All photos from Mi Casa magazine, Spain
Each of these rooms is characterized by lots of white which is warmed up by an antique wood dresser, or a trunk used as an end table, or a classic sofa table and old paintings.
This approach allows you to buy a few good pieces which will stand out against the clean white back drop of less expensive pieces from some place like IKEA.
This lovely Chinese painted pigskin trunk mounted on a stand was sold at a Bonhams auction earlier this year for $195. It would make a wonderful end table at 22" tall and 14" wide. The decoration is particularly interesting compared to most you will find.
A good antique chest with a rich wood patina adds tremendous warmth to a modern interior. This is a lovely example being offered at the Christie's Interiors sale in NY. This is described as an early 18th century Queen Anne walnut chest (35¼in. high, 37¼in. wide, 20½in. deep), and has an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500.
A beautiful table like this can serve as a console or a table behind a white upholstered sofa. This is a Victorian burl elm and mahogany breakfast table. It has beautifully carved legs, and a warm wood color. It went unsold at the last New Orleans auction which usually means that there was a minimum. It had an estimate of $3,000 - $5,000. When investing in a piece like this I would look for the carving that sets it apart from others.
Adding a classic mirror always adds character. This graceful early 19th century Federal carved and gilt wood mirror is being offered in the next Brunk auction. It has an auction estimate of $800 - $1,200. I've really fallen in love with this style. It's both reserved and elegant. It's the perfect size for an entryway or small space.
If your idea of modern is white and clean, the addition of a classic antique will create warmth and a welcoming feeling.