When the time comes to decorate your own home, the hardest fact to come to terms with is you can’t always afford your expensive decor taste. Sure you want that silk lampshade with the gold trim, but you don’t want to remortgage to get it. An increasingly popular and on-trend option is to use vintage everyday items as decorative options around the house. When you start to think about, or investigate the items in storage, the attic or basement; you may be surprised by the potentially transformative items you find for your vintage decor.
Don’t picture your home resembling an antiques shop – that isn’t the plan. The idea is that vintage items more often than not will add charm, romance, and a sprinkle of personality. Of course the details lie in the key objects that are able to tell a story.
Here are a few simple and budget friendly vintage items which you will either have locked away or can get your hands on relatively easily; which can be used to transform the feel of a room.
Have you got any old luggage lying around covered in dust? You would be surprised how many of us do. Either stored away to be never used again, or at a relative’s home gathering just as much dust.
These old suitcases make versatile and fun interior elements. They are a great idea for not only storage but decoration as well. They can be on full display and can have a second purpose as a table base or a drawer chest. If the fabric of the suitcase is worn away or if the strap is falling to pieces then don’t worry; you can easily buy new fabric at a reasonable price. Or you can buy some new leather straps and sew them on yourself. Fear not, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a load of vintage luggage just lying around, there are so many places to find them. Start with relatives. If you can’t find any in the family there are no shortage of vintage fairs, thrift stores, estate sales, or even websites that have them. See Rules for Shopping a Flea Market for help.
When it come to your home the kitchen is, in my opinion, the most important space and as a result often the most chaotic. Keeping a kitchen clutter-free and making it look stylish is a conundrum that all home owners battle and which more often than not they don’t get right.
Using vintage items in the kitchen can accentuate the ‘country’ look of a kitchen or give it a trendy twist if you have a more contemporary overall feel. Ironically many of the most popular contemporary kitchen products have a retro/vintage design angle (SMEG fridges & Kitchen Aid mixers) for these exact reasons.
Don’t feel like you need to spend too much $$ on retro white goods to make your kitchen look amazing. Often smaller items can have just as big an impact. Think plates, bowls, knifes, tins etc. I do always suggest having an idea of the sort of item/s you are looking for prior to heading out on a shopping trip; as you can run the risk of mixing design ideas by having lots of little items on display. Kitchenware is actually one of the greatest items to look for at thrift stores and flea markets.
In 1920s the era of Art Deco and of La Garconne; make-up such as mascara and eyeliner became socially acceptable. It also became acceptable for women to take out their mirrored compact at a table and to powder her nose.
Move on nearly 100 years and these compacts and make-up accessories are serious collectors’ items. Firstly they are more often than not beautiful objects; hand-made with typically lots of period characteristics from fine materials. Secondly they are extremely versatile and whilst obviously fabulous on a night out are equally well suited as decorative interior items.
Vintage make-up compacts are an excellent way to add a touch of glamor to a bathroom or hallway table. They draw the eye and typically reflect light; which can work amazingly well with mirrors or other reflective surfaces. They can also work well as conversational pieces, guests to your house won’t be able to stop asking questions or trying to play with them.
Written by Nick Williams. Nick works at Mela Mela Vintage, a small vintage shop located on Teddington High Street, Greater London. Nick loves all things vintage, especially jewellery and watches.