11 Affordable Ways to Give Your Home Vintage Charm
A vintage vibe can add panache and distinction to your home—and it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. With a little bit of time and creativity, you can create an antique ambiance without breaking the bank. Just follow these simple tips:
1. Transform your walls
Treating your walls is one of the easiest ways to bring vintage style into your home—and there are a number of cool, inexpensive ways to make a statement with them. You can hire a painter to cover your walls in rich colors like gray, brown, gold or pink, or you can paint wide black and white stripes above some DIY wainscoting. Wallpaper has recently made a big comeback, and there are countless vintage designs to choose from—from florals, to textures to the big, bold patterns of the 40s and 50s. Consider unique wall coverings like letters, lyrics, maps, and 3D wall panels to really individualize your space.
2. Hang old-fashioned frames
If you take the time to really look, you can find some fantastic vintage posters and frames at secondhand stores. You can also print your favorite artwork—in black and white or vibrant colors—and hang it in antique frames. Old maps, license plates, accessories, and signs can work well on walls or shelves. And if you don’t have any artwork or pictures to showcase, consider hanging empty vintage frames. They can be clustered together in interesting old finishes, or painted vibrant colors to give a modern edge. Framed fabric and wallpaper can also create a bold statement for little cost.
3. Use antique tiles
If you have a tile floor in the bathroom or kitchen, you can replace it with vintage-inspired ornamental tile, creating designs and patterns for a more dramatic effect. If you don’t have tile flooring in your home, consider hanging ornamental tiles on your walls or creating a mosaic on a dining or coffee table to be covered in glass.
4. Buy vintage linens
You can buy vintage linens such as pillow cases, blankets, and bedspreads in secondhand stores and showcase them in your bedroom or living area. Look for embroidered and patterned linens that show little wear. You can either choose one color scheme or mix and match colors together. If you want to spend the money, you can hire an upholstery professional to put vintage covers on your chairs and couches.
5. Put your pieces on display
If you have classic vintage pieces handed down from previous generations, showcase them on a shelf. Some of these pieces might include:
- Old cameras
- Stencil boxes
- Tea cups
If you don’t have any vintage pieces, you can find them in pawn shops, secondhand stores and flea markets. And if you can find vintage pieces you can also use, that’s even better. Sometimes you’ll find them for a steal; other times you might have to haggle a little. Just make sure that your pieces are actually vintage if you’re paying vintage prices.
6. Think big when it comes to accessories
Big accessories can make a big impact. Antique suitcases, for example, are beautiful pieces and can serve various functions. Since they come in different shapes and sizes, you can use them a side table, mount them to the wall as a shelving unit or hang them as a medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Or, you can simply put them on display. An antique rug can also be a statement piece, and they can last for many years without needing much in the way of care or repair. If you purchase an antique rug, make sure to have it cleaned and checked for bugs. If you don’t want to chance it, there are plenty of vintage-inspired rugs that will give the same effect.
7. Have a focal point
Create a vintage focal point in each room. In the living room, it could be a vintage couch with embroidered pillows, as well as artwork hanging above. In the bedroom, it could be a vintage bed frame, headboard and quilt, or old-fashioned end tables. For your bathroom, consider installing a vintage mirror.
8. Reuse a fireplace mantel
If you have a fireplace, you can replace your modern mantel with an old wooden one from an antique or second hand store. Or, you can repurpose an antique mantel to make a headboard, a small end table, a coffee table and so on. The possibilities are limited only by the size of the mantel you find, the kind of wood it’s made from and how much restoration it will need. Be prepared to repair, refinish, or sand a headboard to renew the wood and make it work in your home.
9. Use accent lighting
Use accent lighting to create ambiance and bring attention to your focal points. Vintage lamps are easy to find and can go a long way in creating an authentic vintage touch. The softness of accent lighting will bring a warm glow to any room.
10. Know which style you want to pursue
There are different vintage home design styles, the two most prominent of which are industrial and retro. Industrial is all about dark wood, leather, and cast iron. Retro centers on pastels and shabby-chic-style fabrics. You can choose which style to bring into your home, or you can choose not follow any kind of style. Mix and match whatever you please, especially if you’re accenting your home decor with vintage pieces rather than dedicating your design completely.
11. Be creative
Don’t be hindered when you are redesigning your home with vintage decor. Experiment with rugs, pillows, walls, and other accessories that have vibrant colors, artwork, prints, or patterns. Vintage design really isn’t about matching. Do be careful not to go overboard: if you do, your home might appear cluttered and be overwhelming to visitors.
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