There may have been an incident once (just once, I promise!) where I was accused of overdosing on vintage. My particular drug is anything made between 1940 and 1965, or thereabouts. I will occasionally divert from my path, but ask anyone: You won’t make it through a single room in my house without seeing something at least twice my age.
Now, I realize this aesthetic isn’t for everyone. I may be one of the few people around who thrills at the sight of a genuine 1987 ALF lunch tray. I have a collection of sunburst clocks, I’d knee you in the rib to get at that enameled table, and I'm having to find newer and more creative uses for each art deco wardrobe I bring home.
If you like certain parts of the vintage look, there are ways to incorporate just bits and pieces into your décor -- and while some of them are purely decorative, others can be functional as well as pretty. Here’s my list of the top 5 (and I hope you appreciate just how hard this was to narrow down for you, missy!):
Breadboxes, Bins, and Canisters -- I’m a hunter, so while these are all over eBay, I almost never purchase from there unless it’s something I absolutely can’t pass up. Prices on these items have nearly tripled in just the last year, except at thrift stores and yard sales. Often in excellent condition, you can use them for how they are intended (canisters for coffee, tea, sugar, flour, and even grease exist!). I mostly use them for other purposes. My compartmentalized breadboxes hold craft supplies like yarn, fabric, and notions. Those, like the one pictured, hold other art supplies: paints, brushes, adhesive, beeswax -- you name it, it’s in there.
Milkglass -- I’ve been fascinated with milkglass since I was a little girl at my grammy’s house -- and it’s never changed. (I won’t divulge the size of my collection.) Milkglass was amazingly cheap to produce, and as a result, for a while it seemed everything was made of it: lamp bases, planters, vases, sugar jars, lamp shades, plates, cake stands ... everything. My favorite use for milkglass, and the one I think is most sensible, is as planters or vases. I like to plant succulents in them and line them up along a windowsill or group them on a table.
Hardware and Doorknobs -- If you’ve never been to a salvage yard, you must. The last time I went to my favorite one they had giant brass organ pipes! As much as I wanted to, those just would never do in my home (or even get in my home for that matter). But I also found some amazingly beautiful hinges, doorknobs, and drawer pulls -- and not at chi-chi antique store prices. There were doorknobs with gorgeous faceplates as well as ones that were just knobs -- which means they should fit in any door with ease. Decorative hinges for some of my older cabinetry built before the inner hinges came into fashion, and drawer pulls for the hutch I’m rehabbing. They came in everything from glass to ceramic to even milkglass. (Oh! And keyhole plates too -- I’m thinking imaginary entrances in a kid’s playhouse?)
Vintage Tea Towels -- I promise, they aren’t all orange mushrooms with pea-soup green borders. Both traditional tea towels and feedsack are hot right now, and many of the older ones (you may even have a set in your attic from a grandparent) are large enough to turn into something new. Find a really pretty or unique pattern to use as a centerpiece on a throw pillow -- a lot of the embroidered/lace towels are really nice for a neutral palette. If you have windows with diner-style curtains, a couple of matching (or not!) towels stitched together make a unique set of curtains. You could even turn an entire set into a baby quilt or table runner!
Iron -- Wrought or cast, there is a very good reason this vintage throwback has never gone out of style. You can never ever go wrong with cast-iron cookware -- and here comes the frugal in me again -- the best place to find it is yard sales and thrift stores. Every time I walk into Goodwill, there's something new in the frying pan section. Thanks to them, I now own several very nice pieces of cookware. But iron has also been gaining in popularity -- indoors. This is another good time to hit the salvage yard for a deal. A wrought iron gate makes a lovely headboard, once it’s been cleaned and sealed. And can you imagine how gorgeous it would be as a trellis -- or even tomato cage? This one is at the top of my gardening wish list for sure.
These are just a very few of the vintage items you could easily work into your décor, no matter your style. I didn’t even get to put down all my other ideas: cloches, mercury glass, lighting ...
What kinds of pieces are you incorporating into your current style that are standouts from other eras?