Spring's promise of a fresh start often inspires us to toss out the old and buy new. But newer isn't always better. In their Kansas home, Chuck and Shirley Comeau confidently pair a modern steel-and-glass table with worn and mismatched chairs. The old chairs soften and add warmth to their modern dining area.
Transform ho-hum accents like this plain white chandelier, by repainting it with a pop of bright color.
The secret to mixing old and new is discovering affordable cast-off pieces whose character and patina temper the new and shiny. To create a graceful mix, identify stylistic "anchors" for a room: pieces that you'll use every day. This homeowner took rusted washstands designed for a hospital, polished them up, added plumbing and turned them into bathroom sinks.
Consider new and creative roles for things you already own. Go through your attic or closets -- you may be surprised at the treasures you'll find. Here, an old seltzer bottle, destined for the dump, finds new life as a unique table lamp.
"One of our problems today is that we want everything now and new," says architect Louis Nequette. "Don't be afraid to have an empty room for a while." The unique furniture in this dining room took months to gather. The homeowner kept a copy of room dimensions -- ready for unexpected discoveries. She found this chalkboard while on vacation and had it shipped home.
If you see something you love, you can find a place for it in your home. A chicken feeder hung on the wall finds new life as a spice rack. The overhead lights are old street lamps updated with new wiring.