How to give a modern room a cool, retro spin

Need some interior design inspiration for your pad?

Want to introduce retro pieces into your home without turning your living room into a museum? Designer Julia Buckingham, author of new book Modernique, gave us some useful tips.

You were influenced by your mum growing up trawling antique shops, what did she teach you? 


‘My mum shared with me her love for dusty, sometimes dingy, haunts where she found the most incredible jewels. Her motto was “where you least expect it – you will find that must-have piece you never knew you needed!” Because of her, I take every single opportunity to find a treasure – regardless of where I travel.’

What’s the trick with mixing antiques with modern décor?


‘The trick of mixing antiques and modern decor is that there are absolutely no rules. We sometimes think that certain pieces dare not share the same space, but on the contrary, what we love and what we cherish can be combined to create the most amazing interior design. Conversations are started by what tickles us and causes an emotional reaction. This is how I define Modernique.’

Credit Modernique: Inspiring Interiors Mixing Vintage and Modern Style by Julia Buckingham (Abrams, £27.99)

You’re a big fan of colour and pattern, do you have any clever ways we can use bright colours or patterns to brighten up our home? 


‘I suggest colour every day and every way! The most interesting element in mixing colour is to pair the most unexpected combinations. Grounding your look with neutrals (grey, black or white), then toss in fuschia, citrine, teal and orange for the pop! In terms of patterns, layer rustic with lacquer and gold with silver leaf. Again, unexpected is best.’

Where do you go in the UK to find unique one-off pieces?

‘I adore shopping on Portobello Road! Many of my vintage and antique finds were stored in my luggage after visiting my family in the UK.’

Where’s your favourite room in the world?

‘My favourite room in the world is the hall of mirrors at Versailles.’

What would we find on your vintage lust list?

‘Lacquer, parchment, ‘shag’ and chrome are high on my vintage lust list.’

Credit Modernique: Inspiring Interiors Mixing Vintage and Modern Style by Julia Buckingham (Abrams, £27.99)

Is there anyone you follow on Instagram for inspiration?

‘Ken Downing (who wrote the foreword for my book) is a constant source of my Instagram stalking for inspiration and a jolt of energy.’

What current interiors trends are you loving?

‘I’m loving the mixture of styles, eras and textures that are everywhere now in interiors. We’ve come a long way, baby!’

Do you have a dream house (other than your own) that you’d love to live in?

‘My dream home is a little place called Buckingham Palace!’

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