Vintage items can add a unique flair to any space. Here are 20 of our favorite vintage finds and tips for styling them in your home.
1. Vintage Trunks
Vintage trunks make great coffee tables or storage at the foot of the bed. Look for textures like leather or wood for a rustic touch. Style with a tray on top to hold remotes, books and drinks. Fill them with cozy blankets or extra pillows.
How to Style Vintage Trunks
- Place a trunk at the foot of the bed and use it as a bench or extra storage.
- Flip it on its side and use it as a sofa table behind a couch.
- Put a removable tray on top for remote controls, books and drinks.
- Store cozy blankets inside or use for extra pillows.
- Look for vintage trunks made of wood or leather for lots of texture.
- Paint or stencil a plain trunk to give it more character.
- Display your vintage trunk proudly by leaving the lid propped open.
2. Vintage Suitcases
Stack vintage suitcases on their side to make unique shelving. Hang them on the wall as quirky wall art. Store shoes, accessories or files inside.
How to Use Vintage Suitcases
- Stack them on their sides like bookshelves.
-Hang them open on the wall and display photos or art inside.
- Store shoes, hats, purses and clothing accessories inside.
- Use them to file away important documents.
- Look for unusual shapes, sizes and materials.
- Distressed leather or wood suitcases add texture.
- Vibrant retro prints and colors are fun statement pieces.
- Add handles or casters to make them easy to move around.
3. Vintage Signs
Vintage signs add a playful touch and nostalgic charm. Hang them in the kitchen, bar, bathroom or rec room. Look for ones with fun sayings related to your interests or hobbies.
Tips for Displaying Vintage Signs
- Hang signs in the kitchen for fun retro flair.
- Choose bar and drink slogans for rec room decor.
- Pick signs related to hobbies like music, sports or reading for the den.
- Distressed and rusty metal signs have an industrial vibe.
- Look for unusual shapes like stars or ovals.
- Light up your vintage sign with a spotlight for drama.
- Layer signs in groupings over a bar or console.
- Paint the edges a bright color so the white sign pops.
4. Vintage Maps
Framed vintage maps dated from your hometown or favorite destinations make affordable wall art. Display them in home offices, dens or above dressers.
How to Decorate with Vintage Maps
- Search for maps based on special dates or destinations.
- Frame maps in simple wood or metal frames to keep them the focus.
- Hang a grouping of different sized maps together over a sofa.
- Choose colors like black, tan or navy to contrast with map details.
- Cover the glass with mats in bright hues to accent the map.
- Look for unusual shapes like circles or octagons vs standard rectangles.
- Maps of hometowns or honeymoon spots are great personalized finds.
- Floral maps styled like botanical prints are pretty choices.
- Nautical maps would suit a beach house or lake cabin.
5. Vintage Posters
Vintage posters give rooms a fun blast from the past. Seek out styles that fit your interests like movie, travel or music posters. Shop flea markets, antique stores or online.
Styling With Vintage Posters
- Choose bright and colorful travel posters for a playful look.
- Pick movie posters from favorite classic films.
- Music posters show off your tastes and style.
- Surround posters with frames that complement the color palette.
- Group various sized posters together over furniture.
- Lean framed posters against the wall for casual decor.
- Seek out unusual sizes or shapes vs standard rectangles.
- Look for posters related to hobbies like sports, cars or photography.
- Blacklight posters from the 60s and 70s are wild retro finds.
6. Vintage Metal Signs
Vintage metal and enamel signs lend an industrial edge. Look for soft drink brands, gas station logos or fun retro sayings. They work in kitchens, bars, garages and patios.
Decorating With Metal Signs
- Hang signs in the kitchen and bar using magnetic strips.
- Style signs from favorite car brands in the garage or “man cave.”
- Look for soft drink and beer logos for rec room decor.
- Seek signs related to hobbies like golf, fishing or gardening.
- Distressed signs with faded or cracked paint have a weathered look.
- Bold colors like red, yellow and turquoise make the sign designs pop.
- Mount signs on walls or lean against bookcases or counters.
- Group different sized signs together for impact.
- Light up signs using spotlights for visual appeal.
7. Vintage Advertising Clocks
Vintage clocks featuring old brand advertisements or slogans are stylish accent pieces. They work in home bars, dens, rec rooms, offices and kitchens.
Styling Vintage Ad Clocks
- Look for clock designs related to favorite sports teams or brands.
- Choose clocks showcasing fun retro slogans and sayings.
- Display clocks from nostalgic soda and beer brands in home bars.
- Seek clock designs that tie into hobbies like golf, tennis or bowling.
- Use clocks with sports team logos or colors in dens and rec rooms.
- Place vintage ad clocks on bookshelves, end tables or wall mount.
- Style on buffet tables in dining rooms or kitchen islands.
- Group different sized clocks together for a collage effect.
- Try neon clock designs for a bold retro statement.
8. Vintage Fabric
Vintage fabric like feedsack cloth or handkerchiefs make charming accents. Use them to cover simple lampshades, as café curtains or displayed in frames.
Styling Vintage Fabric
- Wrap feed sacks around glass lampshades for a custom look.
- Use vintage hankies or scarves as café curtains in kitchens.
- Display pretty floral fabrics in simple frames on walls.
- Sew vintage fabric into throw pillows or cushions.
- Look for fabric with novelty prints, rich colors or unusual patterns.
- Check antique stores or flea markets for unique local finds.
- Soft pastels or bright graphic prints work well in modern rooms.
- Add drama by making a canopy with lace above the bed.
9. Vintage Furniture
Vintage wood furniture has more character than new mass-produced pieces. Look for interesting details like carvings or turned legs. Painted finishes modernize vintage finds.
Decorating With Vintage Furniture
- Seek out sideboards, buffets and dressers to add storage.
- Vintage desks or secretaries work in home offices.
- Turn side tables or consoles into statement end tables.
- Use dressers for kitchen or bathroom storage with added personality.
- Add wheels or legs to change the height or style.
- Sand and refinish wood pieces to highlight the natural grain.
- Paint vintage wood furniture solid colors or whimsical patterns.
- Mix into rooms with other modern pieces for an eclectic look.
- Add vintage nightstands or vanities to bedrooms.
10. Vintage Lighting
Search flea markets, antique malls and online shops for vintage lighting with beautiful details. Use them on side tables, mantels, shelves or hanging above beds or tables.
Styling Vintage Light Fixtures
- Look for rich materials like cut glass, crystal, bronze or brass.
- Seek out sculptural silhouettes like serpents, flowers or globes.
- Display on mantels or shelves rather than flush to the ceiling.
- Use pendant lights to highlight areas like over a kitchen sink.
- Hang a constellation of lower wattage bulbs above beds or dining tables.
- Position vintage table or floor lamps in cozy seating nooks.
- Mix in lights with modern pieces and decor for visual contrast.
- Repurpose candle chandeliers without candles as shaded pendants.
11. Vintage Photographs
Black and white vintage photographs add timeless character to modern rooms. For special flair, tint the photos with color. Display family photos or generic prints you find appealing. Showcase in simple frames or hang with mini clothespins strung from wire.
Tips for Decorating With Vintage Photos
- Search flea markets or online shops for interesting generic prints.
- Tint black and white photos with color for extra pop.
- Frame in simple thin metal frames or bright colors.
- Hang photos on wires with mini clothespins for a casual look.
- Arrange eclectic groupings over sofas, beds or sideboards.
- Mix in vintage photos with other wall art and decor.
- Use photos of family ancestors to add personal history to a room.
- Look for location prints from favorite travel destinations or landmarks.
12. Vintage Books
A wall of built-in bookcases filled with vintage book collections adds character to living rooms, dens and offices. Stack old books on side tables or coffee tables to add visual weight.
Tips for Styling Vintage Books
- Collect books related to hobbies or personal interests for shelves.
- Look for vintage encyclopedia sets for striking visual impact.
- Seek out leather-bound editions or ones with marbled endpapers.
- Stack rows of large books on the floor next to chairs and sofas.
- Place 3-5 books in different sizes and colors on side tables.
- Tie colorful ribbons around stack of vintage books on shelves.
- Fill built-in bookshelves from floor to ceiling for drama.
- Choose books with worn covers and spines for a timeworn look.
13. Vintage Suites
Mixing a full vintage furniture suite creates a bold cohesive look. Dressers, vanities, wardrobes, desks and bedroom sets are great options. A uniform set works well in bedrooms, offices and dining spaces.
How to Use Vintage Furniture Suites
- Use a full vintage bedroom set for a cozy farmhouse aesthetic.
- Dining sets with buffets and hutches provide ample storage.
- Vintage office suites with desks, filing and shelves keep clutter organized.
- Minimal bedroom sets like Art Deco style work in modern rooms.
- Paint mismatched vintage suites one color to unify them.
- Sand down wood suites and refinish them for a clean look.
- Add vintage vanity mirrors mounted on dressers to bedrooms.
- Place a small vintage desk inside a larger one for a work station.
14. Vintage Windows
Salvaged vintage windows become beautiful room accents. Hang them on the wall, prop upright on the floor or use as photo frames. Look for unique shapes like circles, stars or octagons.
Creative Ways to Use Vintage Windows
- Hang on the wall and display pretty plates or vases in the window frame.
- Prop windows upright on the floor and place candles and plants on the sill.
- Attach salvaged door and window sets together and hang to create a room divider.
- Spray paint window frames fun bright colors and leave the window glass transparent.
- Use vintage windows as picture frames – style photos resting on the sill.
- Look for windows with special features like leaded glass or arched tops.
- Group clustered window panes together on a wall for interest.
15. Vintage Wallpaper
For bold impact, use sheets of vintage wallpaper to cover shelves, closet walls or furniture. Seek out novel motifs and rich colors or patterns.
Tips for Decorating With Vintage Wallpaper
- Cover the back wall of bookcases with vintage wallpaper for visual interest.
- Use as mats for framing artwork, posters or prints.
- Adhere decorative paper inside plain dresser drawers.
- Wallpaper the back of open shelving or glass cabinet doors.
- Look for styles that complement your interests like floral, travel or animal prints.
- Seek out playful patterns like geometry, psychedelic prints or pop art.
- Line the walls of closets with vintage wallpaper to jazz up small spaces.
16. Vintage Textiles
Vintage textiles like embroidered linens, monogrammed hankies, or quilts add warmth layered into rooms. Display on beds, fold and hang over chair backs or frame on the wall like art.
Styling Vintage Textiles in Your Home
- Make quilts the focal point layered on beds.
- Use embroidered and embellished blankets as throws on chairs.
- Hang quilts on the wall like art using specialty quilt hooks.
- Drape monogrammed linen napkins or hankies over dishes in hutches.
- Look for vintage linens with bright colorful embroidery and embellishments.
- Seek out monogrammed and embellished hankies, napkins or towels.
- Frame pretty embroidered handkerchiefs or doilies like art for walls.
17. Vintage Radio
Restore vintage radios from the 30s, 40s or 50s to functional use. Otherwise, use as décor in home bars, kitchens, dens or rec rooms. Choose styles with gorgeous details like wood, Bakelite or chrome.
Displaying Vintage Radios
- Place a vintage radio on the kitchen counter to play music while cooking.
- Use one as the focal point on a bar cart.
- Style a radio on a bookshelf rather than hanging on the wall.
- Seek out designs from the 30s, 40s and 50s.
- Look for wood styles with striking grain made of mahogany or walnut.
- Bakelite plastic radios in fun colors are retro statement pieces.
- Try to get the radio restored to working order.
- If non-working, store drinking glasses, barware or plants inside.
18. Vintage Hardware
Vintage hardware like doorknobs, metal numbers, or letters add old-school charm when swapped for ordinary modern ones. Use on kitchen cabinets, drawers, doors or furniture.
Ideas for Using Vintage Hardware
- Replace plain doorknobs with ones featuring molded or crystal details.
- Spell out your last name on kitchen cabinets using letter hardware.
- Apply numbers, letters or symbols to dresser drawers to label contents.
- Affix initials onto bedroom and guestroom doors for added personality.
- Attach vintage drawer handles to replace modern ones.
- Pick knobs with glass, crystal or ceramic details.
- Seek unique shapes like oblong, starbursts or faceted.
- Aged metal and patina are ideal over shiny new hardware.
19. Vintage Games
Display vintage board games for a playful touch. Stack them on shelves, sideboards, coffee tables or set them out on game night. Choose ones with fun retro graphics and colors.
Styling Vintage Board Games
- Fill bookcases or shelving units with games.
- Create a game table vignette and set out chess sets ready to play.
- Stack rows of games on their sides like books on a sideboard.
- Choose games based on your interests like sports or pop culture.
- Look for styles from the 60s and 70s with wild colorful graphics.
- Games with nostalgic branding and advertising are great midcentury finds.
- Display games on entry tables or coffee tables.
- Arrange them flat or on their sides in geometric groupings.
20. Vintage Telephone
A vintage telephone adds novelty and sparks conversation. Choose a bright-colored 50s payphone model or unique candlestick style to display. Restore to working order or use decoratively.
How to Style a Vintage Phone
- Install a vintage wall-mounted phone as functional kitchen decor.
- Opt for a bright-colored 50s pay phone for retro flair.
- Place novelty candlestick phones on side tables rather than mounted on walls.
- Try to get your vintage phone professionally restored to working order.
- Use non-working phones to hold potted succulents or air plants.
- Fill the base with candy or nuts at parties or as a guestroom treat.
- Look for styles made of metal or heavy molded plastic.
- Seek out designs in fun bright colors vs basic black.
Vintage Decor FAQ
Where is the best place to buy vintage items?
Great places to find vintage items include flea markets, antique stores, estate sales, thrift stores and online shops like Etsy. Search locally first before widening your online hunt for specific pieces.
How can you make vintage items feel fresh and modern?
Try painting vintage wood furniture modern colors like navy blue, black or white. Mix vintage with new pieces with clean lines for contrast. Add in pops of bright colors with pillows, art and accessories.
What’s the best way to mix vintage with new pieces?
Start with a larger new piece like a sofa as the anchor. Then layer in vintage accents like chairs, tables and lighting. Keep the overall aesthetic minimal and let each vintage piece shine as a focal point.
How do you clean vintage furniture?
Use a wood cleaner and polish to treat vintage wood furniture. Test cleaners in inconspicuous spots first. Use mild detergent and water for upholstered pieces. Spot treat stubborn stains carefully. Avoid soaking fabrics.
Should you refinish vintage wood furniture?
It depends on the piece. Finishes with minimal wear just need a good cleaning. Very worn pieces can be sanded and stained, painted or waxed for protection. Distressed chippy paint can be left as-is for a vintage look.
How can you display vintage collections?
Group collections together artfully for impact. Fill bookcases with stacks of vintage books or boards games. Use ladders, wall mounts or floating shelves to show