Eight living rooms where vintage furniture adds an "unknown history"


Our latest lookbook features living rooms where vintage furniture and accessories add interest to contemporary interiors, including a concrete apartment in São Paulo and a home in the BBC’s former London headquarters.

Vintage furniture can create cosy interiors and add a sense of timeless style to both modern new builds and historic homes.

Whether it’s iconic pieces by well-known designers or artisanal accessories, these eight projects all feature eye-catching vintage furnishings and show how they can be used to create inspiring interiors.

This is the latest in our lookbook series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks featuring burl-wood interiors, homes where ruins reveal layers of the past and well-designed sheds and outbuildings.


Vintage furniture in beach house
Photo by Eric Petschek

Amagansett Beach House, US, by Starling Architecture and Emily Lindberg Design

Located by the beach in the Hamptons village of Amagansett, the interior of this blackened wood home was filled with a mix of vintage and contemporary furniture.

In one corner of the living room, a modern wood desk has been complemented with a dark-wood vintage chair, while a wooden lamp and small sculpture add a decorative touch.

Find out more about Amagansett Beach House ›


Vintage Eames chair in London apartment
Photo by Edmund Dabney

Highbury apartment, UK, by Holloway Li

London studio Holloway Li designed this apartment for its co-founder Alex Holloway in a converted Victorian house.

The living room, unusually, holds a bathtub that was placed here to add an “alternative touch” to the flat. Next to it, a green vintage Eames office chair sits by a bespoke timber Holloway Li desk.

Find out more about Highbury apartment ›


The Palace Gate by Tala Fustok
Photo by Michael Sinclair

Palace Gate apartment, UK, by Tala Fustok

Designed to be a “calm sanctuary,” this apartment in a Victorian mansion block close to London’s Hyde Park has a neutral cream, white and brown colour palette.

In the living room, a selection of carefully chosen artworks in organic shapes match the vintage furniture and antique mirror.

Find out more about the Palace Gate apartment ›


Interior of Brazilian apartment
Photo by Denilson Machado

DN Apartment, Brazil, by BC Arquitetos

This 1970s São Paulo apartment (above and main image), renovated by Brazilian studio BC Arquitetos, features monolithic concrete panels and plenty of walnut panelling.

Vintage furniture pieces by Brazilian mid-century modern designers are found throughout the flat including in the living room, where a gleaming wooden Petalas table by Jorge Zalszupin has pride of place.

Find out more about DN Apartment ›


Chestnut Plantation by John Pardey Architects
Photo by Brotherton Lock

Chestnut Plantation, US, by John Pardey Architects

Local studio John Pardey Architects designed Chestnut Plantation as a simple backdrop to the client’s vintage furniture.

The largely open-plan interior features a living room with floor-to-ceiling glazing and textured brick walls, which contrast nicely against the more ornate vintage chairs that were placed to have a view of the garden.

Find out more about Chestnut Plantation ›


Helios 710 apartment by Bella Freud and Retrouvius
Photo by Michael Sinclair

Helios 710, UK, by Bella Freud and Maria Speake

The interior of this apartment, located inside the former BBC headquarters in west London, was designed to channel a 1970s vibe.

In the living room, a glass dining table is complemented by woven-cane dining chairs and burnt-orange sofas contrast against the emerald green floor. The pieces were chosen to evoke the “bold colour, eclecticism and glamour” of the seventies.

Find out more about Helios 710 ›


Canal Saint-Martin apartment by Rodolphe Parente
Photo by Giulio Ghirardi

Haussmann apartment, France, by Rodolphe Parente

A yellow sculptural vintage sofa decorates the living room in this apartment in a 19th-century Haussmann building in Paris, which was given a contemporary overhaul by interior designer Rodolphe Parente.

Its colour was chosen among the other warm tones used in the apartment to “subtly enhance the classical heritage of the apartment and keep an enveloping atmosphere,” the interior designer explained.

Find out more about the Haussmann apartment ›


Amagansett house by Athena Calderone
Photo by Nicole Franzen

Long Island Home, US, by Athena Calderone

New York designer Athena Calderone renovated her own mid-century home in Amagansett to brighten it up and make it feel warmer. Vintage furniture is a big part of the design as seen in the living room, which has two white vintage chairs in different designs.

“I would say probably 80 per cent of this home has vintage furniture,” Calderone added. “I love what vintage does to the home. It adds an unknown history and a timeworn patina.”

Find out more about the Long Island Home ›

This is the latest in our lookbook series, which provides visual inspiration from Dezeen’s archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks featuring burl-wood interiors, homes where ruins reveal layers of the past and well-designed sheds and outbuildings.



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