Famed Interior Designer Sasha Bikoff Gives Her Advice for Reinvigorating Old Furniture


Interior designer Sasha Bikoff, based in New York, reminds us that good style is imaginative and doesn’t always fit a mold.  This mindset informs all of her creative endeavors, as well as her tips for bringing new life to your older furnishings.  Bikoff, in fact, has made a name for herself renovating mid-twentieth century French and Italian furniture in novel ways.  Her method has been to incorporate sumptuous left-over materials from Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana and various other high-end fashion brands into these antiques.  In search of her particular expertise, Architectural Digest found the designer at her newly-opened Tribeca antiques showroom.  Bikoff, during our discussion, detailed three relatively easy ways you can rejuvenate tired old furniture.

The easiest way to do this is to simply mix and match pieces from different periods, in creative, unexpected ways.  Like Dorothy Draper, the woman who founded the United States’ first interior design company in 1923 and created the extravagant Hollywood Regency style, Bikoff believes that classical furniture can be accentuated by the presence of more modern furnishings and the mixing of radically different styles.  In her words, “The magic is in the mingling…It’s like a conversation between some unique personalities.”  In mixing items, like some of Draper’s Hollywood Regency end tables with a loveseat from the 1700s, you could really make your room burst with new life.

Area rugs often occupy much of a room and contribute greatly to its overall brightness, color and style.  Bikoff suggests you should recolor rugs in dazzling hues to reinvigorate older furniture and rooms.  She particularly likes oriental rugs, which  can be overdyed in vibrant sky-blue, olive-green, yellow-orange or a myriad of other lively colors.  Tie-dyeing methods may also be used to create similar results.  You can match your color-enhanced rugs to individual pieces of furniture and draw attention to them.

A final way you can bring new life to old furniture is by refurbishing it with nonconventional materials and styles.  Bikoff asserts that you should add personality to your dated furniture and says reupholstering it is a good method of doing this.  Use unconventional materials and styles that reflect your unique personality and/or ones that complement your furniture’s design.  Noting how such interior design should be a personal thing, Bikoff said, “If purple is your favorite color, you should have a purple piece in your house.”

Bikoff, heavily influenced by Dorothy Draper, emphasizes an anti-minimalist style that incorporates bold colors and the partnering of items from distinctly different periods and styles.  Her suggestions for bringing new life to old furnishings range from simple eclectic pairings of furniture to methods requiring some professional assistance.  Considering all of this, the main takeaway from her advice is to be imaginative and do the unexpected.  There is no set, one way we have to order things.  Old, classic styles can mingle in a room with new, modern styles and the interaction will likely be stylistically pleasing.

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