art deco apartment near the Champs Elysees in Paris? Do we see orange shag carpeting? Maybe it’s clothes from the local thrift store. Or are we envisioning a mid-century masterpiece in Palm Springs, authentic down to the ashtrays? Are we remembering “My Three Sons” and “The Donna Reed Show”?

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Vintage, from a decorating perspective, represents the best quality items or design from a specific era. It all depends how far back you wish to travel. It is an antique or is it retro? Although ‘vintage’ has become a wide-ranging and flexible term, vintage tends to be range-bound to the past 100 years. It applies to just about anything we value as representative of an earlier time, style and era.

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The beauty of vintage is that these pieces give us such flexibility. They can be found at consignment and thrift stores for a few hundred dollars as well as the true classics offered by reputable interior design firms for a hundred thousand dollars. Adding just one piece to a room creates that moment of interest, shaking up the norm, revealing a hidden side of us, allowing something outside the box to appear unexpectedly. Vintage can create awe at the amazing design of a true master and also the beauty of a chair or a sofa with striking lines. In all cases vintage adds what we don’t suspect creating a particular charm. .

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We can mix in one or two pieces and it becomes a touch of an attractive flashback, or we can recreate a whole era and immerse ourselves and our friends in another time. If we plan on creating that mid-century-modern, vintage world in that mid-century home by Eames, Perriand or Koenig, we should be sure it’s an immersion we can enjoy 24-7. Otherwise a few pieces will allow us the touches that let us rejoice in the extreme creativity of another time. Either way, consider that when we add the unexpected, we add interest. We can tie vintage pieces into any design through color or texture. Or maybe we are a bit wild and just want to let it all hang out.

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