Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Antiques & Vintage Decorating Tips & Ideas

Antiques and vintage home décor is where it’s at nowadays. This style is also known as shabby chic home décor which is a combination of old and new in home decorating where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of age and signs of wear and tear.

This type of home décor is ideal especially if you are on a budget or just want something unique and different—because that is what antiques and vintage home décor is all about. This style is great since you will end up with real items and not the same stuff from your friends’ or family’s home that they got from Pottery Barn for example.

A careful eye at flea markets and antique fairs will give you some great finds that instantly become interesting decorating opportunities when you put your imagination to work. Collectibles, architectural salvage and repurposed antiques make a one-of-a-kind statement that simply cannot be had from the mass produced vintage “style” items from specialty stores.

To begin your creativity, start by asking yourself a few questions about your newly found treasure: Will this fit in my home and where? Can I use it as a piece of art? Do I really like it?

Here are some of my ideas and tips on how I used some of the treasures we found.

Coffee Table as center point Do you know where to begin?
Antique & vintage decorating is fun and different but you can easily go overboard and create clutter—as we learned. One way to avoid unnecessary clutter is to first buy one item operating as a focal piece—for example, a coffee table. This focal point will help create design boundaries and you can use this center to complete the rest of your pieces.

Have a look at our coffee table. It’s made of reclaimed and distressed wood. I’ve accented it with a few little things and I used vintage luggage around the living room to complete the look. The vintage luggage is “functional art,” which means it looks very nice but we also use it to set lamps, pictures and other items on top. Also, it is an empty space we can use to store seasonal clothes like sweaters in the summer time to free space in our closets.

Are you mixing things up?
Real wood is a perfect way to mix and match home furnishings. Check for tones that may compliment what you already have instead of replacing it altogether. Vintage and antique looking furniture especially Victorian designs may look like you are stuck in the 30’s if you go overboard.

However, if you mix it up with vintage and/or antique wares, modern, and shapes, then you have a shabby chic home décor. After all, mixing unexpected elements, colors, and textures brings true character. So, if you spot something quirky but not sure how you would use it, just pick it up! If it’s less than $20, it’s worth the purchase. You can find what you can do with it once you get home.

Take a look at what we did in our dining room (left). We have a dark stained wood finish buffet table and we leaned a reclaimed wood mirror as the center piece and accented it with books and antique oil lamps. We completed the look with a wooden vase and curly willows on the left and orchid on the right—a perfect blend of old and new.

Repurpose instead
One of the goals of decorating with vintage and/or antique wares is to own quality constructed pieces to create a unique, one-of-a-kind look. If you have an old dresser you no longer want or need, try repurposing it as an armoire or storage in the living room or kitchen—instead of getting rid of it altogether. Use old window shutters as a piece of art or re-paint an old drawer and use it as a tray to dress up a modern table with a vintage look.

Vintage luggage - is great looking, unique, and sturdy. They have many uses and bring a warm vintage charm in any room. Pictured are some ideas on how you can use vintage luggage in your home.
Antique Mason Ball Jars - How about these great looking antique ball jars? Use it as a vase, storage for spices, or all things clattery such as buttons, marbles, etc. Another way is to use it as a candle holder (left). We have a great selection of Antique Mason Ball Jars to start your project today!
Repurposed photo frame – If you have an old photo frame you no longer need, turn it into something useful like a spice rack. See picture on the left.
Vintage Shutters – Turn it into an art. Hang it on a wall (see picture on the left, courtesty of Vintage Dream) and hang a candle holder on each side instead of a framed art. Check out this mosaic wall candle we have by Bombay & Co. A perfect blend of old and new.

Repurposed drawer – below is a repurposed drawer we used as a tray to dress up our modern hallway table.

Bring your creativity to life
You can go far on your creativity with antiques and vintage décor. You can repaint old shutter windows, old dressers, to give it life and color. Just remember, select your colors and pieces wisely so that they can complement each other. It’s ok, you don’t have to be a painter or an interior decorator to do this. All you need to know is that your creativity and willingness to learn, and make mistakes, and do it over again can get you a long way. Make it a fun project so you have something to look forward to everyday.

Buy only what you love and what you can afford.
Since you have to live in your home, it should be pleasing to your eye. If you walk in to your home and all you see is clutter and feel regret no matter how much you re-decorate or move things around, then you don’t love your décor and probably spent too much on re-decorating. You need to feel comfortable in your own home with no regrets especially when you pass by that amazing art on your wall.
So, if you’re like me, someone who is a pack rat and finds it hard to let go of anything, then you may have a lot of seemingly unnecessary things in your home that either a) needs to be donated or b) needs to be repurposed and brought back.

Go through your old things and see what you can use. You’ll be surprised that the best pieces you already have are the one’s you’ve been keeping for years. Not “technically” your latest find, but it is your latest find… You don’t need to purchase new things if you don’t have to. While vintage is not necessarily “new”, you’ll be bringing “new” to you with your latest finds from your own collection.

I hope you find my tips and ideas helpful in helping you incorporate vintage and/or antique wares into your home space without having to spend a fortune. Bring out that home decorator in you and start decking your house with that shabby chic antique and vintage home décor!


  1. This type of home decor is ideal specially if you are on a budget or just want something unique and different. These decorating ideas are looking stylish and give a modern look to your home. Thanks!
    Antique Prints

  2. Absolutely! It is not heavy on your wallet and you get to decorate with unique and different things that nobody else will have in their home.