8 Tips for Vintage Home Decor

Vintage home decor is gaining more popularity as people are realizing that embracing antiques and older pieces doesn’t have to mean investing in pricey furniture.  These days, bargains can be found in small shops and on sites like Facebook Marketplace.  Even smaller pieces like antique candle holders, artwork or old books can be a fun way to add a vintage touch without breaking the bank. And if your style is more contemporary, mixing in small antique pieces can turn your home into a more  interesting and personal space. 

Hunting for older pieces for your home can be lots of fun but also difficult to navigate if you aren’t sure how to put it all together.  Here are 10 tips to help you create your perfect vintage-inspired home.

01. Mix and match different styles

Don’t be afraid to mix different furniture periods and styles.  The key is making sure that the pieces have similar lines and are close to one another in scale.  For example, midcentury furnishings are often simple in form and are smaller in scale.  This style wouldn’t mix well with a oversized sofa or a heavy Victorian piece. But a simple farm table? Feel free to add midcentury seating. 

02. Establish a personal style

While looking for pieces to pair, keep a general theme in mind to keep your room cohesive. If you catch yourself admiring a French Baroque mirror but your home is more modern farmhouse, stop and remind yourself of your personal style.  When it comes to adding different kinds of vintage or antique items, keeping your own style in mind will help train your eye on the pieces that really work together.

03. Mix wood finishes

Don’t become too focused on matching wood finishes in your home. Matchy-matchy is boring and you run the risk of having a “room-in-a-box” look if all of your finishes are the same. However, there is one thing to keep in mind. Stick with either warm woods and stains or cooler wood colors. If your floors are an orangey oak bring in other wood tones. If your floors are gray, avoid warm oak pieces and consider wood elements with a cooler tone. 

04. Pair vintage and organic elements

Vintage ceramic planters, copper pitchers and antique baskets can all be wonderful planters or vases. Plants add so much life and warmth to a home and nothing pairs better than organic elements and the worn patina of a vintage or antique piece. You can even cut branches from your yard for a free centerpiece.  Have a hydrangea bush? The blooms dry beautifully and can be used again and again.

05. Inject your personality

Nothing gives a home more character than adding your own touch with unique elements that reflect your personality. And there are so many options! If you’re an artist, a collection of old paint brushes in a vase makes a fun statement. Maybe you own a beautiful quilt that was passed down from your granmother. Display a collection of antique copper pots if you like to cook. Do you enjoy hosting friends for cocktails? Look out for vintage barware and mixing guides. If you’re a book lover, display old books featuring subjects you love. These finds are everywhere; antique stores, small vintage shops, estate sales, and even yard sales. The fun is in the hunt! 

06. Use textiles

Vintage home decor isn’t complete without some type of textile or fabric element. Whether that means framing a vintage scarf, placing your grandmother’s quilt across the back of your sofa, or layering an antique Turkish rug over the carpet, fabrics and patterns are always a good way to add warmth to a space.  Feel free to incorporate different textures.  Silks, hand woven tapestries, wool rugs or a knitted blanket are all examples of different textures that can give a room more dimension and life.  Before buying something, take a look around your house! You just may find some old pieces that have been stored away.

07. Don't be afraid to try something new

The best part about using smaller antique pieces in your decor is that you can have fun with the process without making a large investment.  Which means there are really no rules! Buy things that you love, whether that’s a marble lamp with a fun fabric shade, a pair of brass candlesticks, or a collection or small busts.  These are the pieces that bring life, personality and a sense of history to your home.  

08. Choose your decor pieces carefully

Make sure to choose pieces in good condition without obvious cracks, missing parts or tears. This can actually be a tough one to navigate since antique and vintage pieces will often show signs of wear.  But remember that while patina and normal aging adds character, broken or damaged pieces can make your home look like a thrift store.  If you find something you love that needs some love, either have it repaired or pass on it.  Something else will come your way.  I promise!

Purchasing Vintage from Emma and Jean

When you purchase vintage, antique or “found” pieces, a large part of their beauty is in their inherent imperfections. Please expect that many of the pieces we sell will have a worn patina that we believe adds to their unique character and charm.

However, we do not sell pieces that are broken or damaged in a way we feel detracts from the piece. We take care to insure that lighting is in working condition, our art work is in good to excellent vintage condition, and our ceramics do not have any cracks or large chips. We will often make repairs to items so that you receive a quality piece that functions well. We clean all of our items them and polish brass and silver plated objects when necessary.

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