While an interior filled with A-lister furnishings hints at first-class taste, personal touches are what ultimately make a house a home. Whether you choose to display personal photography projects or family vacay shots, sticking your pics into vintage and antique picture frames can curate unrivaled character. From Mid-Century Modern photo frames to timeless Art Deco variations, we delve into different types of vintage and antique picture frames (and the best ways to style them) below.

Dark green paint, built in bookshelves, and a vintage picture frame cover the walls of this Dallas living room
Design by Meredith Ellis Design / Photo by Read McKendree

Mid-Century Picture Frames

While modesty is a dominant feature among most mid-century modern furniture, some of the era’s picture frames are surprisingly funky. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find frames with an embellished, gilt trim or an ornate Murano glass form. That said, most MCM picture frames come in simple, rectangular shapes and pair well with vertical, professionally-taken portraits. So, why not give nostalgic portraits from those now-defunct mall photo studios a glamorous second life? Mid-Century Modern picture frames are perfect for the task.

A single vintage picture frame is superimposed onto a built-in bookshelf in this living room nook
Design by Skin LLC / Photo by Andrew Miller

Victorian Picture Frames

In line with the lavish design ethos of the Victorian era, the period’s picture frames flaunt ornate floral designs, fleur de lis motifs, and gold embellishments galore. The emotive essence of Victorian picture frames means they’re ideal for complementing photographs documenting big moments. Try filling them with emotion-stirring snaps from your wedding day or graduation. In general, antique picture frames from the Victorian era also come in a wide array of shapes. Curate a gallery wall of personal photos by interspersing ornate oval frames with square frames. The mix of silhouettes will lend a space coveted, old-world glamour.

Summer Thornton layers different vintage picture frames on the wall of this eclectic maximalist dining room
Design by Summer Thornton Design, Inc. / Photo by Josh Thornton

Art Deco Picture Frames

Art Deco style is characterized by luxe materials, rich, gemstone-inspired palettes, and machinist-style symmetry. Following suit, Art Deco picture frames are ideal for lending a worldly, grand flair to any interior. Even the most unassuming photos are instantly elevated when placed in a vintage gold picture frame or geometric, quartz design. Another Art Deco design that’s common is frameless frames. Borderless frames are propped up by two pieces of glass or acrylic and a pedestal base. Their minimalist design also makes them a smart choice for pared-down offices and bookcases.

Lead image by Katie Charlotte


File Under

June 24, 2022

Chairish is the design lover's indispensable online source for chic and unique decor, art, furniture and home decorating inspiration. Shop our expert curation of exclusive and diverse inventory with 1,000+ new arrivals daily. Happy hunting!