Home Improvement

Reader Question: How Can I Use Antique Furniture in a Modern Home?

Discover how to incorporate traditional pieces in a contemporary space

Photography: Miguel Nacianceno

Q: My mother-in-law left her beloved decades-old butaca chair and an ambassador chair under our care. My wife and I have no idea how to incorporate these into our house, which is filled mostly with modern furniture and gadgets. We don't want to store these in the bodega either. We want them to work well with the rest of the items without looking like we tried too hard. —Clueless Couple

A: It's easy to think that old furniture will look silly and out-of-place in modern interiors but these beloved hand-me-downs can essentially add warmth and life to your home. The easiest way to make these pieces fit in with your new furniture is by refinishing them.

Once you've fixed the scratches, covered the holes, and reapplied the varnish (don't make the new finish too glossy!), your mother-in-law's furniture will be good as new and easier to incorporate in your home. 

Click here to see more photos and view the full home tour.

Read the original article ("Ask It") in the April 2009 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.

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