Mixing Antiques with Contemporary Art

Some people might feel that mixing antiques with contemporary art is sacrilegious, something that is tantamount to a betrayal of the aesthetic beauty or value of antiques, and vice versa. But how could that be? Although we’re not opposed to “old art” we love interiors that are bold enough to mix it up a bit. In this post we’re going to show you some examples of how others have done it.

Choosing original art is a personal pursuit – one painting, photograph or drawing evokes different emotions in every person. That’s why there’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing art for your own home. Just buy what you love and you can’t go wrong.

If you have an old chair then don’t be afraid to put a contemporary work of art next to it if that’s what pleases you.

In Wendy Cain and David Hunt’s home for example, they have mixed antiques with a wide variety of art to great effect. In the above photos you will see how pottery, paintings, and folk art are placed next to antiques in ways that enrich and enliven their home.


In the entrance to their home is a triptych of a series of works that Wendy spent more than two decades developing. Next to it is an antique candle stand table.

Upstairs is another work in this series. Wendy calls these works Shipwreck Dreaming: 


“The images suggested a sense of loss and mourning, but quickly began to take on the quality of dream sequences in which logic appears to bring together disparate elements to make a narrative. On the moment of waking, the dream can seem normal, but if remembered, is often chaotic and illogical to our waking sensibilities.

The only common denominator in the entire series is the appearance of fish. For me, these fish are a metaphor for curiosity and discovery. They also bring into question the nature of the place and moment in the work as fish are almost always aquatic and some of the other elements are definitely not so we are led to question the nature of the experience. It is my hope that the images will engage the viewer and provide a portal to the richness of the world of the imagination.”

Mixing art in other forms with antiques such as sculpture, textiles and new media should not be overlooked either. Here are just a few examples:

We hope this post has encouraged you to experiment mixing antiques with original art in your own home, and if it’s contemporary, all the better, for it will delight, surprise and inspire you for years to come.

Wendy told us once to move art around from time to time. Many of us choose a spot for art, keep it there, and then eventually stop looking at it. A different position allows us to see art from a new vantage point and renew our appreciation of the work all over again.

To find out more about the artists featured in this post please visit the following (listed alphabetically):

Christopher Broadhurst

Wendy Cain

John McEwen

Shag Rug Studio Collective

David Sidley

Rose Stewart

Follow us on Instagram:

Sign up for updates
Posted on