Choosing to decorate your home in a vintage aesthetic can sometimes be a pricey venture. If you decide to renovate your home from top to bottom using only original and expensive vintage materials, then, of course, it could cost you’re a pretty penny. However, achieving such a highly-desired aesthetic needn’t be such a burden on your wallet. By prioritising big projects and being clever in other areas you can transform your home. You may be surprised at how options like upcycled furniture and cheap laminate flooring can work wonders for your space.
One of the easiest ways to create a sophisticated look without spending too much money is to upcycle your furniture. By stripping back old paintwork and varnish, you can create a blank canvass to work on.
Alternatively, you can hunt around second-hand furniture stores and flea markets for pieces of vintage furniture that could use a bit of love. It’s really not too difficult to learn how to sand down an old piece of furniture and give it a new coat of paint. You just to need to ensure that the techniques you use are tried and tested. Finding scrap pieces of wood to practice on could be hugely beneficial. Here’s a rough guide on how to prepare your furniture:
If you don’t wish to paint your old furniture items, but instead varnish them, the process is similar. You might even want to play around with wood stains to create some unique tints to your wood.
As thrilling as the hunt for a second-hand item can be, you may accidentally come across some duds. Coffee tables with broken legs and glass shelves with a hidden crack can all wreak havoc if knocked or exposed to pressure. When you go second-hand furniture hunting, keep your eyes peeled for a real steal. If you can’t fix it, or if you reckon it’s a lost cause, it might just belong in the scrap heap. Look for items that can be easily repaired or fixed.
Being choosey about your second-hand treasures also goes for any ornaments you might come across. Large, elaborate vases can create brilliant centre-pieces for coffee tables, and old chinaware can make your dining room appear instantly sophisticated. You can even use old teapots as flower-holders. However, remember to check-over any old items you pick up. They may be chipped or cracked, which might be impossible to fix, depending on what they’re made out of.
In fact, thinking small is what could really pull your retro aesthetic together. Picking out lots of small items, such as glass ashtrays, vintage revolving globes, artwork, and other glassware can collectively give your home an old-time design.
One easy way to achieve an elegant, old-school look is to add wooden flooring. Of course, before the 70s and 80s saw houses being clad from top to bottom in thick carpeting, the wood took the top-place for flooring in family homes. It’s easy to clean and wipe-down, and of course, much harder to stain after an accidental red wine spillage. Warm, earthy wood tones are also endlessly timeless and will survive to change interior design trends. Using modern wooden flooring will keep your home looking vintage, but without the old-fashioned drawbacks. Modern flooring will keep more heat in, and require far less up-keep. Cheap laminate flooring, for example, gives you a much more polished and smooth version of an old classic, and for a much more affordable price. They also provide a great base for fashionable feature rugs.
If your desire to get a vintage aesthetic into your home is down to a passion for a particular era, it could be time to do some research. Picking out which eras you most resonate with, and which designs you’re most drawn to could help you find a period to select from. Selecting original items from a specific era shows an attention to detail that can look effortlessly stylish. It also allows you to uncover unique furniture items and ornaments that you might not have otherwise hunted for. For example, researching the Art Deco era can uncover unique crockery, furniture, and artwork that could create a cohesive theme in your own home.
As we’ve just mentioned the advice to go specific, which era you go for could very well determine the pallet that you lean towards. For example, the 70s era enjoyed very distinctive shades of mustard, yellow, and orange, whereas the 80s went for striking contrasts of red, white, and black. However, if you want to achieve an old-time aesthetic without focussing on a particular era, it might be a good idea to go for a gentle colour pallet. Older interior designs tended to lean towards natural-tinted woods and lightly-painted walls. If you are going to go for era-specific wallpaper, be careful to not overwhelm your home. Ask yourself if authenticity is what you’re after, or just accents from the decade.
One of the easiest rooms to achieve a vintage look is perhaps the dining room. This is because your dining table can be dressed and decorated with vintage silverware, plates and serving utensils. Finding second-hand dinner-plate and cutlery sets will not only have an environmental benefit to them, but they will also dress your table in a way that stops it from being too miss-match. You can also find plenty of vintage glassware sets in second-hand shops.
What often gives a vintage home that warm, rustic aesthetic is the element of hand-crafted beauty. Old-fashioned designs were often borne out of an era when the disposable culture was a very distant future. Vintage homes were often full of furniture pieces that were seen as investments that were built to last. You certainly didn’t buy a sofa only to throw it out after two years, nor did you buy large appliances with the aim of chucking them out when they fell out of fashion. If you have the skills and means to do so, creating home-made furniture items could help to create that rustic aesthetic. Believe it or not, building and designing your own headboard isn’t too difficult
You may be wondering how it’s possible to find vintage appliances. After all, most houses can benefit from replacing old appliances. In fact, for most of your kitchen, it is a good idea to replace older items that might not be energy efficient. This can save you not only time, but also money. You won’t have to shell out for repairs, but also you may find your energy bills decreasing in size. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to find appliances with a vintage feel. Here are a few appliances to consider:
If you can’t afford a top-of-the-range mock-vintage oven, there are still plenty of ways of creating a retro kitchen. Hanging frilly aprons, kitsch oven gloves and ceramic ornaments will make any visitor forget that the oven has come straight out of 2019.
What vintage means to different people will of course change depending on who you talk to. For some, it means adding plenty of frilly details with ornaments that hark back to the days of rockabilly. For others, it means selectively choosing the best design features from each era. However, if the traditional image of vintage is just far too kitsch for you, then going regal could be a great retro alternative. When you go back through the decades, the eras of boom and bust created both decades of indulgence and minimalism. Selecting the best of the boom years’ design features will create an interior that’s fit for a king or queen. For example, adding some renaissance design is an easy way to add some regal Italian flare. Adding candelabras and accents of gold will give your home an exquisite touch. Meanwhile, using the roaring 1920s’ Art Deco phase will add metal accents with structured patterns. Creating a look that is both regal and sophisticated.
Going regal needn’t be an expensive venture, however. Browsing through charity shops should uncover plenty of old brass and metal items that can add a sparkling sheen to your interior. By investing in some metal polish and cleaner, you can restore them to their former glory.
What often signifies a by-gone era are the patterns and textures that were popular at the time. These were often transferred onto fabrics that either made their way into people’s everyday fashion or into the furniture and fabrics of their homes. Browsing through fabric shops and hunting through online retailers such as Etsy will help you to find a vintage pattern that you think could work in your home. After that, it’s a matter of figuring out how you’d like to implement it. The nice thing about working with fabric is that you are almost working with a blank canvas. You can use your sheet of fabric to create pillows, throws, or curtains. You could even use it to upholster reclaimed pieces of furniture; this way you can create the illusion of a furniture piece that’s fresh out of the original decade, but one that’s clad in clean, new fabric.
Adding vintage accents to your home doesn’t have to be about vinyl players and outdated floral patterns. Of course, what you end up adding to your home will depend entirely on your favourite decades and historical eras. Whether you like your kitchen kitsch or your living room decorated in regal glory. Decorating your home in vintage details is often about the thrill of the hunt and attention to detail.
*This is a guest post