Sustainable Interiors and Decorating with Antique Furniture

By choosing to purchase a piece of Antique Furniture, you are becoming part of it’s rich and varied history. A large proportion of  antique furniture for sale at Kernow Furniture was produced over a century ago, with some dating back to the 17th Century. It’s easy to forget just how many family homes a piece may have furnished and how many generations have enjoyed using it in day to day life.


Many households have a few key pieces of furniture that have been passed from generation to generation – whether it’s your Granny’s cherished Antique Dressing Table in the Bedroom or your Great Uncle’s vintage Chest of Drawers in the Dining Room, and there are a couple of reasons that this furniture has lasted so long. Antique furniture is thoughtfully and carefully built with good quality materials, which in turn increases its durability and subsequently it’s longevity. Generally speaking, these are pieces which won’t need to be replaced after a few years of use, they are likely to be passed down to the next generation to enjoy.  


Large Mahogany Breakfront Sideboard

Modern equivalents are often made with MDF and are not designed to last. ‘Fast furniture’ can be a false economy, with components breaking more easily due to its cheap construction. I think back to my first house and trying to move after a few years with a wardrobe and chest of drawers that was made with laminated chipboard. After several unsuccessful attempts to take it apart, I offered it to the next owners as it was never going to survive a bumpy journey in a removal van. With my next property, I opted for a more substantial Antique Chest of Drawers that has now moved twice with us and is still in fantastic condition. I almost certainly would have saved money in the long run if I had I simply invested in solid wood antique furniture, to begin with. Sadly, lots of furniture goes to landfill every year and contributes to pollution in quite a large way.  

According to a poll conducted by the Auction Technology Group in 2019, 45% of Britons that responded to the survey were unaware that buying a newly made piece of furniture produces a higher carbon footprint than buying second-hand furniture. Interestingly, it also showed that 82% of those surveyed thought they considered sustainability when making a purchase. It’s quite an amazing statistic when we think about how much more environmentally aware we are nowadays. Globally, we take steps to reduce microplastics in the oceans, to strip the plastics from our drinking straws and to combat the effects of climate change. We live in an age where we know who creates sustainable clothing and we can pick our electric and gas providers based on whether they provide renewable energy and if they offset gas emissions. But how many of us consider if our furniture purchases are eco friendly and sustainable? A brand new chest of drawers shipped from China can have a carbon footprint about sixteen times higher than the antique equivalent per year, a study from International Antiques and Collectors Fair has shown.   

17th Century Coffer
This beautiful Charles I Oak Chest dates from C1640 and is a perfect example of sustainable furniture and traditional craftsmanship.

Buying antique furniture can also be a financial investment. Many pieces of furniture will hold their value, and make it through peaks and troughs in interior design trends. Good quality antiques that have been well looked after may also gain value over time, adding to the appeal of adding them to your home design. And after all, why wouldn’t you want something that was made with love and attention built with quality components and survived centuries of use already?   



We are firm believers that you should surround yourself with things you love. Your home is your sanctuary and if something brings you joy, embrace it and make it work. Here at Kernow Furniture, we believe that a curated and personal collection is much more interesting and attractive than an off the shelf or catalogue look that can be bought by everyone. Social media has a huge part to play in what we are exposed to daily and influencers with millions of followers often showcase their homes and trends are almost instantly created. If you genuinely love something, if you fall in love with a certain interior style then jump on board and enjoy it. But don’t ever feel that your rooms should follow an interior design rule where everything matches. We are here to tell you that simply isn’t true! Embrace eclecticism, embrace mix and match, and most of all embrace your own taste! Your home should be a reflection of you and the things that you love. Whether it’s a dining room with Victorian dining table, vintage Ercol chairs and modern place settings, a mid-century sideboard with antique fireside chairs and a huge contemporary mirror, or just using some vintage pottery to hold your kitchen utensils.    

The sheer beauty of antique furniture is that it can be mixed and used alongside other styles of period furniture, modern furniture and contemporary décor. Take an antique Victorian mahogany chest of drawers for instance – whilst some may look at it as an old fashioned piece of brown furniture, it can be incorporated into many different interior styles. It would look equally at home in a rustic, boho style bedroom with layered Eastern rugs on the floor and mid-century artwork, as it would in a more formal bedroom with a traditional Edwardian bed frame and antique bedroom chairs. The colour on your walls or choice of wallpaper will also have a big impact on how your furniture feels within the room and the overall tone, so consider all of these things when considering a piece of furniture.  


Another fabulous thing to do with quality antique furniture is to repurpose them to continue their use. Throughout history, furniture was often designed to be practical and for one use and our life now is quite different. We’ve benefited from advancements in technology and items in our homes that a century ago we couldn’t have imagined would exist.     Here are just a few of our favourite ways to use antique furniture in your home

  • Use church pews or piano benches at the dining table or as kitchen benches, or if they are more ornate think about using them in a hallway.

  • Antique console tables or even sideboards can take centre stage in a bathroom or water closet when repurposed into a sink or vanity unit. With a sideboard, this would provide a really useful storage option in a small space.

  • Vintage cinema seats or antique theatre seating makes incredible hallway seating, and what a talking point when someone enters your home. Whether it’s the eye-catching red velvet or wooden seats you can guarantee it’ll be noticed.

  • Antique Whatnots were originally designed to be a kind of ‘catch-all’ shelving system where ornaments, books and papers could be stored, but they are also very practical for stereo systems or entertainment units.

  • Use vintage wooden ladders as shelving for decorative items or could even be used horizontally as a coat rack with a few coat hangers.

  • Antique Glazed Bookcase and secretaires are perfect for bathroom storage if you have the space. Neatly folded towels or rows of pretty bathroom accoutrements will stay dust-free and dry behind the glass. 

  • Antique writing bureaus are perfect for use with laptops and even better for hiding it all away from view. Working from home has come more prominent in the last year and keeping work and home life separate where you can has never been more important.

  • Vintage Rugs don’t have to stay on the floor. Explore using them as wall hangings to add colour and texture to otherwise dreary walls.

  • Oak coffers offer fabulous storage in many rooms as they always have done, but also work well as accent tables or rustic coffee tables. Don’t forget they are also perfect for clothes, shoes, and toy storage.

  • Little rustic stools can also be used as a small occasional table, if your flooring is uneven, try seeking out a small tripod stool.   There is no downside when using antiques to style your home. They are durable and practical, stylish and versatile, affordable and sustainable.

Antique Sofa


If you are looking for a particular piece of furniture or have found something you like on our website, please drop us an email or use the Contact Us page if you’d like to know more. Alternatively, if you have found something you love, you can shop with us online by adding the item to your basket. We love our customers and like to give them the first look when new things are added online, so don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. New subscribers are sent a discount code as a thank you, and we will never send unsolicited emails or sell your email address. You can use any discount code you are given at our online checkout when we’ll ask for your delivery details. If you’re ordering a small item or a smaller piece of furniture this is likely to be sent via a parcel courier. If you’re ordering a larger item, this will be collected by our large item couriers who will get in touch with you to arrange your delivery. Here at Kernow Furniture we are always happy to answer any questions or queries about items, just send us an email with your question.

July 21, 2021 — Benita Ellis-Kelly

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