Whether you’re planning to refurbish your reception area, restaurant or staff meeting rooms, it’s important to make the space attractive, workable and memorable. One of the best ways this can be done is by introducing a few interesting pieces of antique furniture. This can help create an intriguing combination of contemporary and vintage designs, using textures, shapes and styles.

Say Goodbye to Bland

Much of today’s modern furniture is practical but can sometimes be bland. However, you can greatly enhance them with the inclusion of a few special pieces of antique furniture. These additions will introduce a sense of warmth and grandeur. Antique furniture oozes history and character and its style portrays the high levels of craftsmanship of the past. 

Remember, a few carefully chosen pieces are all you need to transform an area and give it personality. Interior designers advise that the ratio of antique to contemporary furnishings is 20% old and 80% new. If you want to emphasise the furniture styles perfectly, it’s best to choose a neutral colour for the walls such as ivory or silver grey.

You may consider a large wooden antique coffee table for a reception area. Include a couple of antique armchairs with beautifully turned legs. If the armchairs need reupholstering, the fabric can be chosen in your company colours to complement the company logo. The rest of the seating can be in a modern design as the two styles will blend remarkably well. Have both the modern and antique upholstery in similar tones to unite. To combat the antique furniture looking heavy – opt for lighter colours. 

Other pieces of furniture that can look good are:

  • Antique wall clocks, ornate gilt-edged mirrors and large period paintings.
  • An antique cloak rack or umbrella stands which can be a fun and quirky additions too.
  • Shelves with a series of interesting antique curios on display can add interest.
  • Vintage textiles can be used to add warmth to a room, including beautiful hand-knotted Persian rugs which make spectacular wall hangings.

5 Clever Antique Additions

  1. In restaurants, vintage oak writing desks and dressers can look stylish and be used for storage.
  2. Lighting is the easy way to introduce other antiques and traditionally styled brass lanterns. Tiffany lamps and sparkling crystal chandeliers can all be used to create lovely lighting effects.
  3. If there is room, you can always create a ‘talking point’ by having an old postbox or telephone box on display in one corner – the latter can be cleverly converted into a wine fridge!
  4.  Give cloakrooms a warm antique character with the introduction of a round antique pub table. Decorate it with a plant arrangement, a basket with small rolled hand towels and a couple of period prints hung on the wall above.

If you cannot find the piece of furniture that you have in mind in your local antique shops, don’t forget to look in furniture auction rooms and charity furniture warehouses as both of these are like treasure troves. There are various craftsmen around the country that make brand new furniture in traditional styles too.

Floresy- Antique shop

Using Plants to Develop the Theme

It is fun to complement antique furniture with plant displays that mirror that particular period. If you have Victorian furniture, it is fun to accentuate the character with the addition of some of the ‘parlour plants’ that the Victorians loved! These included all types of palms, various ferns, fragrant jasmine and potted citrus trees. In Victorian homes, the palms and ferns were often sizeable so this is the ideal way to create interest and decorate an empty corner. You can fill porcelain washing bowl and matching pitchers with house plants. You can also do the same with an old teapot and a  pretty maidenhair fern. For easy care plants, choose top quality faux plants as they look incredibly realistic but require nothing more than a regular dust.

The clever introduction of antique furniture will definitely enhance your commercial space, introducing warmth and character that your customers will both notice and appreciate. 

 

 

 

Floresy - Antique chandeliers

 

 

Do you remember the time “faux” plants looked…fake?

Nowadays, with advancements in manufacturing techniques and new materials, it’s often easy to mistake artificial plants for the real thing!

But when did the use of faux plants actually become part of home and commercial life? And what exactly are their origins?

Back in Time

No one can quite pin down the exact timeframe of artificial/faux plants inception. However, they can be traced as far back as the Egyptian and Roman era. The materials used back then would have been radically different, but the art and ingenuity of production were just as intricate as the designs that you see today. Floral wreaths were made using thin stained plates of animal horn. Materials such as copper, silver and gilt were also utilised to represent flora and fauna when deemed symbolic or appropriate. 

It is fitting that China is a major producer of faux plants. According to historians, this was where they originated from. Although early artificial designs were somewhat crude —  using twisted ribbon and wire — the Chinese then went on to harness the use of silk in their productions to add an unrivalled flourish at the time. The mini-masterpieces were only enjoyed by the privileged few who could afford such artisan wares.

Often, the ladies of the Imperial Family ordered them to be worn in their hair. The trend spread beyond the confines of the palace walls, influencing the masses who were desperate to emulate their social superiors.

Origins of the Artificial Plant

Moving Ahead

With each century came more developments and from many of them in Europe. Over in 12th Century Italy, various groups of Artisans begin crafting unique and eye-catching faux flowers using silkworm cocoons. 

Then — in the 15th Century — the French began crafting their own faux-fauna and surpassed the workmanship of their other European rivals. After the French Revolution, some of these Artisans fled to Britain and found a gaggle of wealthy patrons eager to purchase their wares.

The Victorian era was another benchmark for faux-fauna. Dazzling and opulent arrangements were made using a combination of both fresh and faux flowers. Whilst still utilising silk, other materials (crepe, velvet and muslin etc) were also brought in to embellish the ever-expanding range of designs.

Florists in the 1920’s used faux-fauna to supplement fresh arrangements. When certain flowers were out of season,  this was a great way to meet demand.

Silk - Origins of the Artificial Plant

Present Day Faux

With modern-day production techniques, we’re now in the enviable position of being able to create a sophisticated product that offers durability and long life whilst emulating live fauna.

The future journey of artificial plant and flower production is likely to mirror its illustrious past. Especially as it allows people to be enveloped by a beautiful representation from nature — without the hassle of constant upkeep.

What’s not to like?