CANVASES, CARATS AND CURIOSITIES

Your Guide to Decorating with Antiques

From foyers to living rooms, read our guide and expert tips on how to decorate your home with antiques.

Whether it be daring or contemplative, grand or an accent piece, antique furniture and objet d’art can transform a living space and overall interior design with a powerful presence. Antiques can help your space reflect your own unique history and character, but finding the perfect combination of accent and statement pieces can sometimes feel overwhelming. Join us as we walk through the home, drawing design inspiration from some of our favorite antique pieces here at M.S. Rau.

 

How to Decorate Your Living Room

 
Design Inspiration: Open Source BH&G. 2022.
 
Design Inspiration: Open Source BH&G. 2022.
 
Whether one is relaxing, reading, entertaining or contemplating, the living room is often the focal point of everyday life within the modern home. When deciding how to decorate your living room, focus on collecting what you love — rather than fitting into fleeting trends. Different styles of antique furniture can help with this important personalization.
 
Although 18th-century citizens did not have the luxury of a smart TV with every streaming service at their fingertips, a member of the French aristocracy would have similarly used this stunning Louis XIV-style console table as a focal point in their home. Carved with the opulent, weighty decoration that characterized the Baroque period, this solid red marble top completes the design that was almost certainly a royal commission. Giving your modern space a touch of Baroque opulence is the perfect way to marry time-honored style with your modern life.
 
Louis XIV-style table. Circa 1840. M.S. Rau.
 
Louis XIV-style table. Circa 1840. M.S. Rau.
 
Modern fascination with the world of travel and exploration is vitally consistent. Give yourself and your guests an incredible and mesmerizing living room companion with this set of historic globes. In the early 19th century, owning such a pair meant having an easily accessible wealth of information. Expert cartographers rendered continents in painstaking detail, even indicating Native American tribal lands and natural resources. Discuss your most memorable trips and plot your next venture with these conversation-starting globes that have inspired centuries of exploration, with many more to come.
 
Terrestrial Globe by John and William Cary.  Dated 1816. M.S. Rau.
 
Terrestrial Globe by John and William Cary. Dated 1816. M.S. Rau.
 

How to Decorate Your Dining Room

Dinner parties are certainly having a resurgence, and perhaps for the first time in awhile, people are putting their dining rooms on display for more than just a few holiday gatherings a year. This is certainly not a new concept; there was a time when dining was a luxurious and heartfelt event shared amongst family and friends. Whether you’re looking to elevate your own family’s dining experience, or looking to branch out into the delightful world of dinner party entertainment, a few staple antique pieces, like an antique chair, can elevate the modern decor of any dining space.
 
Shugborough Hall Dining Room
 
Shugborough Hall Dining Room
 
Place to Sit
Gather your guests around a dining table fit for royalty. Crafted of fine golden oak, the complete dining suite features eight dining chairs, a versatile dining table, a vitrine, a sideboard, a buffet and a chest that holds the leaves of the dining table. With with a myriad of lavishly hand-carved figures, including winged lions, fanciful masks, dragons and maidens, this suite is a shining example of Victorian wooden furniture that is sure to astonish any modern visitor.
 
13-piece Victorian oak dining suite. Created by R.J. Horner of New York. Circa 1885. M.S. Rau.
 
13-piece Victorian oak dining suite. Created by R.J. Horner of New York. Circa 1885. M.S. Rau.
 

 

13-piece Victorian oak dining suite. Created by R.J. Horner of New York. Circa 1885. M.S. Rau.
 

If your home decor tends toward modern minimalism, you could always use a simpler table, such as these splendid Art Deco table and chairs. Don’t be afraid to complement simplicity with a beautiful piece of modern art as well.

 

Service Sets
What better way to present a delicious feast than with stunning silver tableware? A distinguished antique silver flatware has always been more than beautiful way to serve food; it is a statement of generous hospitality and refinement. Complete silverware sets, stunning serving dishes, antique vases and antique candlesticks can all elevate the dining area with accents your guests will surely remember.

 

How to Decorate Your Bedroom

A good night’s sleep is truly the epitome of luxury, and most will agree that the bedroom should be a place of relaxation and refuge. In order to help make your bed one that you want to climb into at the end of every day, it is important to create an aesthetic you love.

 
Design Inspiration: Pexels Photo by Anna Romanova. 2022.
 

 

Design Inspiration: Pexels Photo by Anna Romanova. 2022.
 
Royal Palace of Warsaw.
 

 

Royal Palace of Warsaw.
 
Bedroom at the Royal Palace Amsterdam.
 

 

Bedroom at the Royal Palace Amsterdam.
 

Bedroom furniture
If you’ve always dreamt of sleeping like royalty, this grand bed might just be the one for you. Running low on closet space? Consider decorating with a staple furniture piece like this antique armoire that is grand, mysterious and beautiful. And if you’re dedicating a corner of your bedroom space for work, consider different antique desk styles to find one that speaks to you.

 
American oak and walnut tester bed. Circa 1840. M.S. Rau.
 

 

American oak and walnut tester bed. Circa 1840. M.S. Rau.
 
Louis XV armoire. Dated 1750. M.S. Rau.
 

 

Louis XV armoire. Dated 1750. M.S. Rau.
 

Ambiance

Once you settle on furniture, it is time to determine the mood of your space with other types of decor pieces. An antique piece of fine art can surely infuse your space with personality and calm. A great piece of advice from design specialist Lynne Lincoln offers to those who want to live with fine art: “Do not invest in art to match your room; decorate a room to match your fine art investment.” If you love the calming artworks of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, consider a painting by Pierre Bonnard, whose bright colors and soft brushstrokes would create a calming mesmerizing statement in any room.

 
Le Jardin de Paris by Pierre Bonnard.  Painted 1896-1902. M. S. Rau.
 

 

Le Jardin de Paris by Pierre Bonnard. Painted 1896-1902. M. S. Rau.
 
Tiffany Studios Green Linenfold Lamp. Circa 1915. M.S. Rau.
 

 

Tiffany Studios Green Linenfold Lamp. Circa 1915. M.S. Rau.
 

As any professional interior designer knows, the secret to creating the perfect space is the lighting. Using lamps, particularly as decor in the bedroom, can help you unwind with style. Now that the mood is almost right, you just need one final touch.

 

In the second half of the 19th century, the cave à liqueur, or liqueur caddy, was a very popular accessory to have in the home. They were typically handsome wooden containers that held cordial glasses and decanters that you could fill with your favorite spirits. Their small size in comparison to a liquor cabinet meant that they were perfect for spaces other than the parlor or dining room, such as the bedroom, meaning a nightcap was within arm's reach.

 
Baccarat Ormolu Cave à Liqueur.  Circa 1870. M.S. Rau.
 

 

Baccarat Ormolu Cave à Liqueur. Circa 1870. M.S. Rau.
 

How Antiques Add Character

 

Beyond adding warmth into a space, antique decor pieces carry limitless value with the stories they tell. Whether it was owned by a royal, crafted by a master of their time or coveted by collectors today, the truism still holds that in most cases: “they don’t make things like they used to.” The timeless antique item that allows you design aesthetic evolve over the years, with a worthy-investment, and we could not be more proud to help you find your own perfect piece of history to display.

 

If you would like further assistance developing your home’s distinctive interior design or displaying artwork from your fine art collection, you can reach out to our qualified experts for design services tailored to the needs of your modern space.

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