Celebrate back to college with a classic-modern mix

by Neal Kielar, Tastemaker in Residence

Back to school for college age kids means a lot more than a fresh wardrobe and new school supplies. A lot of times it means fully outfitting an apartment - or at least partially decorating a dorm room. You can break the bank on a lot of brand new furniture (and dinnerware, glassware, kitchen gear, etc,) or get everything at Ikea and spend hours assembling 1,000 parts - per item. Or you can create a classic-modern mix by combining new and ready-to-assemble pieces with select vintage furniture.

Here are just a few of the advantages to mixing the old with the new:

  1. PERSONALITY PLUS: The space you're furnishing will have its own personality, with unique pieces others are unlikely to have. It's a great way to express individuality and to turn the space into the social hub of choice.
  2. QUALITY LASTS: Let's face it, kids - even older kids - are hard on furniture. Not all of them have top-notch housekeeping habits and maintaining furniture isn't their top priority. If you choose vintage pieces well you'll find furniture that is built strong and lasts longer. Even if the finish gets scuffed up a bit, the underlying piece could last for years.
  3. BUDGET WISE: Vintage furniture can be a comparative bargain to buying brand new, even a better value than the ready-to-build stuff. You'll need to shop around to find the best stuff and the best prices, but that can be a great adventure for parents and kids to go on together. Throw thrift shops into the mix for even better bargains, but know that the trade off is likely to be a bit of elbow grease to get that piece clean and ready to use.

Photos above:

Steel Desk: We combined a highly stylized, but still functional, new steel desk with a vintage Herman Miller fiberglass chair and retro metal wall art to create a great space that doubles as a study space and small dining set up.

Steel Desk Drum Chair: This smaller scale retro industrial desk is perfect for a laptop or tablet. We paired it with a leather-upholstered drummer's chair for a unique yet comfortable combination.

Blue Sofa: This 1970s style, commercial grade blue sofa and bench could hold up to an army of college kids.