When times are hard, rose-tinted memories of yesteryear can offer comfort. For those in middle age, the iconic mid-century furniture and home accessories that they grew up with – think Homemaker crockery, sleek Ercol pieces and soft furnishings in a naturalistic print – can help recall a time when their lives were simpler. And to those too young to remember such interior aesthetics the first time round, the stylish advertising of the day – brought back to life by shows such as Mad Men – paints them as defining a time full of promise and glamour.
Tightening our belts has also meant going out less and entertaining at home more, which has brought out the domestic goddess in many of us. Items we once considered to be archaic, such as cake stands, hostess trolleys and full tea sets have become central to our hostess-with-the-mostess shtick.
Of course buying second hand, from charity shops, car boot sales and flea markets, is also much cheaper than furnishing your home with brand new tables, chairs and cushions – another reason why our interiors have become full of items that wouldn’t look out of place in our parents or grandparents’ homes.
Fashion constantly refers to the past for inspiration, and it could be argued that our recent love of postmodern pastiche – mixing elements of the past to create ‘new’ styles and ideas – strengthens sociologists’ ‘end of history’ theories.
While the widely held definition of vintage is anything from over twenty years previous, half a century offers sufficient time for themes to be properly processed in terms of historical and social importance, to go out of fashion and reappear again as something fresh to a new generation.
Having been designed from modernist principles of utility and futurist ideals, the mid-century styles proving so popular at the minute are also imbued with an intrinsic sense of longevity.
The globalisation of brands and proliferation of the same names on the high street has lead some of us to seek out original and unique pieces with which to create our own personal sense of style. Just as fashion fans search out that special vintage piece that will make them to envy of their friends, mixing one-off finds with handmade pieces and family heirlooms can help make your house a home, rather than looking like a showroom.
Second-hand items also come with a sense of history and meaning that it’s difficult to buy new. Although, having said that, there are some pretty fabulous revival collections and reimagined vintage pieces on the high street. After all, if you can’t beat ‘em…
This is a sponsored post, I received John Lewis products in payment.