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Vintage romance

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 17, 2013

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WITH the Christmas and New Year celebrations now behind us, it is time to look forward to the next prominent date on the calendar; Valentine's Day. Whether you love it or hate it, there is no escaping this time of year.

However, it doesn't have to be all love hearts, boxes of chocolates and cringeworthy cards, especially not when it comes to interiors.

As Valentine's approaches, I thought I would offer some inspiration on how to introduce a sense of romance into your home without a hint of red in sight.

For me, there is something so romantic about vintage design. It's elegant, feminine and draws on the past where every item looks as though it should tell its own story.

Applying a vintage décor will instantly bring a loving feel to your home and the cosy, familiar appearance it brings creates the perfect ambience for evenings in spent cuddling up on the sofa.

By taking inspiration from yesteryears, you can create a sense of warm nostalgia that will bring depth, meaning and comfort to a scheme.

If you do this one right, you can bring a whole new meaning to the phrase ''old-fashioned'', by taking latter-day classics and giving them a current twist that fits in with modern living.

The key with this trend is to respect the reasons these designs were so popular the first time around. It's important to bring vintage into the 21st century without losing its charm.

Luckily, modern-day design houses and even high street chains have taken an interest in vintage chic, paying tribute to this much-loved and never forgotten style by introducing vintage-inspired collections for the everyday homeowners.

From floral prints and frills to antique finishes, vintage is all about creating an opulent, almost lavish environment that welcomes you with open arms.

While modernity still has a place in today's marketplace, I think it's fair to say that over recent years, stark, clean design has taken a back seat to ''new traditional''.

People are now looking to add character to their homes and although a contemporary scheme sits perfectly in many homes, it can often lack personality and definition. It often surprises me how even the younger generation who you would expect to request ultra-modern ideas when they visit the Taylor's Etc showroom for advice, are actually drawn to vintage design.

In fact, over the past 12 months I've heard the word ''vintage-y'' more times than I can count and I can't help thinking that it is because the interiors world and the fashion industry often work hand in hand. The high-street clothing stores have welcomed this trend and I think we can all confess to having fallen in love with a vintage purse, blouse or dress over the past couple of years.

There are many ways in which you can approach this trend.

If you've got the time and budget, you can invest in large, grand pieces such as armchairs, chaise lounges and large furniture items.

You won't have to look far in your search for the perfect vintage statement.

Many high street stores and designer outlets offer truly wonderful vintage pieces that will bring a sense of character to your home.

But if it's an authentic addition you're after, why not visit a vintage fair or trawl the local antique and charity shops for a one-off.

If you are not looking for a quick-fix you may want to reconsider the décor of your home.

There are plenty of vintage themed wallpapers available that incorporate a floral print or repetitive design, or some that are even slightly faded in colour for a more authentic look.

If you don't have endless streams of cash to invest after the Christmas blow-out, don't worry.

The addition of smaller, vintage inspired accessories and fabrics will still allow you to completely transform a space into a nostalgic haven that takes influence from eras gone by.

Simply introducing floral cushions and reupholstering your existing chairs with a vintage style fabric will give any room a fresh new look.

This theme relies heavily on the accessories you include, so keep an eye out for vintage style mirrors and candelabras to help set the scene.

Opting for a vintage theme will allow your home to have a romantic feel all year round, not just for one day!

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