One thing that telegraphs an old style in a piece of furniture most is: scale.
You can really tell something is old if it’s small. Or has small details. Or small patterns. Chairs and sofas sat lower to the ground and had flatter styled cushions with smaller skirts and more fussy details. Then, of course, they also had those arm covers that never stayed in place. :-/
I guess people were smaller 30-100 years ago, so why wouldn’t their furniture be too?
Today, we like large, overstuffed, comfy seating with large, graphic patterns and simple details. Things are less busy and, well, bigger.
If you have some of these small scaled furniture pieces and don’t want to replace them, modifying their size and reupholstering them in a less busy fashion with either solid colors or larger patterns can update your furniture piece so that it seems fresher and more like it belongs in your home today.
I recently reupholstered one of my mother’s chairs for her.
It was a chair we had in the 70s when I was growing up. It was still sturdy and well-made; and, while it was small, she actually needed a small chair for her bedroom corner and this one fit perfectly.
To update it I did the following:
- I had the legs built up 2”. The seat was 16” high — you felt like you were getting up from the floor! So we raised it to the proper seat height of 18”.
- We deleted some of the button detailing.
- We used a solid fabric that’s the color of her carpet so it blends in with the floor and doesn’t take up too much visual space.
- Finally, I dropped the new skirt from a point as high as I could, near the deck. Those little tiny skirts are very dated looking.
And voila! Almost looks like new! Right?