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How to Decorate with Vintage Décor

Updated: Jan 11

If you're looking for a timeless, chic, and personal way to make your home feel like your own, it's time to invest in vintage furniture. Whether you're looking for a floor-to-ceiling style revamp or want to incorporate one or two beautiful pieces of vintage décor into your home, we're here to tell you it's possible. With our guidance, anyone can transform their home with vintage décor.

To some, the idea of decorating with unique and sturdy antique furniture and accent pieces can feel daunting. Where do you find it? Once you have it, how do you style it? Are there vintage trends to follow? Join us as we answer all these questions (and more!) and find inspiration for your home today.

Define Vintage Décor

Whether you're talking about vintage glass or retro kitchen appliances, experts say that vintage décor must be at least 20 years old and at most 100. Anything older than 100, like an antique dresser or dolls, can be considered antique. Clothing, artwork, furniture, and more from all different eras are valuable and beloved by vintage lovers all over the globe.

Is Vintage Décor Trendy Right Now?

Vintage décor, from nightstands to vintage glass, is back in style—in fact, it never left. Take a look around you—what retro-inspired artwork or nostalgic ____ are in your home already? From rocking '70s vintage looks in fashion to decorating your home with mid-century modern designs, vintage décor is always trending.

One way you can tell that vintage is trendy is that newer companies are looking to older home décor pieces to find inspiration. Using a mixture of nostalgia and smart marketing, they try to get you to bite and buy their antique-inspired dressers and vintage-style home décor. But investing in real, quality-made vintage décor is a much better route to creating a unique home.

Authentic vintage home décor is the real heart and soul of this trend. Sure, people could buy newer nightstands designed to look old. But the home décor from the '50s, '60s, '70s, and so on were built to last years and have unbeatable personalities. If you're looking to bring vintage into your home décor, make the leap and invest in real pieces from the eras you love.

The Resurgence of Mid-Century Modern

Speaking of eras that are all the rage in vintage home décor—have you fallen in love with mid-century modern yet? Although the movement started in the 1930s and "ended" in the 1960s, it's always been the most popular style to pop back up in current trends. Whether you grew up with its first resurgence in the ‘80s or fell in love with its colorful design aspects on the hit TV show “Mad Men, it remains a beloved style for vintage home décor to this day.

You must learn the common characteristics if you're interested in hunting down mid-century modern décor. With minimal ornamentation, sleek lines, and organic shapes, mid-century modern furniture looks straight out of a vintage home décor magazine. The style uses a blend of two-color palettes—one with greys, browns, and whites designed to neutralize the décor and another with bright, bold accents, such as orange, mustard yellow, navy blue, and teal.

3 Reasons to Decorate with Vintage Home Decor

If you need to convince your spouse to renovate or want to explain why you have a sudden interest in searching for vintage kitchen décor, use these three reasons:

1. Personality

2. Built to last

3. Nostalgia

1. Vintage Home Décor Has Personality

You deserve a home full of pieces that reflect your big and beautiful personality, and buying vintage is the best way to find them. At first glance, shopping for dime-a-dozen furniture and artwork seems easier—but is it worth it?

Most antique malls and their events and flea markets will have unique pieces you can't find anywhere else, whether you're searching for an antique dresser or wooden vintage crates for your dorm room. Surround yourself with stylish vintage décor no one can find, and your home will be 100% yours.

2. Find Built-to-Last Pieces with Vintage Home Décor

There's a reason there are so many vintage items still around today—they're built to last for years! Every piece was either carefully handcrafted or made in trustworthy factories, so you can trust that your vintage home décor was made with high-quality materials that won't break easily.

3. Vintage Home Décor Helps Us Embrace Nostalgia

Nostalgia is, perhaps, an antique lover's favorite reason to decorate vintage. When you stroll into an antique mall, you may be flooded with memories of your grandparent's house or be reminded of a simpler time in life. From retro kitchen appliances to bedside tables, vintage décor is a simple and thoughtful way to bring the past into your space.

Where Are the Best Places to Find Vintage Décor?

With today's speedy technology, you can search for vintage home décor with a few clicks on your phone or computer. Browse auctioning and sale websites such as eBay or Etsy from the comfort of your own home or connect with other vintage lovers on online forums. Find collectors who make a profit dealing niche items, like a specific brand of vintage glass, or specialize in a certain era, like mid-century modern.

Many of the most prized pieces surprisingly come from our own homes and from family members. Some people get lucky with beautiful family heirlooms and hand-me-downs. Other people strike gold by searching through their parents’ attics and basements for long-forgotten vintage home décor. From vintage nightstands to wooden vintage crates, you may be surrounded by pieces you can give a new life to without even knowing it!

Shopping online can be tricky, especially if you need to see it to know if you love it. That's why we always recommend shopping in person at your local antique malls, flea markets, and thrift stores. Every one of our enormous locations will have a completely different stock, so you'll never know what to expect! Who knows, you could find your dream antique dresser or set of retro kitchen appliances at our Algonquin, Highland, or Melbourne malls.

How to Use Vintage Home Décor in 5 Different Rooms

Wondering what to do with your fabulous vintage finds? It's time to give these five rooms in your home a vintage makeover:

  1. Living room

  2. Bedroom

  3. Kitchen

  4. Bathroom

  5. Dining room

Transform Your Living Room with Vintage Home Décor

Decorating a living room with vintage pieces can transform the room's entire atmosphere. There are endless spots to include your unique, antique décor, from the furniture you sit on to the trinkets displayed on the mantle.

Start by replacing all the major wood fixtures in the room. Upgrade your modern bookshelves for sturdy, vintage alternatives. Switch out the coffee table for beautiful, ornate pieces. You could even store your records in a wooden vintage crate for a retro feel. If you are lucky, you may even find a complete mid-century modern living room set.

Living rooms are also the perfect spot in the house to feature vintage artwork on a gallery wall. Scour the thrift stores until you have multiple frames to put on the wall, or mix standalone pieces with your modern posters and family pictures for a completely personalized look.

Bring Vintage Décor Into the Bedroom

Adding vintage home décor into your bedroom can give you a one-of-a-kind look that feels like you. Everything, from rugs to vintage bedside tables, can be found at a thrift store. Giving cozy, comfy pieces a new life in your bedroom is an easy way to include vintage décor in your home.

Most antique malls will have endless options for nightstands, vintage bedside tables, bed frames, headboards, and foot-of-bed benches. If you’re looking to create a home office in your bedroom, you can find timeless antique dressers from all eras. Don’t stop at buying individual items—with a little luck and a style in mind, you can redo an entire bedroom set with one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.

Pro tip: keep the toys tidy in your children's rooms with wooden vintage crates. Slide the toy crates under the bed or stack them in the closet for organized storage.

Style a Vintage Kitchen with Retro Kitchen Appliances

Almost every item in your kitchen cabinets and countertops can be replaced by gorgeous vintage items. Buy entire vintage glass collections or standalone pieces, from water cups to cocktail and wine glasses, for an eclectic cabinet. You may even stumble upon valuable colored Depression-era vintage glassware!

From brightly colored refrigerators to matching toasters, retro kitchen appliances are a vintage lover’s dream. Many still work like a charm, so why not elevate your kitchen with a retro theme? You can also bring tradition into your kitchen by finding popular vintage cookware at your local antique mall.

Upgrade Your Bathroom with Vintage Pieces

Bathrooms are often overlooked when decorating a house, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of vintage home décor options available! From antique porcelain soap dishes and toothbrush holders to stylish trays for corralling perfumes, you can use endless trinkets at antique malls to personalize your bathroom with vintage pieces.

Don't overlook one of the most valuable aisles of a thrift store—the linens. Everything from fluffy bathmats to unique shower curtains can be found at almost every antique store. Discover unique patterns for decorative hand towels for everyday and seasonal décor and bring vintage into your bathroom.

How to Decorate the Dining Room with Vintage Décor

The dining room is the heart of a household, so it's important to put your personal, vintage touches wherever possible. Start by finding a staple vintage dining table to act as the star of the show—mid-century modern tables are a classic choice with their elongated curves and sturdy build. Use your creative brain to choose vintage chairs, whether you want a cohesive matching set or to mix-and-match individual unique chairs for your collection.

If you have a traditional China cabinet, consider filling it with your favorite serveware, dinnerware, and vintage glasses. Don't store them in the basement, untouched until the next holiday meal—keep them on display so they double as home décor for you and your guests to enjoy 24/7.

Every area of your dining room can be enhanced with vintage home décor—including the bar area. Whether you have a bar cart or a built-in bar, you can find tiny trinkets, like specialty shot glasses and mid-century modern cocktail shakers, to personalize your drinking station. Don't forget vintage cocktail napkins and wine glass markers to bring your vintage taste into your gatherings!

Tips for Finding Unique Vintage Décor

Are you feeling inspired to redecorate your home with vintage touches?

Use these insider tips when you make your trip to the antique store:

  • Look for signs that a vintage piece is in good condition: rips, scratches, and small mistakes are likely fixable, while structural issues may not be!

  • Consider thrift flipping: if you love most of a piece, but don't like the cushion color or stain on an antique dresser, remember that pieces can be reupholstered and restrained to your liking.

  • Picture it in your home: as you shop for antiques, take a moment to picture it within your space to determine if it will work well with your existing home décor.

  • Repurpose: some pieces you love may not work as they're technically designed to do, but they can almost always be repurposed somewhere else in your home. Try a trunk or wooden vintage crates instead of a coffee table.

  • Think timeless: let's be honest, styles change. Consider the timelessness of the vintage home décor before you buy to understand if you'd be interested in using it for years and years to come.

Redecorating a house with unique vintage pieces can be done by anyone as long as they have the passion, time, and resources. Whether your goal is finding a complete mid-century modern living room set or a few staple trinkets for your bookshelf, going antiquing for vintage home décor is a hobby anyone can try. Visit us at one of our America's Antique Mall locations today and connect with our vendors to start your search for vintage home décor of your very own.

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