How to Create a Vintage Look & Transform Your Home

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012

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Interested in learning how to create a vintage look for your home? The goal is to create a space that whispers style instead of screaming costume. From how to subtly incorporate colors and prints into your present scheme to weaving classic dishware into your baking library, we’ve got the best tips for creating a fresh vintage look.

It’s Not a Costume Party 

Remember this! So many people seem to layer vintage in their homes like too much perfume, and the result is a heavy and museum-like setting that wholly contrasts the chic elegance that vintage embodies. Instead, treat vintage home decor like you would any statement piece in your clothing wardrobe. Pair attention-seeking artwork with a subtle table or match a striking Mid-Century sofa along a muted wall and with end tables that support rather than upstage the star.

vintage art print
Art Smart

Consider using a treasured storybook or calendar as wall art for a unique vintage look. Art prints can be scavenged from greeting cards and then framed for a quick display, while favorite advertisements can be printed and then mod podged into a modern tin or serving tray.
vintage pyrex and decals
The Collected Kitchen

Dishware and utensils can serve as a surprising contrast to modernity when sprinkled into a contemporary dinner service. Or perhaps you’ll keep a coordinating collection of Pyrex dishes in the cupboard, great for the occasional barbeque craving just a little more oomph and vintage ooh-la-la.
Love your vintage Pyrex? Learn how to make vintage-inspired decals for your KitchenAid or other appliances via Silly Pearl.
vintage print
Get Your Colors Done

For a non-costumey approach to vintage, choose colors that were popular during the decade you like best. The 1960s loved their orange and brown, and the 1950s stood for aqua and bold reds. Playing with this color scheme and adding a few popular prints from that decade like the 1970s tie-dye and paisley or 1940s gingham will create a vintage-inspired look that hints to another era.
Learn more about the popular colors and prints of the 1950s from Retro Planet.
Walled In

Wallpaper was a common and inexpensive home decor fall-back for the last few decades and can offer homage to vintage without overwhelming a space, if done on just an accent wall and paired with an uncluttered room arrangement.
repurposed vintage luggage table
You Big Lug

What served one purpose in the 50s serves another today, and so the midlife "career change" is another common trend in creating a vintage look. Here, luggage creates a tall entrance-way table, great for organizing and adding warmth to an often narrow and ill-defined space. But don’t get stuck with just repurposing luggage. Consider other vintage favorites like soda crates or even large appliances like a teal ice box.
sunburst mirror
Nothing New Under the Sun

Star and sunburst mirrors offer vintage home decor that can directly translate to the modern living room or entrance way without any reinterpretations. Other smaller pieces that can easily slip into a room for just a touch of that vintage look without looking out of place or outdated include wall clocks, dress forms and even some lamps. Just remember: we said some.
Make a mirror with a vintage look with this free how-to from House Revivals that was featured on CraftFoxes.
recovered arm chair
A New Look

A classic silhouette can whisper Mid-Century while wearing a lush chenille or sleek cotton twill. (Note: Naugahyde was a fact of the past and a mistake in the present.) Or, find a vintage scarf or advertisement to adorn to a modern piece table via Mod Podge.

Image credits (from top): The Locker, Chronically Vintage, Silly Pearl, Retro Planet, Grasscloth Wallpaper Free, The Locker, House Revivals and Eclectic Revisited

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