Brand, spanking new furniture is nice, but there’s just something about vintage items that have a special appeal. Maybe it’s the unknown history, a touch of mystery, or even the sense of having been beloved by someone else that makes them special. Maybe that’s why some companies now specialize in making new pieces that look like they’ve been around a while!
Vintage pieces don’t need to be expensive antiques to add flair and interest to your home’s interior. In fact. some of the best ones can be found at flea markets, jumble sales or salvage yards. They can, however, require a little imagination — and maybe some elbow grease — to fit into your home’s decor.
You might also run across something that really appeals to you but you aren’t sure how to style it. Before you head out shopping, take a look at these different ways to can incorporate flea market finds into your decor.
Showcase a Vintage Suitcase
Modern travel has relegated old-fashioned suitcases to the attic — or the garbage heap — because who wants to run through an airport with a bag that doesn’t have wheels? This is a shame because old travel cases may have a greater air of mystery than any other vintage piece.
Where have these bags been and what adventures did their owners have in those exotic locations? This is just one reason they make super interesting decor pieces. They can be stacked as accessories or even be used to store small items that you don’t often need. Some of the old hard-sided models can be displayed open and transformed into a bar, tea cart, planter or other home accessory.
Highlight an Old Advertisement
We’ve all seen old framed advertisements used as artwork, but if you run across a piece of wood or another type of branded item, it can easily be turned into something like a decorative sign or tray.
Some people have also turned vintage signs into occasional tables, coffee tables or other small home items. This is one case when your imagination can dream up new and fresh ways to use these pieces, depending on their shape, size and condition.
Add Organic Elements
Vintage pieces are a great combination with plants or organic materials such as dried grasses, flowers and branches. Here, an old window frame is repurposed, but instead of being used with a mirror or artwork, it is paired with a spray of dried cotton stems.
Other examples of material you can use would be moss arrangements, textiles or wreaths. Find something that goes with your decor and pair it with a vintage piece for something really different.
Mix it Up with Something New
Too much vintage in one space can make it look like a resale shop, so you want to keep enough fresh, new elements in play to make it feel current. This distressed table and copper vessels are decidedly vintage, but the addition of the ottomans keeps the look lively.
Although the one in the middle has more of a vintage feel because of the carpetbag style covering, the two bright ones make it in vogue. Any element that clearly looks new, whether it’s the rug, sofa or a side chair, will help keep vintage overload in check.
Use Architectural Salvage
Architectural salvage has been a popular feature for home decor for a long time and with good reason: Some of the details of the old pieces are no longer to be found and a well-worn, well-turned piece from the past has undeniable charm.
Adding an architectural element to your decor, large or small, will add a great deal of interest. Some pieces can even be found in multiples, which means that if you want to repeat an element on top of a cupboard or around doorways, for example, it’s possible to do. Besides, it can be a lot of fun poking around salvage yards because you never know what you’ll find!
Give New Life to Old Lighting Fixtures
Lighting fixtures are another item that can add lots of vintage interest to your space. In fact, many of the shapes and styles characteristic of vintage fixtures can no longer be found. Whether you love the worn look of these different fixtures or whether you want to spruce them up with a new coat of paint or crystals and gilding, that’s up to you. What we know for sure is that you’ll have a unique piece that adds chic eclecticism to your room.
Quilts might be more associated with country-style decor, especially vintage quilts, but that’s a limiting belief when it comes to interiors. These older textiles, though, have added charm and the ones that have been repaired perhaps even more.
These are a bit like the vintage suitcases that make you wonder where they have been and the adventures they witnessed. Quilts were traditionally made for family members and those that were well-loved were softer and more worn. Regardless, if you find one that speaks to you, it can be a great piece of vintage wall decor in any style of home, as this modern setting shows.
If you can find an old great mirror, you’ve hit the vintage jackpot because these add an incredible amount of style to any room. We particularly love the ones whose glass is a bit aged as well, but even with a fresh mirror inside the frame, they have great style.
Some will be in great shape and ready to hang, while others might need a little TLC like a small repair or a fresh coat of paint. This one has a marvelous, intricate embellishment right at the top, while others you find might be more modest in detailing.
Another great thing about vintage finds is that you can repurpose them. You might run across something like this old front grill from a jeep and think that you’d have no use for it. Actually, with a few modifications and a piece of glass, you not only have a side table but also a real conversation piece for your home or office.
Repurposing is especially great if you’re handy because these projects will require some time and talent with tools and paint. If you consider a piece long enough, almost anything that you find and really like can be repurposed for another use.
Add a Quirky Headboard
A headboard for your bed — even a basic one — can be ridiculously expensive, especially for a piece that is purely decorative and essentially not functional. It’s all about the looks, so why not create your own headboard from some quirky materials that you find.
This one uses repurposed wood and some old vintage hardware for embellishment, but you could easily create one out of vintage shutters, doors or windows. Let your imagination be your guide and you might end up with a headboard that’s not only a super cool design but a bargain to boot!
There are endless ways to use vintage finds but one of the main considerations is that you love it. Much like art, there’s something about a vintage piece that speaks to you or presents a certain appeal. Once you decide you have to have it, the next fun part is deciding how to use it. With a little imagination and one of these ideas as a guide, you’ll have some knock-out one-of-a-kind decor.