Vintage home decor is as strong as ever, with more people purchasing sustainable items at up to 80% less than before. So why does retro home decor hold such an appeal? While the cost benefits are obvious – you could pick up an antique washstand for less money than a brand-new bathroom counter – buying vintage allows you to help the planet by reducing landfills and curating a unique home that showcases your personal style choices.
Vintage Interior Design Starts With The Walls
When it comes to vintage interior design, it is ALL about the walls. In the 20s, a modernist silhouette was born, and with it came rich gold, deep emerald, and sparkling silver colorways. Wallpaper of the time reflected these elements and often had a geometric or fan pattern that oozed luxury. While vintage wallpaper from this era is hard to find, you may be lucky and score some in antique shops. If not, there are plenty of art deco-style wallpapers in places like Home Depot that have all of the glamor but none of the price tag.
Quick Tip – Vintage shopping is fun and thrifty, but only pick items that you know you’ll use.
Also read: Classic Features of Vintage Interior Design
Vintage Home Decor: Vintage Textiles
Vintage textiles, from colorful plaid to antique brocade, can all be sourced cheaply from thrift stores, antique shops, and vintage boutiques. Look out for colorful Suzani textiles – intricate hand-embroidered Persian designs in shades of pink, red, purple, gold, and blue – to decorate your bedroom or living room. Large Suzani blankets make wonderful bedspreads, whereas smaller varieties add great pops of color to your living room for Boho style.
Add Vintage Lighting
Vintage lighting comes in a range of styles, from European industrial lighting to mid-century designs with soft curved shapes and warm glowing centers. Take the Guzzini lamp, for example. This 70s staple item looks part mushroom, part space-age globe and comes in white, cream, or orange shades. Picking one up will cost you a couple of hundred dollars, but for an original ’70s icon, that’s a bargain!
Don’t Forget The Bathroom
Upcycled home decor looks great in the bathroom, where period furniture comes into its own. Opting for old Victorian solid wood furniture gives you ample storage for towels and cosmetics, so keep an eye out for antique washstands with cupboards to hide away modern items. These marble-topped beauties not only look great but are easy to clean too. One swipe of a cloth and the worktop surface will be sparkling clean.
Vintage Home Decor: Unearth Hidden Gems
You may be surprised to see what’s hidden in plain sight if you’ve got an older house. Old carpets can reveal remarkable wooden or tiled floors, bricked-up chimney breasts may hide a treasured marble fireplace, or perhaps the attic has hidden gems. Don’t despair if you live in a modern home, though. Adding vintage home decorations is easier than you think. Visiting your local thrift store allows you to find local historical items at bargain prices. If you live by the coast, look out for storm lanterns, old crabbing pots, and ship instruments. City dwellers may strike it lucky with industrial lighting.
Quick Tip – Fabrics don’t just have to be used as throws and blankets. Create your own wall hangings with vintage fabric and tassels.
Vintage Art Prints
Dressing your home is all about embracing your decor tastes head-on and showing the world your passions. Choosing vintage art prints that show your personality gives your home a wonderful vintage charm that can’t be replicated with store-bought art. Popular vintage art prints such as movie posters are bright and colorful and give your space a fun and inviting vibe, or opt for genuine retro artwork such as Trechikoff’s iconic Chinese Girl for camp nostalgia.
Vintage Home Decor: Rustic Kitchen Accessories
For those who love a rustic farmhouse kitchen, antique and vintage shops will be Aladdin’s cave of wonders. A quick wander around one of these stores reveals original farmhouse furniture, from large dressers to house all your crockery to enamel crockery and wooden kitchen accessories that have aged through consistent use. Using these in your vintage home decorating alongside old-style cast iron hooks, skillets, and spice racks will give your kitchen an authentic, homely feel that is hard to mimic.
Quick Tip – Avoid the ‘junk shop’ home appearance by keeping clutter to a minimum.
Related article: Infuse Charisma & Nostalgia With Our 10 Antique Home Decor Tips
Glassware and Vintage Home Decorations
We’re always on the lookout for vintage home decorations when we’re scouring thrift stores. Murano, the home of Italian glassmaking, exported many beautiful items to our shores, and these vintage hand-blown glass sculptures make a bright and colorful addition to any vintage home. Often created in animal forms, these sculptures come with maker’s mark labels underneath to show which factory produced them. Some of the most popular makers to look out for are Fratelli Toso, Ercole Barovier, and Paulo Venini.
Vintage Home Decor: Gilt Wall Mirrors
Stunning gilt wall mirrors look great and will provide additional light into a darker space when positioned opposite the window. This makes the elegant vintage wall mirrors perfect additions to narrow stairwells and hallways with poor light distribution. The bright gold gilt of these wall mirrors makes them very popular as bedroom accessories, where their warm tone suits pinks, purples, and neutral shades perfectly.
Curate a Library
Vintage or antique books are a great way of adding color and style to your vintage home decor. These items can be picked up inexpensively at thrift stores and are so plentiful that you’ll be able to curate your own library in no time. One way of dressing your bookcase is to opt for books of the same color or size, which gives a feeling of coordination in your space. Alternatively, sourcing and arranging books on a topic you love will ensure that the books are read, as opposed to mere decoration. A vintage children’s book collection displays well in the nursery, whereas books on art look fabulous in an art-filled sitting room.
We hope we’ve inspired you to go out thrifting with some of our handy hacks. For us, thrifting furniture and other decor items is frugal and can feel like a real-life treasure hunt. We’ve found all manner of significant items, from vintage glass and linens to furniture, just right for updating. Remember, when curating your home, it’s best to stick to an overall theme unless you’re specifically going for maximalist decor; otherwise, you may well find that your home looks more like a junk shop than you had planned.