Vintage decor is something I truly enjoy infusing into my room designs. It adds value not only because it is often of value, but because it thoughtfully rounds out a complete design plan.
What do I mean by rounding out a design? Well imagine if you bought a completed room display from a furniture store. In fact, some furniture stores market this concept. While there is nothing wrong with this, and everything is coordinated well, it lacks much personality. It lacks depth and interest. It is somewhat linear or "one dimensional".
By adding in a few vintage decor items, you can develop more interest in your rooms. Vintage pieces have history. They may be collectable. You will feel a great sense of appreciation for these pieces as you find them and learn to cohesively mix them with your current decor.
Vintage decor does not mean it originally was decor. I often find unique, vintage pieces that I repurpose as decor as seen below. For argument's sake, I'm calling these pieces vintage decor because that is how they are now used. Look for unique pieces with a past and fuse them into your design. I'm certain you will be satisfied with the results. Local flea markets and thrift shops can be excellent sources.
Three vintage pottery pieces
make a statement of simplicity
along a windowsill.
Salt glazed pottery is another type I am always eager to find. Vintage, beehive jugs such as that in the center and the heavy, utilitarian style pitcher (far right) are styles I crave. The pitcher is "on loan" from my mother. She finally gave in after my many attempts of convincing her how good it would look in my living room.
If you are interested in this look and want to add some vintage pottery to your decor, or want to learn more, refer to Just Art Pottery. A good source to shop is EBAY.
Salt glazed crocks are sought after collectables and can become rather pricey depending on size, style and manufacturer. I love their simplicity and the ease at which they can fit into most any design style. Use them as a decorative, vintage accent on a table, shelf, or in this case a floor vignette.
Vintage McCoy and Floraline pottery (bottom left) repeat the green accent color of a living room. On the top, two salt glazed crocks, made in England, repeat the use of crocks elsewhere in the space. A unique, vintage glass jar with a handle (center) adds more visual interest.
Collectable glassware and vintage glass pieces are also wonderful finds to use as decor. I love old, unique bottles but began actively seeking certain brands and types in recent years.
Cut glass pieces can often be found relatively cheap at second-hand and thrift stores.
I used cut glass pieces throughout my dining room last holiday season. The sparkle and coolness of the glass makes me think of icicles. Use tall cut glass decanters to display festive items. Place crystal pieces upon a mantel with miniature lights shining through to create an icy aura.
Vintage Depression Glass repeats the accent color of this formal dining room. Also note how pieces from different styles and periods can work harmoniously. An Asian style cabinet takes up residence in a rather traditional setting.
Note the repetition of three circles in this display among the cabinet's decorative element, the vintage plate and the wall mirror. Something so simple helps create cohesion among these different period and style pieces.
Vintage books on display are a nice touch for many styles.
Different types of vintage, glass vases such as those by Hoosier Glass Co. and E.O. Brody Co. are easy to find, cheap to purchase and create nice decorative displays in groupings. You can easily find them of the same height but with different details or design patterns in the glass; a variation of theme so to speak. Group three of them together for visual impact. Use them to display collections of items or decorative accents relevant to the room.
An E.O. Brody glass vase (left), a stein and a decanter find common ground displaying wine corks. A vintage jelly jar with metal lid (right) assists by displaying bottle caps.
People love old bottles. Whether you find them by chance digging in your backyard or cleaning out an attic, they can always add some nice charm to your room. Vintage bottles can work as decor in many design styles
Various found bottles create a nice display
over this interior doorway.
I found this vintage medicinal bottle with wonderful detailing and in a perfect color to coordinate with the accent colors of this bathroom.
Note: The soap dish is actually a candle holder. If you see an item that fits your decor, think about how you can repurpose its use.
Many other vintage pieces have become utilized as decor or even furniture in my homes. Old farming tool implements, for instance, have much appeal. Their rusted, metal sections connected to weathered, wooden handles provide casual interest in a space. Look for nautical pieces as well. Old oars, props and paddles can quickly develop a theme for a cottage or beachhouse.
Old wooden crates, boxes and trunks are well received, as are old tin storage containers. Those with dents, scratches, peeling paint or rust only add more casual character to your decor. Depending on your style, some of these vintage pieces may work well.
A cast iron cooking cauldron finds new life
as a decorative element in this living room.
An old, rusty milk can gains new purpose as a pedestal.
An old sickle blade hangs on the can's left handle. To its right leans a wooden boating implement; vintage items finding new life as decor.
I saw many stainless steel milk cans at an auction recently and immediately thought about how cool they would be as seating for a kitchen bar.
They could work in both a rustic or modern setting.
Also think about using them on your patio, porch or deck. Three, equally spaced in a row, would look nice supporting flower planters of "spilling" annuals.
Vintage pewter provides a classy display in a Gothic styled room. The decor fits the period. However, due to its color finish, pewter could work with many casual and contemporary styles.
Look for collectible names such as Webb and Pfaltzgraff.
Wooden chests and trunks are useful for storage but are also interesting items to use as vintage decor or furniture in your homes.
An old chest (top) was gifted to me from my mother. She simply cleaned it up and applied some mineral oil to bring out the natural beauty. A unique, hand-made chest with a label covered lid (center) works as a small accent piece on which to display other items. A large steamer trunk (bottom) finds repurpose as a casual coffeetable.
Keep your eyes peeled for unique, vintage decor to work into your designs. You just may find a whole new passion for collectable pieces in the process. Learn to mix old with new. Take notice of how often you see new decor items manufactured to have old, weathered finishes or patinas. This will allow you to easily combine authentic, vintage pieces with newer ones.
Some excellent sources for newer and vintage decor are:
Note: I suggest checking out shopgoodwill as the proceeds benefit others in need, and Ruby Lane for better, focused search-results in vintage collectibles.