Inspiration: Decorating with Antiques

Cheffins Fine Art collaborate with Parsons Gray Design

Ahead of the Fine Art Sale on the 12th and 13th September, Cheffins embarked on a project with Cambridge-based interior designer, Nicola Sanders from Parsons Gray Design.


Key furniture from the Fine Art Sale, along with a selection of paintings from the Art & Design Sale on the 11th October, were used to create stunning images on how to decorate with antiques in contemporary-style homes.   


Here, Nicola tells us her tips and tricks. She says:   “I adore antique furniture, there’s nothing like it for bringing texture and depth to a room. Charming, stylish and beautifully made, you can forget the notion that ‘antique’ automatically means expensive; quite apart from the obvious eco benefits of buying fewer new, cheaply made pieces for your home. Antique pieces often cost the same or less as buying new.  


"I believe firmly that whether it’s a lovely old oil painting or an unusual chair, it’s perfectly possible to pair something old with something very new or contemporary so that each complements the other perfectly.”


Styling a leather armchair:   “There’s nothing more classic than a brown leather chair, and the Howard-type leather armchair (Cheffins Fine Art Sale 12th & 13th September) is a perfect example of how these beautiful old pieces lend weight to a space. Whether your preferred style is clean and contemporary or has more of a modern rustic bent, a slightly beaten up leather armchair will always feel cosy and classic.”


Using art on open shelving:   “Open shelves in a kitchen are a practical choice for items that you use every day, such as china and glassware, but they also serve as the perfect spot in which to display large-scale paintings that you might struggle to find a place for elsewhere. Landscapes or seascapes can provide the perfect decorative foil to these otherwise functional spaces.” 


Brightening up small spaces:   “Another ideal spot for larger paintings – perhaps ones with brighter colours – can be in walk-through spaces such as a short corridor. If you have an entrance hall or landing that looks a little bit drab, this could be just the thing to lift it.”  


On buying smaller decorative items:   “If you want to incorporate smaller pieces, it’s a good idea to gather two or three smaller antique treasures together to give them some context. For Cheffins, I arranged a Regency stained-tortoiseshell tea caddy with a small oil painting, “Newlyn High Water” by Ken Howard. Not only does this give each piece a sense of scale, but by leaning the picture rather than hanging it, the arrangement immediately feels less formal.”


Antique items to bring a simple space to life:   “One of my favourite ways to use antiques is to place a single, standout piece in a plain white space. Cheffins is selling an oak Orkney child’s chair with basketweave back which is such a beautiful shape that the craftsmanship rightly becomes the focus of the room.”  


And the key thing to remember? Be brave and buy what you love, because then you will always find a place for your auction treasure.”


Nicola is one of Cambridge’s leading interior designers and aims to bring simplicity, balance and authenticity to every project. She specialises in everything from straightforward revamps to full-scale renovations. Click here to see more about Nicola and Parsons Gray Design.


Keep an eye on Cheffins Instagram page @cheffinsfineart for more images from the project. 

Leather Armchair



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