My mom inherited a lot of articles of furniture and artwork from her parents. While these items have really good bones, they completely clash with her modern decor. I’ve suggested many times that she have some of her favorite inherited heirlooms updated, like her mother’s moss-colored, crushed velvet wingback, but she can’t find the heart to alter them.
So what should you do with inherited pieces that aren’t aligned with your #designgoals??
There are a few ways to address this conundrum. And I think that it really boils down to whether you are interested in keeping the item(s), whether you don’t want to keep the items, or you’re unsure how to proceed. Let’s break it down, scenario by scenario.
I want to keep it, but it still clashes with my decor!
I imagine that if you are in this camp, you probably are a little sentimental and attached to the history of the item. If that’s the case, you most likely don’t want to store this item in a corner of a room that’s never used, but you just don’t know what to do with it!
My first suggestion is to make it a focal point! This might sound bizarre to take something that clashes with your decor and make it a focal point. Trust me. If you are emotionally attached to this piece you’ll want to see it and give it a little TLC.
If the current state of the item is not aligned to your design aesthetic you may need to reinvent it! There are many ways of doing this, but only go this route if you feel as if the alteration will retain the integrity of the piece. Refer back to my mom’s issue and possibly consider having the piece professionally reupholstered, repainted, or refinished. You can find a fabric or finish that vibes with your decor. That way you can incorporate your sentimental piece in a way that fits more seamlessly into your decor.
If you don’t feel the need to alter the piece, perhaps you can mix it with a complementary design style. This decision to mix design styles makes me so happy because it will make your space appear more curated and less like a box-store showroom. If you choose to mix styles, ideally, you’d want to choose the stylistic opposite of your prominent design style. For example, Modern Glam would most likely pair well with a Minimalist style. If you married two very different, very glitzy styles it would most likely clash. Some examples of styles that complement each other well include: Rustic & Industrial, Bohemian & Scandinavian, Traditional & Mid-Century Modern, and Contemporary & Art Deco.
I really don’t want it, but I feel like I shouldn’t trash it.
Number one, don’t feel obligated to keep something that you don’t want. Period. Your love for your family members is not measured in how long you keep something out of sheer obligation. Your home should be filled with the things that you love. So the question still stands … what should you do with it?
Perhaps you have a relative or a close friend who you feel would appreciate the piece a lot more than you. If you don’t love it, gift it to someone who would.
There is always the option to donate inherited items to a charity, place them on consignment, or even have an estate sale or an auction. You can even arrange for the auctioneer to donate those pieces that do not sell. Do not feel guilty for this! You should not house pieces that do not spark joy for you. Do not overcrowd your space just because a piece is sentimental to you. In addition to sentimentality, the piece must function properly, and bring joy.)
I’m not sure how I feel about it. I kinda want it, but then I kinda don’t.
If you are feeling any apprehension about keeping a piece, know that this is totally normal. So what do you do??
You can always choose to store the piece(s) in a temperature controlled setting until you feel comfortable enough to commit to a decision. You can also potentially pass the pieces down to younger family members later down the line.
If you have an entire set of something and you’re not sure what to do, consider keeping just one part of the set and giving away the others. Or maybe disperse some of the pieces around the house. Whatever you do, just don’t over-crowd your space with items that you are unsure about. That doesn’t sound comforting at all!
In the end…
Regardless of what you’re considering, know that the choice is ultimately yours. Determine what works for you and your space. All in all, your home should be a reflection of you and all that you love, heirlooms or not.