Guest Post by Hannah Hutchinson

Handcrafted Furniture and Antiques for Special Spaces

What makes a living space special? Giving a room your personal touch makes it your own. Antiques and handcrafted furniture are great ways to personalize any room and turning the interior into a special retreat. Consider items with strong vintage roots for achieving that special ambiance.


A secretary is an old-style desk. Some of the more elaborate models also have a built-in display case similar to the ones used in dining rooms for displaying chinaware. A secretary is great for a home office. Use the glass case for displaying old hardbacks or even entire encyclopedia sets, which have become antiques in their own right.

Some secretaries have elaborated woodwork designs and go great with other antique office items, such as a vintage globe with a wooden stand or antique typewriter. Place a modern desktop computer or laptop, and you have a hybrid mix of modern interwoven with old-world design.

Antique Nightstands

Aim for a matching pair of vintage wooden nightstands. Pair with an equally vintage lamp, and you have a focal piece for the master bedroom. Vintage nightstands may be a bit smaller than a contemporary model since bedrooms in earlier eras were smaller. Nevertheless, you will have enough space for all the nightly essentials.

Consider a model with satinwood and decorative knob for the drawer. Nightstands, by the way, also work well for conservatories.

Breakfast Nook

Smaller homes that lack the space to accommodate a full-size dining table can opt for a smaller breakfast nook table. You have plenty of choices here in terms of style and design. Look for 18th or 19th-century-era tables made from mahogany or tigerwood. These have rich contrasting colors with the grains fully intact. You can match with antique chairs or go modern on the seating for a hybrid contemporary/old-age look. In place of the typical bowl with plastic fruit, consider a vintage vase, perhaps French with marquetry designs or an Asian model with hand-painted Edo period artwork.

These additions, while comprising of a much smaller space than a typical dining room table, really create a special miniature space that also doubles as a focal point.

Distressed Cabinets

Distressed cabinets are popular for homeowners aiming for the cottage look. The purposefully worn surface gives the appearance of furniture that has seen its share of wear spanning across generations. While a mainstay for kitchens, you can also opt for standalone cabinets with the same distressed surface. The whole appeal of the distressed look is also why some antique collectors choose not to restore their vintage pieces. The visible sign of age is a decorative element in its own right.

Wall Hangings

Vintage wall hangings are smaller collectibles that are best bundled together. It’s best to designate an accent wall for all of your wall décor. Use a variety of antique pieces from different locations and time periods. This gives off the look that you have been to places or brings about the appearance of an explorer. Some ideas for wall hangings include vintage Chinese scrolls, embossed metal tiles, mosaic wood panels, or a collection of abstract artwork.

Vintage Stools

Some stools have an industrial look to them, while others evoke appearances of a 1950s diner. Consider the use of metal swivel stools for the kitchen island, built-in counter, or alcove. Alternatively, you can use wooden stools with a frayed cushion. This kind of recreates the look of an old Irish tavern that blue-collar workers retreat to at the end of a hard day. You can add to this vibe by displaying a few vintage empty whiskey bottles.

An equally creative idea is the use of barrel stools made from petrified tree stumps. This is recommended for a vintage cabin look.

Twig Furnishings

Twig furnishings usually consist of willow and hickory wood and was a staple in 19th-century U.S. southern eastern homes. Many of the surviving pieces today are considered historic and collectibles. While mostly designed for outdoor use, they also suffice as indoor pieces. Common twig furniture styles include willow twig love seats, patio sets, and Adirondacks.

Use antiques to turn any room into a special haven for your family or guests. Vintage and handmade furnishings elicit a feel of revival for a bygone era.

Hannah Hutchinson is an interior designer based in London, currently blogging for Westland London. She’s always chasing new ideas and likes thinking outside the box when it comes to incorporating fresh ideas to her clients new homes.

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