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How to Create Old Money Interior Design: Feel, Look & Live Like Rich
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How to Create Old Money Interior Design: Feel, Look & Live Like Rich

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“Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, beautiful, useful, and lasting,” said American designer Sister Parish, the first practitioner to decorate the Kennedy White House. 

To us, this innovative solution from the past is old-money interior design. It’s a hot topic for designers and homeowners who want to feel and look rich. The world of “Old Money Decor” is all about infusing your home with a classic, refined charm that never goes out of style. Let’s look at the materials, the color schemes, and the decorating ideas you need to blend traditional design with modern decor.

What is ‘Old Money’ Interior Design?

According to the commonly agreed definition, ‘Old Money’ typically refers to inherited wealth within a family that has been passed down through generations. This definition indicates that the elements of old-money home decor often come inherited from previous generations.

The concept of this unique interior style is a nod to the days when wealth was passed down through generations. Long story short, walking in an old-money house makes you feel like a lucky, timeless aristocrat. The mansion’s walls echo with the whispers of family secrets and judgmental stares from the family portraits hanging on the walls.

Image source: arpa sarian

Where Did the ‘Old Money’ Aesthetic Come From? 

Old money style is a curated collection of treasures that have stood the test of time, with each piece being part of the family history. It’s a design approach that draws inspiration from past eras’ elements like rich materials of leather, velvet, silk, hardwood, pompous curtains, grandeur chandeliers, antiques, family heirlooms, paintings, and portraits. 

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This timeless style emerged in the late 19th century when there was an economic boom and, consequently, a shift in home interior fashion. Influenced by European aristocratic traditions, this aesthetic prioritized quality craftsmanship, rich materials, and timeless elegance. Over the years, it has evolved, adapting to new design trends

In modern days celebrities embrace this wealthy-looking style. Kourtney Kardashian absolutely adores old-money decor. Her new mansion, designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard (one of the top interior designers for celebrities), is an example of old-money decor. In this house, you can spot family heirlooms from Kourtney’s father, modern furniture, and distinctive decor pieces. 

Image source: kourtneykardash

Old Money vs. New Money Decor: What Sets Them Apart?

A mutual thing between ‘old’ and ‘new money’ is both being home designs that display wealth, prestige, and social status. In new money decor, homeowners put their own success mark on the house. What we mean is that new money means self-made wealth. In old-money home decor, wealth is inherited by close family. Let’s highlight the main differences: 

Meaning:

Old Money: Inherited goods from the family in the past. 

New Money: Recent and self-made wealth. 

Decor Vibes: 

Old Money: Quiet luxury, emphasizing the legacy with antique items.

New Money: Shiny decor with expensive brand labels.

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Image source: ashstaging

Homeowners:

Old Money: “the born rich” — celebrities’ kids or other heirs and beneficiaries.

New Money: “the new rich” — investors and other self-made people.

Furniture Pieces:

Old Money: Only inherited pieces with special emotional value.

New Money: Adapts trendy elements from popular brands.

Materials:

Old Money: Values high-quality materials (quality over quantity).

New Money: May choose quantity over quality (neglects craftsmanship).

Style:

Old Money: Subtle style of an understated luxury. 

New Money: Bold style with extravagant collections of fortune.

Flexibility:

Old Money: Allows only specific modern items that match retro vibes.

New Money: Open to add lots of popular items and design trends.

Color Palette & Textures:

Old Money: Leans towards timeless colors and rich, textured fabrics.

New Money: Open to a broad range of vibrant colors and textures.

Image credits: source daffodilhillhome, source reestockcenter

Key Characteristics of Old Money Aesthetic

Old money style is all about the family’s history told in rich fabrics and luxurious decor. Every item must tell a memory, weaving together a family history and legacy record. Here are some things to consider if you want to achieve that old money aesthetic:

1. Diverse fabrics, textures, and shades.

2. Decked corners, nooks, and staircase spaces (stringers).

3. A cohesive color scheme for every room.

4. Balanced texture, just like the colors and patterns.

5. Final result that is stylish, practical, and timeless.

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6. Items with an emotional connection or personal significance.

7. Family collections, antique items, and framed oil paintings for nostalgia.

8. Addition of new modern items that hold an emotional value.

Colors in Old Money Home Decor 

Colors define interior design more than we actually think. Old money home decor is a language of refinement and sophistication. These color combinations are the ones that blend centuries of classicism with modern trends.

  • Classic black and white
  • Burgundy and bluish shades
  • Navy and blue shades in historic tones
  • Warm neutrals like beige, cream, and white
  • Deep green tones, mossy or seaweed green shades

Typical Elements That Create Old Money Decor

Old money doesn’t just decorate the house. It defines a lifestyle and shows a family’s history. Here’s a list of the typical elements you need to add to your to-do list for a total house makeover according to old-money style:

Classic Artwork: Framed oil paintings and sculptures.

Crown Molding: Detailed molding along ceilings and walls.

Family Heirlooms: Passed-down items with sentimental value.

Various Retro-style Patterns: Florals, stripes, tartan, and plaids.

Grand Mirrors: Enhance the look of a luxurious hall or living room.

Vintage Books and MapsOld money also connects to local culture. 

Wood Paneling: Detailed, polished woodwork for a touch of warmth.

Oriental Rugs: Elaborate, hand-woven carpets with complex patterns.

Wingback Chairs: Classic, upholstered seating for a touch of elegance.

High-Quality Materials: Marble, natural brass, mahogany, walnut, and ebony.

Lighting System: Statement lighting fixtures, wall sconces, or crystal chandeliers.

Rich Fabrics: Textiles like silk, velvet, brocade, damask, curtain, or leather upholstery.

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Delicate Items: Dinnerwarecrystal decanters, collectible ceramics, chinoiserie vases.

Old Furniture: wooden cabinetry, velvet, chesterfield sofaantique boxes, or footstool.

Image source: Yakira Eppel

Why are Millennials Embracing Old Money Interior Design?

1. Timeless and Budget-Friendly Style

Millennials often seek stability and a break from fast-paced trends. Hence, they opt for a stylish and expensive-looking house without having to constantly worry about changing it every year.

2. Unique & Meaningful Space 

Unlike mass-produced items and expensive labeled brands, old-money decor creates a meaningful overall aesthetic with mid-century modern furniture and inherited accessories. Millennials appreciate surrounding themselves with pieces that reflect their memories. 

3. Authentic & Nostalgic Rooms

Old-money living spaces allow millennials to maintain their family values. It links to the past through antique furniture, family heirlooms, or vintage art. New generations love feeling cool. And in modern days, having a historical background is cool.

4. Maximum Use of Interior Space

Old money design is the opposite of minimalism. Since millennials can fully decorate spaces in old money decor, they fulfill their much-wanted need for coziness and comfort.

Image source: louisebradleyinteriors

15 Inspiring Ideas to Decorate With Old Money Decor

These 15 inspiring old-money decor ideas adapt the classic charm of bygone eras in vibrant city apartments and modern days. Whether you’re a seasoned fan of old-money style or just starting to explore classic design with a sense of history, you’re surely going to love these ideas. 

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1. Mix Different Materials and Eras in One Room

You can easily mix different materials and eras without overthinking details in an old money space. Both vintage accents and modern ornaments fit perfectly. For example, you can pair a sleek, contemporary sofa with an antique coffee table made of dark mahogany woodwork. Add depth by layering different textures like velvet curtains with a woven rug.

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Image source: louisebradleyinteriors

2. Break the Monochromatic Look With Golden Details

A monochromatic color scheme in cream, beige, or ivory shades always creates an elegant and cohesive look. Keep the space balanced with matching furniture and walls. Then, add pops of golden ornaments, light fixtures, chandeliers, or other vintage ornaments throughout the room. These sparkling details will infuse the space with a touch of luxury and add a sense of old-world charm.

Image source: Matt Briney

3. Get Creative With Your Old-Money Wall Arts

Your walls make up 1/3 of the entire decor. Hence, transform your walls into stunning focal points with a touch of nostalgia. Add elegant crown moldings, wood, and classic paneling. Choose traditional wall colors like soft neutrals or rich, deep tones to enhance the monarchial atmosphere. Create a stunning gallery wall by mixing vintage frames with various finishes, such as gold, silver, or distressed wood. Hang a combination of antique photographs, vintage maps, and ornate mirrors to achieve a diverse yet cohesive look.

Image source: kristiesheltonstudios

4. Hang Artworks All Over the House

Go for artworks that showcase old money or historical elements to tie the design together. This could include paintings, prints, small sculptures, or family heirlooms. Showcase wealth and social status by hanging old portraits, landscape paintings, or reproductions of  classic paintings.

Image source: hollyholdendesign

5. Benefit From the Power of Vintage Furniture

Make a style statement with vintage furniture pieces made of hardwood, featuring detailed carvings and rich fabrics like silk or velvet. Vintage furnishing reflects the old-money style’s core values: craftsmanship and history.

Image source: theproperpeacock

6. Add Stained Glass Windows For a Bold Design

Motifs are old money’s last name. They can be on rugs, walls, and even windows. Stained glass windows create a captivating and luxurious atmosphere in every space. These beautiful works of art can be installed in various areas of your home, such as grand entrances, living rooms, or even transom windows above doorways.

Image source: stainedglasswindows

7. Install Antique Lighting Fixtures

Lighting fixtures like chandeliers, sconces, or pendant lights will bring a sense of history to your space. Consider adding a crystal chandelier, a table lamp with a brass base, and wall sconces for a nostalgic ambiance.

Image source: Francisco De Legarreta C.

8. Blend Textures Together

Adding different textures is a smart move in decor terms and budget. For example, place plush velvet curtains with a woven rug and a metallic side table next to a wood bookshelf. Mixing textures will add depth and make the space look more antique.

Image source: reisetopia

9. Find the Key With Luxurious Accents

You’re already being extra with old-money designs. Be even more daring with wall accents or, even better, marble elements like countertops, tabletops, or decorative objects. Try to add crystal chandeliers, glassware, huge mirrors, and aged brass accents in door handles for a luxury touch. 

Image source: Clay Banks

10. Opt for Carved Woodwork Timeless Pieces

Infuse your space with an air of craftsmanship and history by including wood carvings in your furnishing. Opt for pieces such as carved wooden chairs, tables, and headboards, or consider adding decorative accents like carved wood panels or molding. These elegant details will add a touch of sophistication and a sense of old-world charm to your interior. 

Image source: hollyholdendesign

11. Arrange a Special Old-Money Corner

If you love old-money decor but can’t afford its “quality over quantity” motto, you can create just one cozy and charming spot in the house. Transform one corner of your apartment by adding a cozy reading chair that exudes old-world charm and coziness. Start by selecting a comfortable armchair or chaise lounge inviting you to read your favorite books. A reading nook with a collection of classic books, comfortable seating, and soft lighting is always a smart choice. Complete the cozy spot with plush cushions, a luxurious throw blanket, and a small side table for your tea or coffee. 

Image source: cathykincaidinteriors

12. Don’t Neglect the Ceiling

The Don’t Look Up movie can be applied in the majority of interior designs, but not in old money. The ceiling is an important part of the overall look in the old money interior design. Consider adding ornate ceiling moldings, elaborate lights, or even a sky or heaven-themed stick & peel ceiling mural. Coffered ceilings are also sought-after in this type of decor for a sense of grandeur. 

Image source: João Gustavo Rezende

13. Choose Rich Fabrics

Old money decor is all about rich fabrics with classic patterns like damask, brocade, or toile. Add floral patterns in upholstery and accents to bring a touch of nature and classic refinement to your apartment. 

Image source: Laura Cleffmann

14. Play With Removable Wallpapers

Choose an attractive removable wallpaper featuring motifs like old coins, wildlife, or a fabric imitation. Use it to create an accent wall, making it a focal point in the room. Balance the vintage wallpaper with modern furniture and accessories to create a cohesive blend of old and new.

Image source: Max Rahubovskiy

15. Make Antique Collectibles Visible

Display curated collections of classic books, porcelain, or other cherished items for a personal touch of history and heritage to your place. Display vintage collections alongside contemporary decorations, or incorporate a modern clock on a mantle adorned with antique chinoiserie vases.

Image source: housepitalitydesigns

These timeless decor ideas add a sense of refined taste to bustling city apartments. So, share this article with your millennial friends and let them in on the secret to infusing a touch of old-world grandeur into their spaces. 

 

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