Updated: Jun 8, 2022
If you know me, you know that I'm a huge fan of vintage and repurposed items. I'm going to tell you WHY.
Vintage decor isn't for everyone. It's perfectly imperfect and has a lot of interesting wear and tear that comes with it. But more than that, it has a whole bunch of stories to bring with it. I personally love showcasing vintage items that are strange, unusual, or whimsical and humorous.
Patience is key. Spend your time enjoying hunting for vintage items, and it will never feel like a job.
Decorating with vintage art and items.
Here's what's so great about it. Your pieces are unique to you. Everyone else has the same candle holder from Winners (I have a monkey candle holder from Winners. So do thousands of other people.) One vintage brass spittoon will make a great plant holder. One small collection of vintage books will warm a tabletop or bookcase. There is a certain special worn and comfortable look that accompanies vintage items. Even if your aesthetic is sleek and tidy, one small amount of contrast added in will make the sleek, shiny things sing.
Sourcing vintage items.
Facebook Marketplace is a great local-to-you resource for sourcing vintage items without even having to leave your home.
There are lots of people out there that just have too much stuff, and they want it gone. I assure you, I'm one of those people. Alternately, I am also the same person that checks FB Marketplace on a daily basis for items that I definitely don't need, but I end up finding many that I want. Conundrum.
Another great place to source items is of course thrift shops. Value Village (politics aside) has always been a favorite of mine. Lots of different items to search through, from bedding to toys to decor to framed art. Don't hesitate to pop into a Goodwill or St. Vincent De Paul along your travels.
Garage sales? Yeah, stop at them. Especially there, there is an option to discuss pricing.
How do I know what to buy? Korinne's guide to sourcing vintage items.
Make sure you're not buying junk. Especially when it comes to furniture. If you're looking at a wood piece that you like, check to make sure it's fully intact, and that it's sturdy. Sometimes dining chairs are missing a rung, or sometimes a dresser is veneer, not solid wood. Take your time when you look at the pieces you are coveting. Dove tailed joinery is also indicative of a good, quality piece.
If you're a big fan of vintage bedding and quilts, open the whole piece and inspect it for holes or tears. I have absolutely gotten home to discover that I purchased a quilt that had a fairly egregious tear in it. If wool feels exceptionally thick, and looks lumpy, make sure you open the blanket as wool often gets accidentally shrunken in the wash. You can repurpose these blankets, but stretching wool is a fairly big task, so be cautious.
Look for cotton, wool, wool blends, and feel the item to gauge the quality. You can deck out a beautifully dressed bed in extremely high quality cotton sheets and a beautiful antique quilt for very little money, as long as you're patient.
Borax and bleach are fantastic for crisp white cotton sheets. Also, hang them outside in bright sunlight to dry! Sunlight also brightens whites naturally. Borax also removes mildew smells like magic.
In the image above, I recovered a chair with a vintage Witney Point blanket, the 1930 Hudson Bay Blanket that is on the bed was purchased for 6.99, the trunk is vintage, the star leaning on the wall was pulled off of an old house, the bedside table was a vintage find, the bed was 14.99, the dresser was a flea market find, and the rug under the foot of the bed is 100% wool, which I found for 20.00. The cotton Ralph Lauren plaid pillow cases were thrifted for 1.99, and the sheets on the bed were thrifted for under 15.00. Also 100% cotton.
This was a spare bedroom at our old home, and I enjoyed the game of determining how inexpensively I could decorate it.
Again, I stress, patience is key. Vintage collecting is an art, and it takes time.
Structural vintage items.
Last but not least, consider vintage items when renovating. There is a reason certain items have never gone out of style. A) they last forever and they're well built B) they're practical in a very throw-away and impractical society.
Mirrors, medicine cabinets, clawfoot tubs... they all can be easily repurposed or rejuvenated for your space. The craftsmanship is unparalleled in most structural vintage items.
My new primary bathroom in my home features a vintage tub, vintage handmade rug, and a thrifted shower curtain.
So, what are you after? What do you collect? How do you display your vintage items? Please share and flood me with your ideas!
Thanks for stopping by!