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Add a little vintage to your home office
By Nancy Baughman
It is important to have a home office that is efficient and organized but you do not have to sacrifice beauty to get a workable office at home. I want my home office to be stylish, fun and comfortable especially since I spend at least nine to ten hours there everyday. Using antique or vintage accessories is an easy and inexpensive way to bring your personal style into your home office. This can be a fun process and remember that you do not have to spend a fortune to make your office look fabulous. You can hunt down bargains at local flea markets, antique stores and online auction sites such as eBay and Yahoo. Using the online sites to comparison shop is always a good thing to do before you go out to the stores but keep in mind that any item purchased online will have a shipping charge.
Lighting is a great way to add an antique or vintage touch to your home office. One of the quickest and easiest ways to add some drama and style to an office is with a desk light. Desk lights styles can range from the industrial Art Deco look to the elegant Tiffany stain glass lamps. Real Tiffany lamps are extremely expensive and difficult to find but there are many lovely modern reproductions of that style that are inexpensive and readily available today. Also, depending on the style and size of your home office; you could add a floor lamp or torchiere. These lamps can add a needed light source as well as character to a room. Some of the older floor lamps can be quite elegant with marble bases and satin glass shades. The floor lamps from the Eames / Danish Modern era can range from the sleek streamline look to the fun and funky style. Many have three or more lights and the shades are unique in size and shape. Chrome, brushed aluminum and plastics were all used during this period to make great modern lighting.
A note of caution must be added at this point. Sometimes old lighting needs to be have the wiring check and reworked before it is safe to use the lamp. Rewiring a lamp is very inexpensive so if you find a piece you really like go ahead and purchase it.
Pottery is a great way to bring color into a room and it can be used alone or as a vassal for plants and flowers. Vintage pottery makers such as McCoy, Shawnee and Haegar made wonderful pieces in all colors and styles. These pottery pieces can be found at bargain prices online, at fleamarkets and antique stores. If budget is not a concern, you can go for more expensive makers such as Roseville, Weller or Moorcroft. There are figural pieces with images of animals and people. There are lovely floral motifs with incredible detail and delicacy and architectural styles with dramatic shapes. Once you have your great pottery piece why not showcase that special piece on top of a pedestal? A pedestal will add height and an architectural feature to a room. You can choose to go vintage with nice wood or pottery pedestal or purchase a modern pedestal made of resin. If you have several pieces that you would like to showcase; you may want to consider shelving or a curio cabinet. A cabinet with a glass front on the top and doors on the bottom could serve dual purposes. You could display your pottery pieces on the top half of the piece and store paperwork and office supplies on the bottom behind the closed doors.
Art is another wonderful way to add personal flair to your home office. Prints are nice but can never compare to real oil or watercolor paintings. There was a time when trying to purchase an original painting was out of reach for most people but no longer. I see great original artwork at very reasonable or even cheap prices online, at local fleamarkets and yard sales. Be careful when purchasing art online. There are a lot of artists with limited talent selling modern reproductions of the works of the masters. While it would be great to own an oil painting that is a Rembrandt or Monet reproduction; they usually lack soul and are horrible in quality. It is much better to purchase an unknown artist with great talent than a poor imitation of a great painting.
My final tip would be to add personal pictures to your space. Add character and distinction to the photos by putting them in vintage frames. The older wood frames can be plain or they can have very detail carvings of flowers, leaves and even people and animals. Old sterling silver frames have lovely patina to the silver that comes from years of polishing. These old sterling frames can be very expensive and they are easily dented so make sure to check for damage before you purchase. You can choose different size frames to compliment your office d?cor but keep to one finish on the frames. For example do not mix plain wood frames with ornate gold metal frames. The frames should be different versions of the same look. I have photos of my husband and daughter placed in key areas around my office. I like to have a reminder in my office of why I am working so hard and why I need to stop working sometimes.