If you are looking to discover more about decorating with vintage finds, here are tons of ideas, inspiration, and a few DIY projects, too.

decorating with vintage finds

I am a storyteller.

A weaver of tales.

A spinner of yarns.

Maybe that’s why I love vintage decor. You know. Something a little old and worn around the edges. Something with more lives than a cheshire cat. Something that has lived a long and prosperous existence before you ever meet it.

Oh, the tales it could tell.

The challenge of vintage decor? Truly? Is what to do with it after you bring it home.

You are standing in a flea market or yard sale and tucked between the random pieces of junk and nonsense and 50 pairs of coathangers from 1954, you find something that makes your heart beat faster. You scoop it up and clutch it to your heart and lug it to your back door.

And then?

Yikes.

What do you do with it?

That’s why I’m so happy we are friends. You have given me so many ideas for decorating and creating with yard sale finds over the years, it’s my turn to return the favor.

Here are my best tips (and a few projects, too) for decorating with vintage finds.

decorating with vintage finds pocket change

Decorating With Vintage Finds

Q: How can I decorate my living room vintage style?

I think every room needs a little bit of vintage. Truly. When I’m decorating with vintage finds in my living room (or any other space in my home) I want to create the impression that it evolved over time. I don’t want it to look cookie cutter or like a house out of a magazine.

I want it to look like me.

Does that make sense? And the easiest way to make a room look like me is to purpose to make sure I’m decorating with vintage finds. Here are several ways I add vintage finds to my spaces:

  • place a vintage find on top of a stack of books
  • when you add a grouping of three somewhere–make sure that one of them is vintage
  • hang a vintage find on the wall and add a frame around it
  • repurpose a vintage find into something else (I’ll show you how to do this with the projects at the end of the post)
  • group several vintage finds together to create a collection

Q: Where are the best places to shop for decor?

Once everything opens back up and you can shop and yard sale again, here are my very best shopping places:

  1. Thrift stores—did you know that thrift stores have reviews? If you are in an area where you aren’t familiar with the thrift stores? Read the reviews before shopping. Not all thrift stores are created equal. That way you can figure out if they have furniture or home decor or simply clothing, etc.
  2. Facebook marketplace—I can waste a good hour on Facebook market place if I’m not careful. The best part? Once you look around over there, Facebook knows what you like and it starts suggesting things for you. I love a helpful social media app. (total aside: I also sell over there, too, and it’s a great way to make a little extra cash).
  3. Yard sales—this is still my number one for finding the unexpected.
  4. Asking—I know this is a random idea, but if you are looking for something specific you can always put out an all-call on social media and sometimes an amazing find turns up like my vintage mirrors.

decorating with vintage finds milk glass

Q: Do you actually use the pieces instead of just decorating with them?

This is actually one of my best tips.

When decorating with vintage finds, you are SO much more likely to appreciate them if they are actually useful. For example, I have an entire collection of milk glass. It’s not expensive. Most of the pieces in my collection I got for under $5.00 at all the place mentioned above. I display some of them in a bookshelf painted in a contrasting color to make them pop.

But here’s the best part.

I actually USE most of these pieces. I use them for serving. I use them for flower displays. I use them to hold other vintage finds, like scrabble tiles or old wood bead strands.

Find vintage items for your home that you can use as well as display.

Q: What are some hot vintage finds to look for?

There are so many different vintage finds that are trending now. Here are just a few of my favorites:

  • antique mirrors
  • oversized vintage frames
  • bingo cards
  • silverplate silverware sets
  • quilt pieces
  • vintage board games
  • cast-iron doorstops
  • jadeite
  • vintage mailboxes
  • vintage fruit pieces

Here’s one I found recently.

It’s a pear made out of paper.

I have an entire pear collection, but I found this one with an apple and here’s how I decorated with them.

I placed them in the bookshelf and put them on a stack of books.

When I have two pieces like this, I like to push the books back slightly and add one piece on the top and one piece in front.

You can add or take away books to make the pieces work together in the display at the right height.

Here are two more of my favorites.

I love old printer’s blocks with typography on them—and these blocks are my initials.

“K” and “W”.

Here, I’ve stacked them on the books on the bookshelf as well.

I’ve also added them to a piece of wood or even created an entire display with them before on a mantel.

The bird piece was made for me by my sister out of vintage book pages and attached it to a piece of wood.

decorating with vintage finds: DIY project ideas

Here are a few ideas that I’ve done with the vintage decor items I’ve found. I’ve also posted a fun video on creating a vintage finish with paint.

I found these vintage yard sticks.

And I made this DIY yardstick stool.

I found these vintage croquet mallets.

And I made these hooks.

I found this vintage silver plate.

And I made these cabinet door handles.

I found these vintage shutters.

And I made a wall.

decorating with vintage finds pennants

I found these vintage pennants.

And I decorated with them like this.

decorating with vintage finds bird plate wall

I found these vintage plates.

And I created a wall display with them.

And on and on and vintage decorating on.

The amazing things about vintage finds?

NO ONE ELSE has something exactly the same–especially when you create a project with them.

They are unique and creative and full of personality and character.

And if they wrote a novel?

I’d buy a dozen copies.

Because vintage finds? They are the best storytellers in the world. 🙂

decorating with vintage finds books

decorating with vintage finds door knocker

PS Here are a few more vintage finds I wanted to show you—this stack of vintage books and this vintage dog doorknocker.

Please act surprised, but I’m in the middle of a project right now.

I can’t wait to show you later this week.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

Comments

  1. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    I'm a vintage lover too but it sure can be a struggle incorporating it into your decor. Great post. I'm writing about a big Vintage Typewriter Canvas Print from PhotoWall tomorrow. I hope you'll check it out. I hope you are staying safe and healthy! Hugs!!!

  2. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I love old stuff, and we were fortunate that our house came with lots of it! LOL! We have a cast-iron doorstop that has been in use for MANY, many years, and the grand-niece of the lady that owned it when she was a little girl saw it one day and nearly cried! We also found hat forms out in the building, made of balsa wood. Believe me, they're on display, too!!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Elle, Here's one that I made from scrapbook paper! You could use book pages for this: https://thistlewoodfarms.com/joyful-bird-tutorial/ Happy day! karianne

  3. Image for Kris Kris

    Sometimes I think I have too many vintage items in my home! Or maybe I just need a bigger house. Ha. It's hard for me to resist things like my dad's childhood dresser, or the ornate mirror in my living room, or the vintage wooden frame which surrounds a picture my husband painted of a scene from our honeymoon in Bermuda, or the fan from my childhood with the killer-sharp blades (but it's such a pretty blue-green color!), or .... well, you get the idea. I recently bought a couple of Victoria magazines (quarantine reading!) and I think my style most closely resembles English cottage. I'm not quite as cluttery as they can be, but I do love the look where everything appears to live together in harmony even if it doesn't all quite "match".

  4. Image for TERESA GONZALES TERESA GONZALES

    Love your ideas. Started following you way back when because I too have a milk glass collection. Love the way it can be used and displayed!

  5. Image for Debby Debby

    The dog dorknocker is so wonderful. I am between dogs, having lost the last of our beloved pets about two years ago. Since I commute long distance to work and my husband travels, we put off getting a new dog as we thought it would be unfair to the dog to be alone so much of the day :( Now that I am home b/c of COVID, i see dogs everywhere. It makes me weepy. When the vintage stores open, you can be sure I will be looking for a dog doorknocker.

  6. Image for Diane Ruebel Diane Ruebel

    KA, Thank you for sharing from the sacred text of your story. I'm inspire to plan projects from vintage objects for our granddaughter's annual Camp at our island. home. While trusting this annual event will still happen, I'm saving our vintage books because she's intrigued by the amazing cutouts. Hugs from Diney on Camano Island

  7. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    So many wonderful things and ideas, i love vintage and that door knocker, i can't wait to see what you are up to, thanks.

  8. Image for Jeanine Jeanine

    Something vintage just adds so much personality to a space. Love finding that special vintage piece! My favorite little local shop has not closed her doors. You can shop on line and she will deliver. Can't get better than that!

  9. Image for Peg Peg

    The best thing about vintage finds is having a "one of a kind" display in your home instead of something that is mass produced. Stay healthy sweet lady!! xoxo

  10. Image for pamela smith pamela smith

    Love, love, love! I love using vintage items too, especially ones that have been passed down from family. The dog doorknocker would be a perfect find. I will be on the lookout!

  11. Image for Lauren Lauren

    Any ideas on how to incorporate vintage quilts into your decor? Is it too shabby to hang / fold them over the back of a sofa?

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Lauren, There are so many ways to display quilts! 1. I love them folded over the top of the couch! 2. I love them stacked in an open shelf cabinet. 3. I love them draped over a basket! 4. I love them folded on top of an ottoman! You got this friend! karianne

  12. Image for Lorri Lorri

    I have my dad's old cigarette ash trays..they are metal ones. I have them outside just sitting there on my wood ladders. I look at them and I just smile thinking about my Dad..he has been gone 35 yrs now. ☹

  13. Image for Maria Maria

    Oh I just love vintage finds!!! I can't help myself. I think one of your projects i need to try is the door handles. What a great idea!!! Hopefully we can all resume our duties of yard sales soon:)

  14. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    Vintage finds--others may call junk--well, we could be sisters!!! My house is full of this stuff!!! Love that you find them interesting, as so do I!!!

Comments are closed.