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Vintage For the Home

Updated on December 29, 2010

go vintage without looking outdated...

     We’ve all walked into that outdated home that looks like it hasn’t even see daylight since sometime around the end of the disco era and can be a little unsettling at best, downright creepy at worst. But as vintage lovers we probably all wish we could have picked through some of the furnishings to add them to our own casa (leave the green shag carpet – it’s probably seen too many parties to salvageable). The key to incorporating vintage into your home is to try to not overdo it so that the overall look is up-to-date with some throw back appeal; make the pieces you select be showcased by not being lost in a sea of vintage clutter.

     Aside from that there are no “rules” to creating a vintage vibe to your home whether it’s a studio apartment or a multi-bedroom home; just like vintage clothing it’s about your own unique and individual taste. Some people choose themes such as owls; this helps tie together collected pieces throughout the home. Another option is to go with certain fixtures or appliances such as clocks or lamps. For most though, it is about finding pieces that speak to you and adding them proudly as décor or conversational pieces to your home.

     The best advice I can give is to make sure the knick-knack you spot you love enough to want to see in your home every single day. There are plenty of fun, kooky, kitschy pieces worth admiring then returning to the shelf for just the right person to come along. The velvet green frog wall hanging may grab your attention but if you hate it in a week better to pass now.

     Another thing to take into consideration is safety concern when it comes to anything electrical. Most stores have outlets to try things out, or if you buy online read the fine print to make sure it states whether the piece is in working condition. Don’t panic – even if the appliance is not working consider whether it can still function as décor only, can be used for another purpose (such as gutting a desk clock to hold pens) or, if it is an absolute must-have that also must-function, look into the cost of getting it rewired.

     Of course vintage accent pieces mixed with new ones can be a way to keep from overdoing the idea; vintage canisters in a modern kitchen, vintage light switch plates, or using a framed collage of vintage postcards to dress up a bathroom wall do a lot without going overboard. If you are shopping online do a little research before buying. By either browsing sites like etsy or ebay to see what keywords are used in the titles and descriptions of items you like can help narrow down an otherwise daunting task. Also spending some time at bookstores and scouring home décor books will help with terminology as well. Are you looking for a 1970’s sunburst clock? If so price compare as well – a lot will vary with age, condition and brand. When buying online watch for words like retro or other terms that mean this piece looks like a vintage piece but is nowhere near as cool as the original it was modeled after.

     Other than that, have fun. There are so many great things to find out there – things you may never have thought of. And remember the broken pieces need a good home too. So get creative and redesign a broken piece to either work as décor or serve a new function – almost anything can be the base to hold pens, forks or even flowers. My two favorite places to buy online is still etsy or Posh Vintage (http://www.poshvintage.com/prod_gen.cfm?catid=1015 ) . But I must admit, this is one area where I would almost rather scour the endless isles of thrift stores and let my imagination run wild – unless I am looking for  a specific piece like a mushroom shaped cookie jar or a pop art print tablecloth.

which one is the vintage piece?
which one is the vintage piece?

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