Making Mementos Modern: Ways to Incorporate Antiques & Heirlooms into Your Decor


These antique Franciscan dishes blend beautifully with a modern green soup bowl, an heirloom etched glass coffee cup and a new bamboo placemat. The colored glass sauce dish placed at the side of the plates add a more modern flair. The old soup tureen can hold a variety of side dishes.

writing and photography by Angela Kuncaitis

History can evoke warmth, mystery and strength. Do you have some of your grandmother’s antiques or heirlooms stored away in a closet, and unsure what to do with them?

With March being Women’s History month, now could be a great time to bring your family heirlooms into your home décor. No worries of creating a museum or shrine-like feel; here are four easy ways to bring these items into your home on a subtle level for a striking mesh of antique and mod.


You inherited a retro bookcase from Aunt June, but you have a built-in library in your home already. No problem! The current trend is about being resourceful and repurposing. What about taking the bookcase into the kitchen and using it as an area to store spices, pantry items, and cookbooks?


Do you have a ton of old photos of your great-grandmother’s family? Take the frames and paint them in different bold and quirky colors that match your taste. If you are unsure of the old frames, have them matted with new frames locally to up-cycle the pictures with new and improved look. In addition, you can scan any old photos, boost the resolution, and print them on a classy canvas in black in white for a timeless yet classy addition.


Make pillows, curtains or an apron for your kitchen out of heirloom fabrics. Use the handed down jewelry for tiebacks on the curtains or center a broach on your apron to make it more whimsy.

Vintage textiles can be used in a variety of ways. This handed down table cloth works great for a room divider while the antique necklace acts as a curtain tie-back. A recovered chair in a more up-to-date fabric pairs nicely with a few fabrics sewn into a pillow. Photos of honored family members placed in the background of the dining room in a newer frame adds a touch of history.


One of the easiest ways to bring your family heirlooms into your home is at mealtime. If some of the dishes seem too ornate for your liking, mix them up with some of your trendy dishware to personalize your table. When serving your family ethnic foods, incorporate a few of the same dishes grandma used when you visited her during the holidays.

By using these inherited pieces, they will also make great conversation starters. When you have dinner parties or guests over, you can share a bit of your family history with friends and family. Displaying these memories of the women in your past allows you to feel connected to family in your own unique way.


Angela Kuncaitis is an interior designer, decorator, grammy, wife and mother. Her passion is creating, her family and faith mixed with a lot of coffee.


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