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I love decorating, especially with antiques and vintage pieces. I inherited this trait from my mom, who I can remember hunting for bargains, and stripping and staining furniture when I was a little girl. I grew to love antique furniture and anything vintage, and I’ve decorated most of my home with an eclectic array of vintage finds.
One of the best parts of decorating with vintage flair is you can find amazingly cheap pieces of furniture that can be repurposed into something beautiful. Also, many of the pieces are extremely unique and knowing no one else will have the exact same piece adds to the charm.
The true passion of “antiquing” though comes from the thrill of the hunt…there is nothing more exhilarating than literally stumbling upon (either online or in person) an amazing jewel that you weren’t expecting to find! My poor husband has come to terms with the fact that I will always be bringing home (or ordering) “my latest find”, which usually means shuffling around, or moving out something else. (I remind him that he’s lucky I’m not spending thousands in Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel)!
So, if your interested in jumping into the wonderful world of vintage, here’s my Top Ten Tips for Decorating with Vintage Flair (as well as a few of my favorite finds), I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Find an antique “urn style” ice bucket to hold kitchen utensils. I bought some inexpensive stainless utensils to put inside my antiqued piece (above image) and now, instead of looking like clutter, it looks like it belongs on my counter. I also prefer the grungier looking ones instead of the shined up ones!
2. Fill glass jars with baking supplies. I found some vintage Anchor Hocking Glass Jars to fill with my baking ingredients like flour, sugar, brown sugar etc. They are extremely convenient and they look so great on display! Their prominent position on kitchen counters makes this an easy and affordable way to make statement – people notice their charm as soon as they enter the room.
3. Find an antique pie cupboard to use as your pantry, in the kitchen, the dining room (or where ever it fits). I’ve found everyone tends to want to hide their pantry contents behind closed doors. However, when I found this amazing pie cupboard (at right), I couldn’t help but want to show it all!
Yes, it means having to keep the inside somewhat neat, but I’ve found it still looks great even when everything isn’t perfectly arranged! This is a nice “lived in” snap of my pie cupboard pantry; the somewhat jumbled contents gives it a nice cozy feel (well, that’s what I tell myself!)
4. Use antique china plates and serving platters to entertain. They don’t have to match and they look simply divine when they are all used together!
5. Use salvage yard or vintage corbels to add some architecture to a counter or island. We recently updated our kitchen and added some vintage amazing corbels, which we painted white, to give our counter a little more flair!
6. Combine different pieces to create a formal but still very usable dining set. This farm table (above) is made with vintage pine floorboards. I found a number of mismatched antique chairs, purchased in pairs, to surround this great piece. Bonus: switching around the hodge-podge of chairs mean I never get bored with the look of the room!
7. Make your own mantle/fireplace. At home, we’ve built a fireplace surround and mantle created with old salvaged pieces and a pair of vintage corbels (they match the ones under our kitchen counter).
8. Buy vintage subway art to decorate the walls. I found these dark blue signs (above) at the “Country Living Fair” in Ohio last summer. They are actual subway canvas pieces from Baltimore subway stations in the 1920s! These aren’t always cheap, but I have seen screen printers on Etsy who can replicate these as paper prints.
9. Use unconventional items as storage and for decorating. I found a darling little “pickle dish” that I use to put soaps in on the bathroom counter. I also found a sweet, black, vintage typewriter that sits on top of an old vanity/desk in our family room.
10. Finally, find pieces you love and use them in whatever room you want! I have a 1940’s dining room buffet (painted black and distressed) that we use as our media center for our flatscreen and DVD storage. Antique vanities can become desks, old trunks can be used as coffee tables, etc. The possibilities are endless and there’s no right or wrong!
I hope some of these ideas give you some vintage inspiration for your home. we heartsters – share your favorite vintage finds in the comments!
Erin is a secondary science teacher who adores makeup and fashion. She spends her free time pursuing her other passions which include cooking, antiquing, and decorating.
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