With soft velvety chairs from the 1970s, a thick Persian carpet, and a mahogany console, your Manhattan living room apartment is perhaps every elitist’s dream. You wake up every day to the sound of an annoying alarm clock only to be greeted by a pair of robins parked on your living room window — chirping a happy tune.
It is the beginning of summer and your living room is apparently boiling with heat — Thanks to the rays of the sun that are trespassing and glaring through your windows with vengeance!
Despite decent air conditioning, you can’t seem to keep the sun from shining on your parade — at least for the first two halves of the day. You place your feet on the carpet and you realize you can’t even walk without protecting your tootsies from the sun’s harsh rays. So, what do you do?
In addition to all the elegant furniture, your living room probably lacks the articulation of a few window treatments. In order to prevent passersby from peaking and peering into your rooms and to conserve energy in more ways than one, you need to give your living room a glorious makeover.
People have been fixated with the idea of curtains and drapes since the ancient times and there is no reason why you can’t look back and introduce a vintage takeover into your room.
Curtains & Drapes — A Short History
Curtains and drapes were initially introduced as window treatments for protection from the sunlight. It wasn’t until the Georgian period when curtains and drapes were adapted as well-to-do decorative embellishments for windows and shutters alike. So velvet cascades and brocaded damasks were introduced.
The industry expanded toward the production of blinds and they were taken quite ardently by rustic homes as well. The history of blinds can therefore, be recorded as early as the days barging on the Nile in ancient Egypt. Back then, blinds were made from reeds that were plucked while sailing through the Nile.
Gradually, by the mid-18th century, their production grew and expanded within the American community. Curtains were considered as a status symbol and the American textile industry introduced floor-length drapes to tapestry complete with pom-poms, fringes and tassels.
Lace took-over the French linens and valances were introduced by the Greeks to commemorate the fashion adorned by their mythical goddesses.
Wooden cornice settled within the rustic abodes till the 19th century saw a peak in the artistry of curtain arrangements. The 19th century welcomed curtains and drapes that paid homage to style and design of the windows as well. Panels of fabric were cut artistically in curvaceous borders to adjust to the window openings, and the rest — the rest is history!
Wooden blinds took over the Victorian era and the aluminum ones were introduced as a massive technology asset in the mid-1940s.
10 Ways to Give Your Living Room a Vintage Look
The 1950s enjoyed ardent times of pastels and block prints. Paisleys and tapestries were welcomed, and soon, it adapted to the decade’s most popular movements of design and articulation. From bold hues of fire-engine red to the sweetness of pastels and mint-green, the 1950s introduced a wave of electric prints and patterns.
It’s the 21st century and if you think your living room can’t stand the electric touch of a vibrant pair of curtains — then it’s time we tell you that you’re wrong. Even if your living room has state-of-the-art upholstery, it can survive and perfectly learn to make-do with a vintage makeover.
Mentioned below are 10 styles of curtains, drapes, awnings and blinds that we think you should let your interior designer (or yourself) look into for your living room’s vintage look.
1. Two-Toned Lattice Curtains
Katrina Blair tells us just exactly how you can pull off a minimalistic tone with matching prints: This living room has the upkeep of monotony through grey tones. These two-toned lattice curtains have embraced the grey sofa upholstery and not to mention, it doesn’t steal the attention from the rug that has the same pattern.
Monochrome palettes will be perfect for studio apartments or small living rooms. In order to enhance the outlook of the room and to make it feel bigger, you have to address your space more wisely and without creating a ‘too busy to keep up’ look. Here, you can choose one of the primary colors in your room — as in this case, the artist has used grey — and weave your finger around it.
Except for your mood, you can design everything in grey to create a space that is not only relaxing but offers a vintage yet interesting look.
2. Gingham – The Ideal Block Print
Becca’s fall living room is the definition of a quaint housekeeper’s dream. With faux cotton branches atop an inexpensive coffee table and a couple of small armchairs to complete the look, this living room is as neutral as it could be. These neutral hues might remind you of fall and even if the season isn’t there for a long time, there is no reason why you can’t replicate its style to preserve it forever.
As you’ve placed a neutral sofa in front of your windows and wait for the calmness to seep in through the softness of those striped cushions and white pillows, you’d realize that there is just one thing left to completely sell this room. Since everything is set in its place atop a wooden floor, be wise and choose gingham curtains to complete the vintage look of your living room.
These gingham curtains have been a mainstay of block prints and the checkered brown and white surely adds to the neutral hues of the room without any contest.
3. Stenciled Damask Curtains
While Megan catered to stencil her curtains for the classical damask print herself, you can therefore, have an interior designer look into your options and shop for it together or hire an artist to take care of the chore for you.
Damask prints are lovely, but you’ve to choose your stencils carefully so that the print doesn’t have too much pattern in it. If you go for big stencils, then you might cover the entire fabric with the pattern in no time. This might appear suffocating, especially if you’re going for alternating placements in small living rooms. The key is to stamp the print on the fabric without darkening it with too much pattern exposure on the fabric.
4. Vintage Floral Curtains
In order to make sure that your Jacobean-styled living room feels alive despite the additions of the ottoman and velvet upholstery, you need a little vintage touch to top it off the charts. The Elizabethan Jacobean style is celebrated and commemorated for its elegance and breakthrough in wooden furniture. To decorate your living room with whimsical hues and color-contrasting palettes — go for vintage floral curtains and hang the spreads for utter warmth.
Whether your living room has wooden furniture that is rich enough to think about or perhaps a boho-chic spread that you can’t wait to set off with ideas — go for floral curtains and cherish its magic. Floral curtains are elegant yet warm and can be designed with any texture or pattern to match the upkeep of your living room.
5. The Floor-Length Draped Spread
In order to keep the romantic spark alive within the set of your minimal living room, you need to cater to embellishments that not only adhere to drama but also to the vilest nature of romance. Chiffon and sheer are two fabrics that have indoctrinated the idea of sensuality within their touch.
With pleated chiffon panels hanging before overstocked sofas or the classic breeze of sheer drapes spread against the entire set of windows, romance and sensuality have come to visit. The best part of these floor-length curtains is that they not only add a minimal touch to your surroundings, but also make sure to pave way for the right amount of breeze with just a subtle hint of sunshine.
Sheer helps you to enjoy the outdoors even if you’re inside your living room. Sheer is large on variety of styles and there is no reason why you should be surprised with the textured versatility of its chiffon fabric. You can even place sheer curtains in a rustic-styled living room for diffused warmth and utmost coziness.
6. Accordion-Style Damask Valence
Damask and geometric prints go well together, especially if you want to create a view that is bigger and fuller. Accordion-style folds or flat roman shaped valances are ideal for screening the area for curtain fittings underneath. Accordion-style damask curtains can be used in place of canopies or in-room awnings, therefore, creating an opportunity for you to mix contemporary style with vintage patterns.
This contemporary-modern style is used mostly for living rooms that have a single tall and thin window. Damask houses a variety of geometric prints and therefore, has managed to keep valences alive till today. Accordion-style damask curtains can also be used in kitchens or bathrooms that ideally have sinks or bathtubs, respectively, overlooking towards the windows.
7. Textured Patterns With Sheer Backdrop
You’d require a lot of patience to create this DIY fluttery curtain look. Who doesn’t want to be greeted with textured petals and the aura of a fluttering breeze as soon as they step into their living room? This is slightly unorthodox but creates a feeling that you’re yet to accomplish.
For this purpose, you’d need two sheets for the curtain panels. You can either bug your nearest home improvement store for a linen and a cotton sheet or you can just go through your collection to come with cream-coloured panels for the tapestry. Next, you’d need to cut out petals from sheer or chiffon material so that you can sew them in rifts onto the cream-colored sheets.
Create panels on the sheets after keeping a certain distance in your mind. Sew petals on top of each other. After you’ve sewn a clustered mess of them on the top, create distance within each panel as you go down slowly. Sew fewer petals on the way down in order to create the fluttery essence of the petals.
8. Japanese Shibori Tie Dyeing
The Shibori tie and dyeing technique has been quite popular in Japanese history for centuries. Shibori tie and dyeing is famous for its artistry because it is not only loyal to indigo in order to create the ideal blue hues, but also with different fabrics and materials.
In order to infuse magic into your living room and to recuperate its boring style to a much lively one, take your plain old cotton sheets and venture yourself toward the art of Japanese Shibori Curtain Tie and Dyeing.
All you need to do is take your fabric, dip it in indigo tie and bunch or twist it until it gets upgraded to your desired blue color.
9. Old School Plaid Curtains
As vintage as it can get, plaid curtains can give your living room the ideal rustic window treatment. Plaid curtains can be used to give your living room a more cohesive country-style look which can then be coordinated and paired with colours that set examples of long-lasting hues.
Plaid is therefore, dependable and can be mixed with little numbers all around the living room for solidarity. For instance, if you’re going for plaid curtains, then you can place a few plaid pillows on the sofa or replace a back chair’s plain upholstered cushion with a plaid one to add to the ambience.
10. Dark Wood Shutters
There is nothing as elegant as windows that have been treated with an array of dark wood shutters. Miles Ahead Blinds and Awnings have made it possible to recreate customized window treatments such as roller or plantation shutters for the perfect vintage look. Wooden shutters are perfect embellishments for living room spread that is either all-white or has neutral and wooden furniture upkeep.
The era of curtains, drapes, awnings, valences and blinds is here to stay — these window treatments are not only cherished for their old school and vintage decorative purposes, but also for their protection against the harsh rays of the sun in summer, drafts and leakages.