Here is how to add depth and timeless sophistication to any room with vintage pieces.
- Mix Vintage Pieces from Different Eras
- Look for Unique Craftsmanship
- Add Traditional Wall Panellings
- Decorate with Ornate Heritage Wallpapers and Accessories
- Invest in Period and Distressed Furniture
- Embrace Vintage Textiles
- Opt for Antiqued Lighting
- Layer Patterns, Textures, and Colours
- Curate a Vintage Looking Art Display
Decorating with vintage finds is a great way to add uniqueness, personality, and character to your home. Considered “trendy” by many interior enthusiasts and designers alike, vintage decor pieces breathe life into many interior design influences.
From Parisian apartment decor style to transitional design, and even bohemian decor, a piece of vintage is a must to distinguish your space from the standard contemporary homes that sometimes appear cold and stark.
Just to be clear, you don’t necessarily need to break the bank by investing in expensive antique pieces to find vintage items for your home.
Cherished family heirlooms, second hand online shops, local thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets are great spots for you to explore to kick start your journey into collecting vintage pieces of your liking.
If you have no time, find vintage lookalike items in your furnishings stores that will mimic the design aesthetics you are seeking to achieve. Below are a few ideas on how to decorate with vintage to add a touch of historical elegance and gracefulness into your home.
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Mix Vintage Pieces from Different Eras
There are many ways you can decorate with vintage. We love vintage pieces, because they add that touch of depth and history into our homes, a type of revered bygone era we hold onto.
To make vintage finds work for your home, consider mixing pieces from different cultures, countries, styles, and periods to tell a beautiful story that is unique to your home.
Mix mid-century modern design pieces with traditional French country style, Bauhaus, or Moroccan decor influences. The idea is to curate timeless rooms in your home that have a soul and a captivating visual interest to kick start fabulous conversations.
When decorating with vintage pieces, especially in modern or contemporary homes, try to strike a balance between the items that you choose to juxtapose in your living spaces to create an inviting atmosphere. For example, if you opt for a contemporary Lulu & Georgia sofa, bring a bit of vintage warmth with a coffee or side tables to anchor your space.
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Look for Unique Craftsmanship
Many people find vintage furniture or decor accessories hugely attractive over modern items because of their longevity and superb craftsmanship. Look for original or lookalike items that display quite unique materials and handmade designs in aged finishes.
Shop within your budget! You will be amazed at what you can find in second hand shops and local antique shops.
Rare types of wood, embroideries, fabrics, materials, and textiles that are very hard to find are key features that make vintage pieces quite unique and sometimes eye-wateringly expensive.
Generally, vintage items display a certificate of authenticity and details of the maker’s main location or contact point, which help to differentiate it from standard high street pieces.
Add Traditional Wall Panellings
To create a vintage-styled home, add traditional wall panellings to your rooms. Decorative mouldings are an affordable and relatively easy way to add texture, vibrancy, and refined timeless elegance to any room.
Historically, in Elizabethan, Tudor, and Victorian times, wooden wall panellings alongside wood flooring were used in palaces and grand homes to showcase status and wealth, and to provide much needed warmth to dreadfully cold rooms.
Invest in easy-to-install wall panelling kits to add a visually appealing aesthetic to your space by covering half of a wall or creating a floor-to-ceiling feature wall.
Whether you choose to put wall panellings on a single wall or in select rooms, the beauty about them is that they are available in various traditional designs and they can be stained, lacquered, or painted to achieve your desired look.
Decorate with Ornate Heritage Wallpapers and Accessories
Using beautiful wallpapers with ornate or floral details may seem a little over the top for minimalist design lovers, but choosing the right one to elevate a room in your home will help create a quirky, yet interesting vintage look with lots of warmth.
If going full coverage with ornate wallpapers seems too daunting, try infusing faded floral, chinoiserie wallpaper, and elaborate patterns through your decor accessories to create a vintage look.
A vase, throw pillows, a sofa blanket, pouffes, and decorative objects in soft, blue, green, off-white and pastel shades are great ways to inject ornate elements with vintage vibes into your rooms.
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Invest in Period and Distressed Furniture
Nothing oozes more vintage than a furniture piece with old school charm. A hand carved bed, vintage side tables, an armchair, or an old dresser with distressed finishes are some interesting items you can display in different areas of your home to add depth to your spaces.
Upcycling a mid-century modern chair, giving a lick of paint to a Tudor style display cabinet, or reframing a painting in an old gilt frame are a few ways in which you can repurpose a period furniture piece to infuse unique vintage vibes into your home
In your kitchen, for example, use a rustic kitchen table, a freestanding sideboard or a dresser in weathered finishes to instantly convey understated elegance and relaxed country kitchen style atmosphere.
Freestanding vintage furniture pieces tend to display beautiful aged patinas and finishes, which, when used in combination with modern or contemporary kitchen cabinets, can add originality, a well-lived in feel, and lots of warmth into the heart of your home.
In one of your bathrooms, mount modern sinks onto an antique washstand to create a strikingly original and beautiful vanity unit. Alternatively, invest in a reproduction of a designer friendly and uber fashionable Edwardian basin and washstand to create a quintessentially chic classic bathroom or powder room. Pick a basin with high-quality vitreous china with a refined white finish and superb looking gold-plated brass or chrome washstand, depending on your colour palette. This will age beautifully with sophisticated patinas.
Embrace Vintage Textiles
Like in a boho bedroom decor, decorating with vintage is a fantastic opportunity to play with ancient handcrafted textiles from different parts of the world.
Vintage textiles added in cushions, bedspreads, lampshades, or as a wall decor are fabulous ways to add authenticity and a touch of colour to your space.
You can also choose to adorn your bed headboard with a Japanese shibori fabric, vintage floral fabrics, a handwoven velvet cotton ikat, or a West African Bogolan mudcloth.
To anchor your room, turn a handmade Peruvian frazada (blanket) or a rare Moroccan Beni Ourain wool rug into a wall tapestry.
As for your floor, invest in an authentic (or a lookalike) vintage Persian rug or a Touareg rug that will add depth and colour to any room. Be willing to pay a pretty penny for the real deal!
Opt for Antiqued Lighting
Choosing the right lighting for your home is an important part of creating the right atmosphere in your living spaces. If you want to add a touch of vintage glamour into your rooms, try a traditional style glass chandelier, wall sconces or table lamps in one of your living and dining rooms or in the bedrooms.
Make sure you pick vintage lighting that is in keeping with the rest of your decor scheme even if you are going all eclectic. Experiment with antique and vintage table lamps and wall lights from old time periods and ancient civilisations. They will add soft, ambient glow and give you the opportunity to be creative with lampshades in vintage prints and materials.
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Layer Patterns, Textures, and Colours
Layering different textures, patterns, and colours are very much at the heart of vintage decor. From vintage vessels with wear and tear, to old books, vases, and artefacts, time-worn knick knacks with beautiful patinas, and rustic finishes, throw in a variety of beautiful pieces to create a vintage style of your own.
Decorating a bookshelf in one of your rooms is a great spot where you can experiment with both vintage and new items to create appealing layering effects you can vary with the season. The key is to display items in asymmetrical designs that create visual balance on your shelves.
Another way to layer different textures, patterns and colours is by being playful with your rugs, blankets, and throw pillows. In a bedroom for example, layer rugs and cushions of contrasting yet complementary design shapes, sizes, colours, and patterns.
A large antique rug can lay the foundation for your floor. Then, follow it with a faux fur rug to add visual interest to your bedroom and further soften your feet landing when you get up.
As for cushions of various styles, throw a velvet bolster (i.e. is a long narrow throw pillow) together with a rectangular mid-century modern inspired cushion next to a large kilim throw pillow to balance your bedding.
Curate a Vintage Looking Art Display
Creating a beautiful gallery wall with authentic vintage art or lookalikes for affordability reasons, takes a little bit of shopping around.
If you want to go all authentic, well I suggest you spend some time rummaging through your family attic rooms to dig out heirlooms, spend some time on ebay, Etsy, and go on a hunt at flea markets and vintage shops to spot affordable vintage pieces of your liking. Pick items that have a personal meaning to you, and that you have genuinely fallen in love with, bearing in mind your current decor aesthetic.
Alternatively, if you are on a tight budget, head to your favourite high street furnishings store such as World Market and Target in North America or John Lewis and TK-Maxx in the UK to find lots of affordable vintage-looking art displays.
Remember, decorating with vintage when living in a modern or a contemporary home is all about adding a few vintage pieces here and there that add a real sense of style, beautiful nostalgia, and refined elegance to your home. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you get the right balance of new and old materials and textures in your home.