Do you love vintage colors, fabrics and furniture? Do you regularly watch movies from the 1950’s or 1970’s and wish you could have been around to take advantage of certain looks that appeared and disappeared a long time ago? Here’s the answer: bring some of that past into your home with great finds from garage sales, flea markets or granny’s attic to create a personalized living space that has a vintage flair without being a reproduction or looking like a movie set.
From thrift stores to specialized fabric shows, you can find a vintage fabric you love to enhance your space. Slipcovers sound dreary (yes, they have always been with us and no, they have not always been stylish or even attractive) but they can actually be stunning. Would you like a little 1940’s cottage flair? Simply buy vintage barkcloth and have slipcovers made (or make them yourself if you sew) and turn that boring chair into a riot of colorful lilies and fantastical fronds that will be a beautiful focal point. Use the same barkcloth for accent pillows on a contemporary couch – the contrast is great. If you want a kitchen that evokes that mythical past of mint-colored ranges and housewives in pearls, consider dotted swiss café curtains or hand-embroidered tea towels.
Old lamps and ceiling fixtures give any room a feeling of the past. From glass or porcelain gas lamps for a low-lit dinner to the wildest of huge Italian glass 1960’s lamps, you can easily bring a bit of the past into a contemporary setting. According to CNN, you should definitely buy a pair of vintage lamps if you can find one since the odds of two of something surviving 60 or 70 years are slim; don’t be bothered by tattered shades – it’s the lamp bases you want to focus on, since you can easily find an appropriate new lampshade.
Wrought Iron Garden Furniture
While this lovely, graceful style of garden furniture is seriously sturdy and can still be found, you will pay a premium price for it at an antique store, whereas you may just luck into a great buy at a garage sale. Despite all the lacy curlicues, this furniture was meant to be outdoors and it’s built to last. Usually just a little sanding and a coat of spray paint are all that’s needed to create the perfect setting for a Downton Abbey al fresco tea or a place to relax with a book.
Collections tend to be very personal, and you can reflect your own passions in your collections. A writer might have a display of vintage typewriters (found for $80 – 250 and up); they are marvels of efficiency and good looks with history to spare! How many people already know that Remington made a bright red “portable” typewriter in 1932? Other great looking personal collections include antique cameras, kitchenware, barware, tools and time pieces – from grandfather clocks to pocket watches. What’s your passion?
Do you love disco but don’t want to go all out for a strictly 1970’s look? Luna Bazaar said, “Consider a hanging mirror ball for a spot of disco whimsy in the living room.” If you drool over mid-century, you can easily find a kidney shaped coffee table or a walnut framed Scandinavian chair to add to your eclectic style and hint at a time-gone-by. If you want a bit of Victoriana, consider thick fringe and pulls for your drapes.
Mirrors and Frames
Vintage mirrors, frames and paintings can all be found for reasonable prices if you haunt your local thrift stores and flea markets. Perfection is not the point: so what if that 1920’s mirror has a few dark speckles or that pastoral painting from the 1800s has a little fading in one spot? After all, it’s these imperfections that show this newfound treasure has a real history! Scrumptious art nouveau frames can still be found in relatively good shape (if you’re handy with wood putty and paint, you can make them look new again – but why would you?).
And if you are too busy to spend days picking through potential treasures or aren’t sure exactly where to start, the Huffington Post publishes a weekly blog about vintage treasures. Happy hunting!