Designing your home

What’s Old is New Again: Vintage Home Design Ideas

Do you picture musty furniture, doilies, and potpourri when someone says ‘vintage’? If so, it’s time to think again. Vintage doesn’t have to look outdated or unstylish. In fact, when you get the balance right between old and new, it can look elegant and charming. Here are some vintage home design ideas to bring a sense of romance and tradition into your home – without feeling like you’ve time warped into your granny’s house.

What is vintage, exactly?

There’s no strict definition for ‘vintage’ when it comes to interior design but, generally, ‘vintage’ furniture pieces are between 30 and 100 years old. Any older than this, and they’re classed as antique. A vintage style doesn’t exclusively refer to furniture, and can include fabrics, knick-knacks, colours and patterns. Embroidery hoop art, decorative plates, and claw foot baths all complement the aesthetic. Colours tend to be soft, with splashes of creamy yellow, pale blue, lavender, and mint green. You can achieve the look by mixing patterns, especially those featuring birds, butterflies, and botanical prints.

You might recognise items from your grandparents’ house in this list, but that’s because interior design trends are cyclical: what was trendy in that generation is again surging in popularity. You call the shots though, as to how much or how little of this style you bring into your home.

Incorporate vintage with style

To pull together a vintage look, you could choose a specific time period and select pieces exclusively from that era. For an easier approach, combine pieces from different eras and tie the look together by using a similar colour palette. The look doesn’t have to be overwhelming: you could reserve the vintage aesthetic for just one room, or simply display a few well-chosen accessories.

Not everything has to be decades old either. You can evoke vintage style by adding contemporary pieces with a timeless feel, like furniture with distressed edges, floral wallpaper, or a chenille throw blanket.

Why embrace vintage?

Vintage can look quirky and romantic, and lets you unleash your creativity. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, so you can let your personality shine and be as eclectic as you’d like. The best part about vintage is that it’s great for your budget. By purchasing pieces at garage sales and antique shops, you generally pay far less than you would for contemporary, mass-produced furniture.

What’s more, choosing vintage pieces is great for the environment, as you’re saving older furniture and accessories from going to landfill. And if you enjoy getting crafty, you can rejuvenate well-loved items by giving old furniture a lick of colourful paint, re-upholstering vintage furniture, or framing antique prints.

Where to find it?

Finding great vintage pieces is like a never-ending treasure hunt. Your best bets are second-hand shops, antique stores, and the homes of older family members who are downsizing. You might also find hidden gems at fairs, markets, or garage sales.

Let’s break it down, room by room

Ok, you know what vintage is and where to find it, but how can you bring the aesthetic into your home without going overboard?

In the lounge and dining rooms, you could add a touch of yesteryear with:

    • vintage lamps
    • rugs
    • an accent chair in an iconic style
    • vintage suitcases stacked to make a side table
    • large trunk re-purposed as a coffee table
    • vintage tin signs
    • weathered mirrors
    • vintage globes.

The kitchen is probably one of the easiest rooms in the house to decorate in this aesthetic. Consider:

    • open shelves with vintage knick-knacks or crockery on display
    • pretty floral or botanical wallpaper
    • vintage salt and pepper shakers, bread boxes, and butter tins
    • canisters for coffee and tea
    • vintage aprons
    • antique cookbooks.

Create a vintage look in your bedroom with:

    • a charming dresser with vanity
    • four-poster or cast-iron bed
    • antique vases or sets of glassware
    • old trinkets
    • crocheted doona.

Just make sure you don’t use all these ideas at once. It’s best to add just a few touches for a charming yet quirky look.

A Final Word

Embracing vintage style doesn’t mean you have to forego modern luxuries. This style actually looks best when paired with the sleek backdrop of contemporary architecture. G.J. Gardner Homes has a range of modern and stylish home designs that would make a vintage look ‘pop’. Get in touch with your local team for more ideas and inspiration.