Design experts often recommend a clever mix of the present and the past in your home décor.

There’s great reward in layering contemporary items with something old and an 80/20 rule is a good guide on how to do this. Keep your space on trend by making roughly 80% of your items modern then make the rest vintage or retro. This creates a balance and helps highlight those special pieces, especially if you can stick to a colour palette for the room.

Estelle Nagel of Gumtree SA says that dining room tables, chairs and cabinets are the primary second-hand items available online for the style-conscious: “Solid wood furniture is an excellent example because it’s very affordable second-hand and comes with lots of character”.

You can also make creative use of smaller decorative items like vases, side tables, lamps and light fittings which are all readily available second-hand. For the more adventurous, an antique record player, an old neon light or a rocking chair can make a big statement.

Buying décor second-hand is not only fashionable, it’s also a money-smart decision. Either at antique (or collectable) shops or online at Gumtree, you can find stylish gems at very good value, especially if you’re prepared to spend some time and money on giving them a facelift.

New upholstery can transform an old chair or an ottoman and makes the piece seem current and vintage at the same time. It also means you can match the item with your room’s colour scheme.

For wood, sanding down and then re-painting with a lacquer, a sealant or a stain will achieve the same revitalising effect.

For silver and brass items, never under-estimate the effect of elbow grease. A good hard rub with a proper cleaning solvent can often bring about a miracle.

You also shouldn’t be shy about painting old items. If an item has “great bones” – which means you like the shape or the functionality – but feel the colour is out of place, then simply splash on a new hue that pleases your eye.

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