The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Baskets
Two of the most versatile items in the home? Vintage baskets and boxes. Perfect for stashing odds and ends, as well as curating lovely vignettes, used baskets and boxes hide clutter with aplomb while appearing nothing but calm, cool, and collected. Ideal for every room in the house—from casual playrooms to glamorous home offices— vintage baskets and boxes come in a wide range of styles. To learn about some of our favorite basket shapes, along for some unexpected ways to use them, read on below.
Vintage Basket Shapes
With so many different basket shapes available, it can be difficult to choose your soulmate. So don’t! Rather, mix and match secondhand baskets in a multitude of shapes and materials to give your home a perfectly styled (and enviably collected) feel.
Rectangular Basket: Vintage rectangular baskets tend to be sturdy, handless baskets and come in a wide variety of sizes. These baskets are often crafted of hand-woven wicker or rattan materials. Their primary shape makes them perfect for storing blankets, pillows, or toys. Alternatively, use small sizes to organize office accessories directly inside a desk drawer.
Bucket Basket:Far from just another drop in the bucket, bucket or circular baskets are available in a multitude of materials, including wicker, seagrass, or (our favorite) canvas. Often featuring handles, this shape of vintage basket is ideal for storing items that rack up frequent flier miles in the home, including laundry and toys.
Handled Basket: You may not have considered a vintage handled basket since the heyday of country style, but these utilitarian baskets can actually look remarkably chic when used as part of coastal, cottage, or French country decor. The key is to look for baskets with gracious proportions, ideal for displaying produce in the kitchen, or fresh cut flowers awaiting an arrangement.
Plate Basket: Typically crafted of soft, fibrous reeds, these low, saucer-like dishes are frequently Native American in origin, but can also be sourced from other parts of the world including Africa. Dying techniques give these baskets a colorful appearance, making them ideal for coordinating with color schemes. While they won’t be doing any disguise-work, these flat baskets are perfect for displaying bold jewelry like African currency beads or sea glass shards. Use them in an area where the tactile display will be fully appreciated, like an entry or on a coffee table.
Repurposed Baskets: You might not have an orchard in your backyard, but that doesn’t mean an old apple bushel or two wouldn’t be an inspired addition to your kitchen or entry. Use one to store spices in a French Country-inspired kitchen, or use several in a mudroom to create an inspired place for turning in keys, mittens, and mail. Not into the apple-picking vibe? Try repurposing a vintage picnic basket or fishing creel.
Unusual Ways to Use Vintage Baskets
Use a Vintage Basket as a Planter
We love the look of greenery set in a mod ceramic planter, but when it comes to using the combo indoors it can sometimes feel a bit too heavy. To counteract this, try using a plant potted in a vintage bucket basket. The basket’s fibrous exterior will play off the plant’s natural texture and set the stage for other uber-tactile textiles like Moroccan rugs, wooly sheepskins, and hides.
To pull of a mix of both style and functionality, look for large baskets with tight weaves that will camouflage a sheet of landscape fabric or burlap used to line the basket interior. Also place a clear plastic drip guard under your basket. These come in a variety of sizes, so you should be able to grab a size that sits flush with your basket sides (meaning it will be virtually invisible).
Lastly, opt for a plant that has limited water needs like a snake plant, fiddle leaf fig, or tall cactus so dripping water isn’t always at hand.
Use Vintage Baskets as Wall Art
If you love the look of a gallery wall, but the thought of collecting all those prints and paintings sends you into tailspin, try opting for a collection of vintage baskets instead. Easily bought by the bundle flat, saucer baskets are best for this project. Arrange baskets in a varying number of sizes and colors above a piece of furniture like a dresser or console for a look that feels age-worn but was really a cinch.
If the look feels a little stagnant to you, try arranging the baskets in a tight, cascading formation. The effect will mimic sculptural metal wall art à la C. Jere, but will maintain a thoroughly rustic feel. Alternatively, you might try factoring in a few straw hats for an eclectic vibe.