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Antiques: The Old Is New Again

Far from falling out of favor, antique pieces are resonating with today's next generation of designers

Written by Sally Finder Weepie

Design by Zoe Feldman; photos courtesy of Stacy Zarin Goldberg Photography


It's a modern world, but antiques continue to hold a cherished place in the home, with designers mingling old and new pieces to create character-rich rooms.

Prints, tableware, and decorative objects are the top sellers at 1stdibs, according to Anthony Barzilay Freund, 1stdibs editorial director and director of fine art. 1stdibs represents 2,000 antiques dealers onsite from 40 countries. 

Among the top-performing creators in the past six months are: 

  • Fives-Lille, Orchies, Choisy-le-Roi, Sarreguemines, and Meissen Porcelain ceramics and serveware
  • Francisco Goya and Augusto Grossi prints
  • Gorham Manufacturing Company silver
  • Jerome Massier Fils decorative objects
  • Tiffany Studios decorative objects.

    Also trending are specific time periods and style, Freund says: 
  • Old Masters portraits and pre-1900 figurative paintings 
  • Neoclassical, Biedermeie, and Louis XVI commodes and chests of drawers
  • Edo prints and screens
  • Jugendstil chandeliers and pendants

    Of course, designers have their own particular favorites.

    Zoë Feldman, Designer and founder of Zoë Feldman Design: “Antiques add a beautiful patina to a home. Like art and rugs, they bring soul to spaces and keep them from looking too 'one note.' We like our spaces to feel collected and evolved—antiques help us to achieve this look. We also recently began to focus on designing with sustainability in mind. Loads of beautiful furniture already exist in this world—using antiques is an easy and effortless way to lower our carbon footprint during the decorating process. Antiques are basically the full package—they add interest and uniqueness to spaces while also helping save the planet!”

Josh Greene, designer and founder of New York-based interior design studio Josh Greene Design: “I think every room looks best with a mix of new and vintage. Here’s why: if everything is new, it risks looking like a showroom but if everything is old, all of a sudden you’re living in a stall at the marché aux puces. It also depends on the architecture of the space. If working with something clean-lined and modern, maybe add some more antiques for authenticity and the opposite for a room with inherent patina. I also keep in mind how much of a focal point you want the antique to be. Let’s say you have a modern room but a gigantic crusty gilt baroque mirror above the mantle, that might be all you need to strike the right balance.” 

Eche Martinez, designer and founder of San Francisco based interior design firm ECHE: "As a designer, I'm interested in exploring the dialogue between old and new and how our aesthetic interests evolve over time. Bringing antiques into an otherwise contemporary space brings to the forefront a sense of dynamism and depth that feels both layered and informed, elevating the room and the pieces in it. My philosophy is that every room should have at least one antique or vintage item."