How to Decorate with Vintage Decor - Sarah Joy (2022)

Filling our home with unique, vintage finds is my passion. I see beauty in the old and imperfect. In frayed edges and tattered covers. In the the worn out and faded. To me, vintage decor is all about filling a home with charm and character. Today I want to share a few simple ways you can begin to incorporate vintage goodies into any space. If you’re looking to create a new and fresh look in your home, these easy tips will help you get there with vintage decor.

Don’t be Afraid

The first step to decorating with vintage decor is let go of your traditional idea of what “home decor” means. Vintage is awesome because it’s different. It’s not the typical decor you’ll find at Target. It’s unusual. Unexpected. Unique. In order to see that beauty, you can’t be afraid to mix it up and stray from the norm. It may take a while to see that if decorating this way is new for you, but looking at decor differently is the first step to realizing the magic of vintage. Once you do, you’ll never go back. I promise.

Start Small

If you’re new to decorating with vintage decor, I recommend starting small. Go to your local antique shop or thrift store and find one or two items you really love, like this old vintage gas can, and use it on your coffee table to display flowers instead of your typical vase. This simple switch will instantly add charm and character to the entire room.

Mix Vintage & Neutral Colors

My favorite way to use vintage items it to pair them with fresh and calming neutral colors. Our front room (pictured below) a great example of that. While I’m certainly no expert and have no professional training in this area, I believe there is a lot of “energy” in the colors we choose to use in our homes. For me, red and other dark toned colors are much more busy and energetic than gray, light blues, and cream tones. Personally I find this combination to be the most appealing to the eye and much more soothing. I didn’t realize this fact about myself until about two years ago. Before that I loved combining any and all colors–the more the better! Thankfully I’ve since realized what calms my heart and spirit–and it’s definitely soft, neutral colors. And if you’re using vintage decor, which already makes a statement on its own, I’d suggest minimizing all the other distractions so those beautiful vintage items really stand out.

I love using this old sifter to hold flowers. And the pairing of white with the galvanized metal is my obsession. Definitely unexpected, but somehow it works. And this is an easy look to put together!

Call Your Mom

Yes, call your mom. Or maybe your grandma. First ask how she’s doing. Then ask if she has any old goodies sitting around the house she’d be willing to let you “borrow”. I’d say at least 60% of the vintage pieces I have in our home came from my mother, grandmother, or another family member. Those make the best pieces because they’re not only vintage, but they have a personal story and meaning to you. Take for instance this glass jar.

I talked a bit about this jar in our master bathroom reveal, but I’ll quickly fill you in on the story again. While decorating our bathroom I was on the hunt for a large jar I could use to hold soap. I was browsing Hobby Lobby and came across one that would have worked perfectly. But instead of buying it on the spot, I decided to call my mom. I asked if she had any old large jars and sure enough she did. This beauty, which first belonged to my grandmother, has stored flour, homemade cookies, and lots of other goodies over decades of use. And now it’s here, being used in a new way and serving a new purpose. Simple, but perfect.

This vintage wooden toolbox is another great piece I was lucky to “borrow” from my mother. This belonged to my grandpa, he used it for years and years on his farm, and now it’s the centerpiece on our dining room table. Thankfully my mom also shares my same love for vintage, so she has lots of goodies to share. But I’d be willing to bet your mom or grandma also has some amazing treasures tucked away–just waiting to be brought out and given new life!

This old trunk also belonged to my grandma. For as long as I can remember this trunk was in her living room and used as her coffee table. It’s amazing to have it in my own home now and used in the same way.

Use Old Books

If you’re not decorating with old books you simply aren’t living. Old books are a huge part of my home. I wrote a whole post about how you can decorate with old books, but it’s really very simple. Wrap them in twine, burlap, or just stack them up. You can’t go wrong with old books.

This is my favorite pair of books in our home. The white lace and ribbon is the perfect neutral touch that takes makes these book so beautiful.

This set I simply wrapped in twine and placed in an old cheese box. Easy peasy and it makes for the perfect coffee table display.

Think Outside the Box

Reach for unconventional items. I saved this one for last because it’s probably the most extreme tip I can share today. And by extreme I really mean awesome. My favorite way to add a big dollop of vintage charm to any space is to incorporate unique pieces, like this porch railing.

Sure, you’d probably never even think about putting an old porch railing in your home. But I did and it works.

One other unusual piece in our home is this vintage crib spring. I was actually inspired to do this after seeing a photo on Instagram. This is one of my favorite vintage items in our home. It makes the perfect backdrop for any display, wreath, or it’s great just by itself. I love it. This may be too extreme for your style, but the lesson here is to think outside the box.

Know the Difference

Ok, I said that was the last tip but I have to clarify one point: Decorating with vintage decor doesn’t mean you like anything old, worn out, or faded. This is definitely not the case. In fact, being a vintage rockstar means you have to know the differencebetween vintage goodness and junk. This is huge. While I’m incredibly passionate about breathing life into old things, I have to know when to draw the line. It’s definitely a personal choice you’ll have to make–but knowing that boundary will serve you well. I’ve made this mistake myself and brought home items I thought were awesome, but in reality were just too far gone to salvage or simply too “rustic” to use as decor.

So those are my tips for incorporating vintage decor into your home. Go for it. Be different. But no matter what, create a home that YOU love. Thanks for stopping by friends!

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