How to Make Vintage Decor Work in Your Home

I love new things for my home. Better still I love finding old-new things for my home. Vintage treasures can work beautifully alongside modern pieces. If you love vintage decor but live in a more contemporary setting, you can still make it work. Mixing and matching is a lovely way to make a home feel more unique. Here are some tips to make vintage decor work for you and your home.

Why I Love Vintage Home Decor

I love finding the perfect piece for a room, especially if it’s something I’ve had in mind for a while but haven’t been able to find.

Sometimes it’s easy to style a room, things click into place, and a corner can take on a lovely coordinated look without much thought.

Other times, things just don’t sit nicely together, and it takes a bit of time to get everything just right.

I’ve had that quite recently with our sitting room.

I have lots of cushions on the sofas in there but wanted something a little bit different for my favourite chair. I had tried various cushions with it but none of them really floated my boat and were just what I wanted. I was after something quite unusual — wasn’t sure what though.

Then one day, when I was thrifting in my local charity shop, I found a beautiful original piece of embroidery that had been repurposed and made into a cushion cover.

To say it’s beautiful is an understatement. The craftsmanship is extraordinary.

How to Make Vintage Decor Work in Your Home
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
How to Make Vintage Decor Work in Your Home
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

There are so many modern alternatives out there. In places like IKEA for example (and I’m not knocking it — we all know how much I love IKEA). But they’re mass-produced (by machine) and are just not quite as beautiful. 

The needlework on this piece is exquisite. Someone obviously spent a long time creating all those tiny stitches! My granny was a talented embroiderer — we’ve got quite a few pieces that she crafted — perhaps that’s why I was drawn to it.

Getting the Mix Right

I LOVE vintage finds for my home. Don’t get me wrong — I love modern pieces too — but mixing things up gives your home a unique personality. Too much matchy-modern will have you feeling like you’re living in a show home.

But, too much vintage style will make your home feel like an antique shop.

An eclectic mix of the two is the perfect combination. Strike a balance between old and new, and you’ll have a gorgeous home that reflects your personality.

Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Tips To Make Vintage Decor Work in Your Home

1. Buy Things You Genuinely Love

Begin by selecting vintage items that you LOVE.

Things that resonate with your personal style and preferences. Look for pieces from different eras, such as antique furniture, retro accessories, vintage artwork, or classic appliances.

Pay attention to the quality, craftsmanship and condition before you buy.

2. Mix and Match

Vintage decor often works best when mixed with other design styles.

Combine vintage pieces with modern or contemporary elements to create an eclectic and balanced look. For example, pair a vintage wooden dining table with sleek, modern chairs or combine a retro-inspired wallpaper with minimalist furniture.

3. Choose Your Colour Palette

Consider the colour palette associated with the vintage era you wish to evoke. Different decades had distinct colour schemes, so you can choose hues that were popular during a specific time period.

For instance, pastel colours, such as dusk blue and pistachio, evoke a 1950s aesthetic. While rich jewel tones bring a Victorian or Art Deco vibe.

4. Curate Your Vintage Pieces

Curate your vintage pieces carefully and use them as focal points within a room, to create visual interest.

A well-preserved antique armoire, a vintage chandelier, or a unique mid-century modern sofa can become the centerpieces of a space and add a touch of history and character.

My friend Caroline does this so well in her beautiful Brighton townhouse.

How to Make Vintage Decor Work in Your Home
Caroline’s beautiful Brighton home.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

5. Embrace the Patina and Wear

Vintage items often carry signs of age, which add authenticity and a lived-in feel to your decor.

Embrace the patina, scratches, and imperfections that come with vintage decor, as they contribute to the overall charm and character of the piece.

6. Display Your Collections

Vintage decor can make an interesting collection you can put on display.

Whether it’s antique porcelain, vintage cameras, or retro vinyl records, displaying your collections adds a personal touch and sparks conversations.

7. Check Out Your Local Thrift Stores and Flea Markets

The art of thrifting is a fantastic way to bag a unique vintage decor piece.

Explore charity shops, flea markets, estate sales, and online marketplaces to find unique vintage pieces. These places often offer affordable finds and hidden treasures that can complement your decor style.

Keep an eye on Facebook Marketplace too. You’ll often see some cracking bargains there. ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, as they say!

8. Incorporate Vintage Textiles in Your Interior Design

Textiles play an essential role in vintage decor. As with my beautiful embroidered cushion, the craftsmanship in many vintage decor textiles is second to none.

Look for vintage-inspired or authentic fabric too, particularly floral prints, bold geometric designs, or intricate lacework.

Incorporate vintage patterns using curtains, upholstery, throw pillows, or vintage-inspired wallpaper. The wallpaper in our bedroom, for example, is a modern design but has a lovely vintage feel.

How to Make Vintage Decor Work in Your Home
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Remember, choose your vintage decor wisely — from the heart — to create a cohesive look that reflects your personality and creates a warm and unique atmosphere in your home.

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Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.

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