Best Vintage Room Decor Ideas for an Antique Home

Vintage room decor brings a unique charm and timeless elegance to any space. If you’re captivated by the nostalgia of bygone eras and want to infuse your room with a touch of vintage flair, you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog post, I break down some of my favorite vintage pieces and where to find your own! I also include creative ideas and tips for incorporating vintage elements into your room decor, creating a beautiful and nostalgic ambiance that celebrates the past.

the vintage aesthetic

The Vintage Aesthetic In a Modern-Day Home

All my life I’ve had one dream. To live in a huge, old home from the 1800s that I slowly and beautifully transform and restore to its former glory.

Rustic hardwood floors, intricate trim work, antique pots and pans hanging from a brass rail… That’s ME to a tee.

In 2020, we bought our first real home, a 2005, very builder-grade craftsman! I’ll be honest, the area we live in has almost no old homes left and the ones that aren’t 1,000 miles from civilization are $$$$$$!!! I knew that my ultimate dream would have to wait, BUT I have found that the vintage aesthetic can easily be used in newer homes too!

2005 craftsman

I always like to honor the style and era a home has in its bones, so although I am obsessed with vintage decor, I didn’t want to incorporate the vintage vibe in a way that seemed forced or out of place!

This post will show you some of my most favorite vintage room decor pieces that can be incorporated into a home of any age and style!

What is the Vintage Aesthetic?

I’ve gone over this in a few other posts but when most people hear the word “vintage” they think: old. 

That’s not the actual definition of vintage! When an item is referred to as vintage, it means that it is older than at least 20 years but not more than 100 years! Once an item is 100 years or older, it is considered antique.

However, when most people use the term vintage, they just mean something is an older item that is somewhat iconic or rarer to find in the current day. Some items aren’t actually vintage at all but simply made to replicate a vintage item. These items are termed retro.

The vintage aesthetic for home decor is all about capturing the essence of past eras and infusing your space with a nostalgic charm.

It draws inspiration from different time periods, such as the Victorian era, the roaring twenties, the mid-century modern era, or even the bohemian styles of the 1960s and 1970s.

Key Characteristics of Vintage Design

Here are some key characteristics that define the vintage aesthetic:

  1. Timeless Elegance: Vintage decor exudes a sense of timeless elegance. It embraces classic design elements and quality craftsmanship that have stood the test of time. This aesthetic often includes intricate detailing, ornate carvings, and refined finishes.
  2. Antique and Vintage Furniture: Incorporating antique or vintage furniture is a fundamental aspect of the vintage aesthetic. Pieces with history and character, such as a vintage dresser, an Art Deco armoire, or a mid-century modern sideboard, become focal points in the room.
  3. Retro Patterns and Textiles: Vintage decor often features retro patterns and textiles that evoke a sense of nostalgia. Think floral prints, bold geometric designs, or delicate lacework. These patterns can be incorporated through wallpapers, upholstery, curtains, or throw pillows.
  4. Distressed Finishes: Weathered or distressed finishes are common in vintage decor, as they add a touch of authenticity and character to furniture and accessories. The worn patina on wooden surfaces or the chipped paint on vintage frames contribute to the overall vintage appeal.
  5. Vintage Art and Decorative Accents: Vintage art pieces, such as black and white photographs, vintage posters, or oil paintings, bring a sense of history and storytelling to the decor. Additionally, vintage-inspired decorative accents like porcelain figurines, antique clocks, or retro telephones contribute to the overall vintage aesthetic.
  6. Warm and Earthy Color Palettes: Vintage decor often embraces warm and earthy color palettes, such as muted pastels, deep jewel tones, or warm neutrals. These colors create a cozy and inviting atmosphere while complementing the overall vintage vibe.
  7. Mix of Old and New: Achieving a vintage aesthetic doesn’t mean your entire space needs to be filled with solely vintage pieces. Mixing vintage finds with contemporary elements can create a harmonious balance. Combining antique furniture with modern lighting fixtures or adding a vintage-inspired accent to a minimalist space can add a unique touch.
  8. Attention to Detail: Vintage decor is known for its attention to detail. From intricate moldings and carved accents to delicate trims and embellishments, every element is carefully selected to showcase the craftsmanship and artistry of the past.

Why Buy Vintage Items Over New?

For years I rushed the process of selecting items for my house. Sometimes this was to meet an immediate need but other times I just wanted to feel that room was DONE.

vintage floral nursery

What I found over the years is that the items I bought quickly, even the pricier items from big box stores did not bring me the joy and satisfaction of waiting for the perfect piece...

Over the years, my favorite items (that I look at and smile and just feel so good about!) have always been antiques, pieces that I found at crazy prices at thrift stores or on FB marketplace!

I am so passionate about vintage home decor and I think the process of the hunt, waiting for the perfect piece, and getting it at an awesome price is the best way to source items for your home! 

Where To Source Vintage Room Decor

Have you ever been at someone’s house and fallen completely in love with a piece of furniture they have and when you ask where they got it, it’s an antique?! It’s the purest form of jealousy. But also, the best feeling when you snag one of those statement pieces!

Antiquing takes a great amount of time and energy and you definitely don’t hit the jackpot every time. BUT, if you are consistent and wait for the right piece, you will be rewarded eventually!

So where can you find those one-of-a-kind unique pieces you are dying to have in your home?! Here are my top places where I hunt for vintage items:

1. Local Antique Shops

Antique shops are a great place to look for some truly unique vintage pieces. Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to find a GOOD shop. My family lives in Wisconsin and for some reason, there are a lot of GREAT antique shops in their area!

We live in North Carolina and for whatever reason, it’s taken me a long time to find good quality antique shops that aren’t majorly overpriced. That said, I have made it a point to periodically try out a new shop and have been able to find a few that I love!

When you shop at an antique shop, you have to understand that the owners likely know the value of the items they are selling. They are specifically branding these as antique pieces. This can make the price tag shoot up! Don’t get jumpy! If you aren’t 100% sold on an item, come back a few weeks later and see if it’s been marked down.

2. Flea Markets

Flea markets are another fantastic place to look for antique or vintage items and often they are a bit cheaper than an antique shop. This is because many of the vendors are trying to clean out their inventory and are willing to haggle a bit.

If I’m honest, I haven’t mastered the art of flea markets just yet. It’s hard for me to attend pop-up events with 3 toddlers in tow. However, if you do plan to visit some flea markets, I’d suggest going to one that is specifically marketing antique and vintage pieces. Sometimes there are general merchandisers that are basically just selling a lot of junk and it could be a waste of your time!

3. Estate Sales

I have lucked out several times at estate sales. This beautiful earthen pottery from England was purchased at an estate sale for $12!

vintage earthen pottery

It can be difficult to find estate sales, but I’ve found the best place to look for them is on Facebook marketplace! I simply search “estate sales” in my zip code and usually can browse through some pictures of the estate and get an idea if they have the vintage aesthetic I’m searching for.

4. Facebook Marketplace

That brings me to another one of my favorite places to look for vintage pieces: Facebook marketplace! 

I’ve sworn to my husband that I’d delete my Facebook if I wasn’t so addicted to Facebook marketplace. 

NOTE: My top tip for finding the best vintage items on Facebook marketplace is to start hitting the save button on any items you like! For instance, if you are searching for something like “vintage dresser” and several dressers pop up that are too far away or overpriced BUT you like the look of them, hit the save button! This tells Facebook the style you are looking for, and it will start showing more of those items in your marketplace feed! This REALLY works!

Salvation Army, Good Will, and Other Thrift Stores

I have had some major luck with antiques at thrift stores! This is usually the way to get items for far cheaper because often the thrift store isn’t aware an item is an antique or maybe just isn’t seeing the full potential an item has!

vintage wood buffet

I recently got this gorgeous buffet at Habitat for Humanity for $165 . There are a few thrift stores I periodically check for items. Most of the time, there isn’t much, but every once in a while you will find that diamond in the rough for an amazing price!

Online Antique Shops

I’ve recently begun to dabble in the online world of antique trading and purchasing! It’s so cool that this is even an option now. Keep in mind, this is likely not the CHEAPEST way to get antiques since you have to pay the shipping on top of the item’s price. BUT, it’s such a great way to find a specific item you have been searching for.

Here are a few of my favorite places to buy antiques online:

Vintage Keepers– An online vintage marketplace with everything from textiles to furniture to kitchenware!

Knosen Antiques– Specializing in antique English pine items! If you have your eye on a vintage pine box bed, you have to buy as quickly as they post!

Etsy– Always a top source for all things vintage and antique.

How to Create a Vintage Feel In Your Home

Ok, so maybe you are like me and LOVE vintage decor but aren’t sure how to give your house that vintage vibe. Here are a few of my favorite ways to add a subtle vintage aesthetic throughout the home!

1. Incorporate Vintage Furniture

One of the easiest ways to achieve a vintage look is by incorporating antique furniture pieces. Look for classic designs with ornate carvings, claw feet, or distressed finishes. A vintage-inspired dresser and bedside tables, an old-fashioned vanity, or a charming armchair can instantly transform your room into a nostalgic haven. Spice up an office space by sourcing antique desks instead of new ones!

I love to incorporate at least one vintage furniture piece in every room. The mix of a more ornate/antique statement piece with the more minimalistic style of the 21st century is a slam dunk every time!

2. Decorate with Vintage Art

Look for vintage posters, black and white photographs, or wall art that evoke a sense of nostalgia. Create a gallery wall with a mix of vintage frames to showcase your collection and add a touch of vintage charm to your room.

If you browse my blog for any amount of time, you will see my vintage art obsession is out of control! Vintage art can be insanely pricey! This is why I am always on the hunt for vintage art at thrift stores. (P.S. Check out my post HERE about how to make your own vintage art diy using my FREE vintage print collection!)

3. Use a Paint Color That Adds Warmth and Character

Vintage paint colors play a crucial role in achieving an authentic vintage aesthetic in your home decor. They help evoke the charm and character of different eras, creating a nostalgic ambiance.

Here are some popular vintage paint colors that can enhance the vintage vibe in your space:

Soft Pastels:

Soft pastel colors are commonly associated with vintage aesthetics, particularly from the 1950s and 1960s. Think pale mint greens, powder blues, delicate pinks, and buttery yellows. These colors create a light and airy feel, reminiscent of the retro charm of mid-century design.

Earthy Neutrals:

Vintage decor often embraces earthy neutral tones, such as warm beiges, muted grays, and creamy off-whites. These colors provide a versatile backdrop that complements vintage furniture and accent pieces, allowing them to take center stage while maintaining a sense of elegance and timelessness.

Jewel Tones:

Rich jewel tones add a touch of luxury and opulence to vintage-inspired spaces. Deep emerald greens, sapphire blues, and ruby reds can be used as accent colors on walls, furniture, or in decorative accessories. These colors were prevalent during the Art Deco era and bring a sense of glamour and sophistication to a room.

Check out my post HERE about my favorite mid-tone paint colors to help bring a vintage vibe to your walls!

4. Incorporate Wooden Elements

Antique wood pieces are one of my favorite ways to bring warmth and depth into a room. Whether it’s a beautiful antique wood buffet or an antique cutting board, dough bowl, rocking horse, etc… the list can go on!

One thing I’ll add is that the chalk paint craze is coming to an end! Don’t get me wrong, there are times it is totally appropriate to paint a wood item. If the wood is damaged past all repair, or the shade of wood isn’t compatible with your design, etc… But, in 2023 consider leaving that beautiful wood piece unpainted and let its vintage character shine through!

5. Source an Ornate Mirror

Vintage mirrors have been having a moment for some time now. Many stores such as Anthropologie, Arhaus and Pottery Barn have attempted to replicate the unique style that an ornate gold mirror can bring to a room. There are a lot of great vintage mirror replicas, but I also ALWAYS see these beautiful gold framed mirrors at my local antique shop. 

I have a mix of retro “replica” ornate mirrors and actual vintage pieces in my home. Check out my post HERE for Anthropologie primrose look-alikes

6. Utilize Antique Metals

Vintage-looking metals can add a touch of authenticity and charm to your home decor. 

Here are some popular metals with a vintage aesthetic and ideas on where to incorporate them:

  1. Unlacquered Brass: Brass is a classic metal often associated with vintage aesthetics. Its warm, golden hue and patina develop over time, creating a sense of aged elegance. Incorporate brass in vintage-inspired light fixtures, drawer pulls, candle holders, or decorative accents like trays and picture frames. Brass can also be used in faucets and bathroom fixtures to add a touch of vintage luxury.
  2. Copper: Copper has a timeless appeal that adds warmth and character to any space. Consider incorporating copper accents in vintage-inspired kitchenware, such as pots and pans, utensils, or even a copper farmhouse sink. 
  3. Wrought Iron: Wrought iron has a romantic and nostalgic feel, often associated with vintage-inspired designs. Incorporate wrought iron in vintage-style chandeliers, bed frames, wall sconces, or decorative accessories like candle holders or plant stands. The intricate designs and sturdy craftsmanship can bring a touch of vintage elegance to any room…
  4. Silver: Vintage silver, whether sterling or silver-plated, adds a touch of elegance and refinement. Incorporate vintage silver in decorative items such as antique silverware, tea sets, trays, or picture frames. Vintage silver candelabras or candlesticks can also become stunning focal points on a dining table or mantelpiece.

Revive Vintage Textiles:

Vintage textiles can play a significant role in capturing the essence of a bygone era. Start by picking a color palette that is mainly neutral with pops of color.

Look for floral patterns, polka dots, vintage linens, lace doilies, crocheted blankets, and vintage-inspired fabrics to create unique accents. Incorporate them through throw pillows, curtains, or even reupholstering furniture for an authentic vintage touch.

Add Vintage Lighting Fixtures

Lighting is a crucial element in setting the mood of any space. Vintage-inspired lighting fixtures such as chandeliers, brass lamps, or pendant lights with a retro design can add a nostalgic ambiance to your room.

Consider using warm, soft lighting to create a cozy vintage atmosphere. Natural lighting is always the best lighting so avoid any heavy draperies or window treatments. Let natural light filter through and use vintage lamps to create a cozier vibe in the evening! Check out my post HERE where I link some of my favorite vintage lighting options!

Incorporate Retro Wallpaper or Patterns

Wallpaper is another extremely popular item for 2023! While some people are saying it’s too trendy and not good for resale, I mostly disagree! Wallpaper has been around forever! It frequently goes out of style for a few years and then pops back up, stronger than ever.

Wallpapers with retro designs or vintage-inspired patterns can instantly transform the look and feel of your room. Choose wallpapers with delicate florals, geometric shapes, or classic damask motifs. Alternatively, use vintage-inspired stencils to create patterns on your walls, adding depth and visual interest to your space.

Add Vintage Trinkets, Ceramics, and Decor Items

vintage room decor

My husband lovingly refers to my vintage trinkets as my tchotchke shop. That’s ok because I get complimented on my tchotchkes every day! (Love you, babe!)

If you have bookcases with space for display, open shelves, a credenza, alcove shelves, or really any blank space in your home, try displaying vintage items to add a nostalgic vibe to your home!

Here are a few of my favorite vintage trinkets to display. These are items I ALWAYS look for at antique shops and I frequently find them!

  • Vintage Candle Holders
  • Decorative Busts/ Statues
vintage room decor
  • Vintage books
  • Ornate vintage frames
vintage room decor
  • Antique pottery or vessels
  • Vintage ceramics or Metal molds
  • Wood or metal Bookends
vintage horse bookends and old books

With these creative ideas and tips for vintage room decor, you can infuse your space with the charm and elegance of a bygone era.

Remember, vintage decor is all about embracing the past, curating unique finds, and creating a nostalgic ambiance that reflects your personal style. Let the magic of vintage room decor transport you to a time of timeless beauty and grace. As always, decorate in a way that brings you joy!

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other vintage decor posts below!

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One Comment

  1. I love this post! I am a huge fan of mixing vintage with contemporary styles and this is all great advice. I especially love the vintage cigar cabinet and mirror!

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