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How to Decorate Vintage Style

Updated on May 21, 2017
Faye Rutledge profile image

Faye loves to help her daughter decorate the rooms in her old farmhouse and to share what they have done with others.

Ideas for Decorating Your Home in a Vintage Style

Vintage decorating is fun and easy! On this page you'll find ideas on how to decorate your home in a vintage style, including the living room, kitchen, laundry room, bedroom, den, and even your bathroom.

Whether you want to give a vintage feel to your entire home or just one room, it can be accomplished easily and inexpensively by shopping flea markets, yard sales, antique stores, and even in your grandma's attic! Posters & tin signs are another money saving idea.

The suggestions on this page will get you started, but you are sure to think of more on your own. Let's take it room by room.

The Living Room

Lace doilies, antique vases, cabbage rose and calico print fabrics are must haves in your vintage living room.

This chair has a slip cover made of a vintage cabbage rose design fabric and footstool is in a floral print. Vintage framed photographs, side table and tea set, lace scarf, antique vases, and cute kitty complete this room.
This chair has a slip cover made of a vintage cabbage rose design fabric and footstool is in a floral print. Vintage framed photographs, side table and tea set, lace scarf, antique vases, and cute kitty complete this room.

Decorating Tips For the Living Area

Cabbage roses and calico prints were the going thing in the 30's and 40's! You may not want to paper your living room in cabbage roses, but you could upholster a chair or just cover some throw pillows in coordinating designs. Lace doilies, lamps, head vases, and a variety of nick knacks were usually found in the living room. Browse antique shops, flea markets and yard sales for just the right things. You can also find replicas of vintage items at very reasonable prices.

The chair in this photo is an old chair that has been re-upholstered in a cabbage rose print fabric. A coordinating floral fabric was used for the footstool. You can also use a cabbage rose fabric for throw pillows, window treatments, and throw rugs. You could make a wall display (shown below) of photographic prints.

If you have a fireplace, add vintage fire andirons, hand wrought tools, bellows and foot long matches. If your home doesn't have a fireplace, you can purchase an electric fireplace to give the room that comfy, cozy feel. Combine old with new, by adding vintage framed photographs, glass vases, and bowls. I love the little cat in front of the fireplace!

This chair is actually in a bedroom at my daughter's home, but the same idea would apply for a living room.

The Bedroom

Vintage linens, feather beds, unique lamps, old dolls, women's hats, and antique photographs.

Vintage dresser with unique accessories
Vintage dresser with unique accessories

Accessories Make the Difference

I love this vintage white dresser! This dresser was found at a local used furniture store! Stuck in the mirror are a couple of greeting cards found at an antique store. It's amazing how just a small thing can make a big difference in your room. Also, the cute straw hat, vintage lamps, dolls, and other accessories make for a beautifully decorated dresser.

Use Your Linens for a Vintage Look

Transform your bedroom into vintage style with linens! Quilts, eiderdown comforters, afghans, a featherbed, and piled high pillows will put you well on your way to the vintage look. The Shabby Chic style would be a great choice for a vintage bedroom.

Other suggestions: doilies on the dresser and chest, bowl and pitcher, baby cradle with antique doll. Ideas for walls: floral art prints or family portraits in antique frames.

Romantic Rose Quilt Set

5pc Chic Shabby Romantic Rose Bedding Quilt Set Full/Queen
5pc Chic Shabby Romantic Rose Bedding Quilt Set Full/Queen

I love this pretty bedding set. It has antique pink cabbage roses and green leaves on an ivory color background. It reverses to a tiny rose striped design. Fine stitching, 100% cotton. This set Includes the full/queen size quilt, two pillow shams, and two decorative pillows. Also available: bed skirt, curtains, and valance in the quilt's reverse side design.

 

Add a Rose Trellis

This rose trellis in her bedroom is a nice touch. Note the hat lamp shade on the side table and doll lamp behind the bed. These were found at a consignment shop.
This rose trellis in her bedroom is a nice touch. Note the hat lamp shade on the side table and doll lamp behind the bed. These were found at a consignment shop.

Unique Vintage Idea

I love the unique idea of a rose trellis in the bedroom! This is an old trellis from my daughter's front porch that was no longer in use, so she used it just like it was, and added silk flower garlands.

More Ideas

My daughter painted this old deacons bench that was on her front porch and added pillows she covered in vintage style fabric.
My daughter painted this old deacons bench that was on her front porch and added pillows she covered in vintage style fabric.
The framed floral prints on the wall above the bench make a beautiful display.
The framed floral prints on the wall above the bench make a beautiful display.

Framed Floral Prints

These floral photographic prints were in a book of prints found on sale in a local paint store. The frames were purchased at a local discount store.

This beautiful floral prints wall display was very inexpensive, but looks wonderful.You can easily find a wide variety online. They are very inexpensive. You can purchase the prints and frame them yourself or buy them already framed.

This idea could be used in a living room, bedroom, or den.

The Kitchen

Vintage aprons, mixers, enamel ware, Fiesta-ware, canning jars, milk bottles, iron frying pans, salt & pepper shakers, mercury glass, and butter churns are all easy to find in consignment shops that feature "old stuff".

Decorating Ideas for the Kitchen

A vintage kitchen is the most fun to decorate! You'll need to shop the antique stores and flea markets to get the real thing (or eBay), but you can also find many new items that will serve as well.

Look for any of these: blue speckled enamelware, fiesta ware, colored depression glass (cranberry is a favorite), Bakelite, salt glazed pottery, and mercury glass. Kitchens usually had blue or red and white enamel pots and canister sets. And, don't forget iron frying pans!

Also, look for vintage egg beaters, salt & pepper shakers, salt cellars, butter molds, tin breadboxes, colored canning jars, milk bottles, butter churns, vintage mixers, and antique cookbooks.

If you can find any, feed sacks were found in all kitchens with a variety of uses, including dish towels, aprons and clothing.

Use colored or clear canning jars for storing dried beans, etc. and add a lid cover made of calico or feed bag material and some ribbon.

Ideas for walls: vintage tin signs or display a collection of vintage aprons, plates, or appliances on your kitchen wall.


Use These in Your Vintage Kitchen

Cookware
Tableware
Other
Blue speckled enamel
Fiestaware
Old egg beaters
Blue or red enamel
Colored depression glass
Canning jars
Bakelite
Mercury glass
Tin bread boxes
Salt glazed pottery
Red enamel canister sets
Milk bottles
Iron frying pans
Salt & Pepper shakers
Vintage aprons
Vintage appliances
Salt cellars
Tin signs
 
 
 

Iconic Vintage Kitchen Design Ideas

You will love the video below if you're looking for design ideas for your kitchen. Many of the suggestions I gave you above are carried out in the kitchens shown in this video. I loved seeing many of things I grew up using.

Bringing Back Memories

Vintage is all about bringing back memories.

A Hoosier cabinet is my all time favorite trip down memory lane. Add blue willow china and an old-time kitchen table.

Remember Hoosier cabinets?

A free-standing cabinet, made in the 1900s to 1930s, were generally called Hoosier cabinets. They were very handy and were found in many kitchen's much longer than the 1930s. My mom used one in the 1950s when I was a child, and I had one myself in the 1970s.

If you have room in your kitchen, one of these cabinets would make an awesome vintage decoration. You can usually find one at an antique store or used furniture store at a reasonable price. It will probably need to be restored, but it will be beautiful when it's finished. If you enjoy restoring furniture, this would make a great project. I believe you can still purchase a new Hoosier cabinet also.

The Laundry Room

Display a wooden ironing board with a calico, floral, or ticking cover in your laundry room. Or, cover your own board if you can't locate a wooden one. Also, display a clothespin bag with clothespins, a washboard, or old tin washtub! Ideas for walls: a vintage laundry room tin sign (I love these) or hang vintage items on the wall.

Laundry Room Decorating Ideas

The video below shows some amazing ideas for decorating a vintage laundry room, using some of the ideas I mentioned above. I love the unique ideas for laundry tubs, scrub boards, clothespins, and wooden hangers. Who says a laundry room has to be dull?

The Den

Vintage toys, games, and collectibles, old tin signs.

Ideas For the Den

Decorate a vintage den with antique toys, games, and collectibles. What is your passion? Here is the place to display your collectibles. If you are looking for vintage ideas, you're probably a collector of something vintage! The variety is wide and you can include more than one theme. Display your collectibles in cases, on bookshelves, or tables. The possibilities are endless. You can find these at flea markets, antique stores, and yard sales. eBay also has many vintage toys. An example is shown below.

Tin Signs in a Shadow-Box Table

My daughter placed vintage tin signs, license plates, and other memorabilia in her shadow-box coffee table for an interesting display.
My daughter placed vintage tin signs, license plates, and other memorabilia in her shadow-box coffee table for an interesting display.

The Bathroom

Give a vintage look to a bathroom with a collection of mustache cups or shaving mugs with brushes and a razor strop, a collection of small vintage prints or tin signs.

Vintage Bathroom Design Ideas

The video below includes a slideshow of different vintage bathrooms. These will give you some amazing ideas. Many include a claw foot tub, of course. One of my favorites features a wall of vintage mirrors. Love it!

Summary

To summarize, I've presented on this page, vintage decorating ideas for your home, including the living area, bedroom, kitchen, den, laundry room, and bathroom. Vintage usually includes cabbage roses and calico, along with a lot of "old stuff" (either authentic or copies) and collectibles of some type. I hope these ideas will help you.

© 2009 Faye Rutledge

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    • profile image

      DebMartin 3 years ago

      I'm not too big on frills, but I love, love, love the vintage stuff. I've inherited a lot of vintage and try to use it as much as possible around my house. I'm especially in love with the colored depression glass.

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

      I love vintage art and photos. The idea of decorating home with vintage theme sounds wonderful!

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 3 years ago from Havre de Grace

      So pretty, I love the look!

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 3 years ago

      Thanks for sharing some unique and thoughtful ideas on vintage decorating! I love them. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      ShelbyLinMarie 3 years ago

      Thank you for the ideas! I adore the flea market/vintage style of decorating.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      Oh, I am all over this style! I love, love, LOVE it! My house is totally cut out for it too, and you just gave me a couple of really good ideas here! :)

    • profile image

      Ibidii 4 years ago

      My Mom still has a phone from the 80's that does not let you press one for option features. I have tried on all her phones and it does not work. I think it is a 2 wire instead of a four wire house! I love the coffee table with items inside. I saw some on take their Father's [WWI] uniform and decorations like purple heart, and the hat etc. It made a great display. I love the aprons on the wall. I featured my Grandmother's apron and potholders she made in the 50's and 60's. Awesome Lens! :D

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Vintage dcor is my favorite. I like vintage kitchen dcor, tins, bowls and gadgets. I especially like the roller knife sharpeners.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love decorating with vintage items, especially in my kitchen. I love to collect old aprons, milk glass and vintage cook books.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What a comfortable homey feel you have created with a vintage style that is ageless. I did a double take on that white dresser because I thought I was in Mom's bedroom. I remember the ladies wearing those aprons when I was growing up and got to thinking of Grandma, Helga, Einee and other ladies with old time names that always had a freshly ironed apron on. Sweetness! :)

    • JeffGilbert profile image

      JeffGilbert 4 years ago

      There's a lot of very nice ideas here. I loved the phones... :) Great lens!!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I especially love the pretty bedroom!

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      I love the Hoosier cabinet. I think it would be perfect in a breakfast nook.

    • mommycapri profile image

      mommycapri 4 years ago

      Those tin signs are adorable! Gives me so many new ideas for my own home. Thank you for sharing!

    • KayeSI profile image

      KayeSI 4 years ago

      What lovely ideas! I especially loved the cabbage rose goodies. And that bedroom trellis backboard! Too adorable. Thank you.

    • profile image

      antoniow 4 years ago

      Fantastic lens, Squidlike!

    • profile image

      bagelmanmarc 4 years ago

      Great idea for a lens and very nicely executed. Nice work.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      @randomthings lm: Thanks, randomthings, for your visit and comment. Vintage decorating is so much fun! The hunt for unique items is the best part. This ideas are limitless.

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 4 years ago

      Very cool ideas. I'm thinking of redecorating my living room...but needed some inspiration. This helps.

    • MrMojo01 profile image

      MrMojo01 5 years ago

      Some good ideas here!!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      @anonymous: Thanks for your visit and comment. I'm glad these decorating ideas were helpful to you. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a wonderful lens with many great ideas. I especially appreciate the money saving tips. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Vintage look bedroom has an air of sophistication, looks elegant and classy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Vintage look bedroom has an air of sophistication, looks elegant and classy.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Lots of nice ideas for a vintage look. I made a lens on Scroll Wedding Invitations, another idea of vintage designs. Then the newlyweds can come here to choose their décor. : )

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      @dellgirl: dellgirl, thanks so much for your visit and comment. I'm glad you liked these vintage decorating ideas.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these gorgeous 'Ideas for Decorating Your Home in Vintage Style'. They are absolutely beautiful!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image
      Author

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      @ClassyGals: ClassyGals, Thanks so much for your visit, comment, and blessing!!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I love decorating with vintage pieces, the vintage rose prints are especially lovely. Angel Blessings**

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 5 years ago

      One way to give your den a vintage look is to replace your phone with a vintage rotary dial phone.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 5 years ago

      Just stopping by to let you know that I have featured this page on my new: Decorating with Irises lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very lovely vintage decorating ideas!

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Love those vintage tin signs! Nice article.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      Another lovely lens. What a great idea to feature those aprons! Some people are very creative.

    • profile image

      nursecraft 5 years ago

      I like the idea of decoating with a vintage theme! Nice lens!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I love decorating with a sort of vintage cottage chic look.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Nice decorating ideas! I have a very eclectic decorating theme in our house, a bit Shabby Chic and Vintage, mostly European style.

    • profile image

      MintySea 5 years ago

      very cool, vintage can be very green as well and save money

    • Kandy O profile image

      Kandy O 5 years ago

      I'm doing my kitchen in a vintage theme and this lens just made me more excited for it!

    • pangaloon profile image

      pangaloon 5 years ago

      I am so in love with vintage themed rooms. It is so easy to achieve on a small budget too. I often rummage through carboot sales to get bargains. Great lens too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love this Lens!

    • christabel2 profile image

      Christabel 6 years ago from UK

      Great info. Good to know. Thx

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      very interesting lens. thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love this lens. We bought a cottage in 2 acres of woods last year and are still decorating it. Thank you for the ideas! Bookmarked.

    • robinrags profile image

      robinrags 6 years ago

      Very nice idea for a lens

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I would feel quite comfy in a nostalgic room like these, but my husband just thinks "clutter." Still I manage to sneak in some vintage touches.

    • theonlineanswer profile image

      theonlineanswer 6 years ago

      Great resource for vintage décor.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      A little bit of vintage is great mixed in with newer décor. One of my friends used a few old vintage aprons as a valance in her kitchen.

    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 6 years ago

      Vintage isn't my thing, but these things were pretty cool.

    • LiquidGranite1 profile image

      LiquidGranite1 6 years ago

      I like the "old" decorating idea in kitchen. It's like a personal touch.

    • profile image

      pacevedo1968 6 years ago

      Grate ideas and info

    • profile image

      bmarinacci 6 years ago

      We bought a vintage home 4 years ago and are having great fun coming up with "new" old decorating ideas. Your site is full of ideas. I put together vintage pictures on old dictionary pages and am always looking for ideas. I'll scour your pages to learn what the trend is. Thanks for bringing in so many ideas.

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 6 years ago

      great designs...^_^

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 6 years ago from New York

      I love vintage. Many of my cooking tools are now considered vintage and many of them came from my mother who is 90 years old, so I guess they are considered antiques now. Occasionally one will break (they don't last forever, but 60 sometimes plus years is a pretty darn good run for the money. So many of these old kitchen tools work so much better than modern ones that I scour garage sales, consignment shops, etc. looking for replacements if I have lost one to old age. Nice lens - it's right up my alley.

    • MamaBelle profile image

      Francis Luxford 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Love vintage art and design! Great lens.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love anything vintage. I thought I had that as my theme in my old home. Just love them but had to let them go.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love anything vintage. I thought I had that as my theme in my old home. Just love them but had to let them go.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Vintage collections do make a room or home more relaxing with a look of peaceful retreat. Great tips especially on the kitchen for those who cherish vintage décor.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I grew up in the 60's and 70's but my surroundings were more 30's to 50's and now in the modern millennium I miss my childhood memories. Your lens is fabulous, it gave me such a warm feeling.

    • desilegend profile image

      desilegend 6 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by. Loved the lens and congrats on getting so many trophies.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      I love the aprons on the wall!Blessed today by this Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      Obscure_Treasures 7 years ago

      I found lots of useful information, great lens, Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I am fascinated by vintage things. They are so interesting and always tell a story!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      It never stops fascinating me how many people love the old and are able to replace modern things with antiques. Great lens. Blessed and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I have lensrolled you on my Rosie the Riveter lens! Great job :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great lens. I've found ir really interesting.By the way, I've just found this blog on similar topic, it's about antique glass bottles It seems pretty good.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Very cool ideas! I've lensrolled you to my Vintage Magazine Ads and my Decorating 1950s Living room lens.