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Getting to Know Your Vintage Décor Options

Don’t get us wrong, when it comes to decorating we love painting walls, picking out furniture, and settling on fabrics. And yet there’s always that feeling that we’re racing to get to that final step. We’re betting you know it well too: layering on the vintage décor.

As satisfying as that first bite of cake, piling in vintage décor is the undeniable poof-point in a room transformation. Suddenly, with the addition of boxes, textiles, and bookends, it becomes apparent that a room is of our own making; perfectly fluent in us.

While certainly transformative, delving into used décor can feel a bit like cracking open Pandora’s one (very cluttered) box. From wall décor to objects and oddities, what are the right pieces to factor into your space? To help, we’ve broken down the basics of secondhand décor below.

Tableware & Barware

While we love setting a table for a fete, we certainly don’t think the fineries should be on reserve for RSVP-worthy occasions only. Rather, try peppering your dining table, bar cart, and credenzas with celebratory pieces that doubles as everyday décor when not in use. Sound tricky? We, promise it’s not!

To nail the look, scout out used décor that speaks to your overall aesthetic. Have a French country kitchen? Look for that delightful pastel cabbage dishware, burnished copper pans, and rustic wood crates. Yes, these pieces will work wonders as part of a tablescape, but when they’re not in use, they’re also game for displaying on open kitchen shelving, pot racks, and overflowing hutches.

The key is rethinking utilitarian kitchen items as décor objects. A rustic crate set on a countertop is inspired when filled with extra white catering plates, as is a copper bunt cake pan when hung on a door with a length of tarnished rope.

Accents & Accessories

If we say gin, you’ll likely say tonic, and if you say décor, we’ll likely say, accents and accessories. The go-to category when it comes to décor, accents and accessories encompasses décor like bookends, paperweights, and good ol’ decorative objects. Purposefully decorative with no ulterior motives to speak of, these are the pieces most likely to add personal style to your space. Want to display a little quirk in a room? Opt for playful brass bookends shaped like ducks or stretching cats. Style a little more reserved than quirky? Then try out some marble obelisks.

Accents and accessories are also the ideal place to try out something a little unexpected as décor—say, a vintage model or toy. Use these pieces placed on coffee tables, corralled on trays, or styled on credenzas for max impact.

Organization

While we’ll admit that the filing cabinet doesn’t make much of a case for organization being stylish, plenty of other boxes, baskets, and magazine racks do. Fair game for not only offices, but living rooms, bedrooms, and entries, organization décor is perfect for stashing everyday necessities like electronics, handbags, and mail (you know, the kind of stuff you’d rather not have buried in a deep recess of the closet), while keeping appearances purely buttoned-up.

And thanks to racks and boxes rendered in pretty materials like brass, acrylic, and Lucite, options are plentiful. Not sure of the best vessel for your style of squirreling? Try any one of the following:

  • Use a bucket-style basket to hold kitchen spices (just be sure to mark the lids!)
  • Use a lacquer box on the coffee table to hide remotes
  • Use a coat rack in an entry for checking handbags
  • Use a hatbox in a storage-challenged powder room
  • Use a market tote hung on a door handle to store extra shopping bags

Textiles

When it comes to design, we all have to soften our approach sometimes. Thankfully, textile décor like throws, pillows, and table linens make easy work of it. While a room will function just fine sans textiles, there’s something infinitely inviting about a throw draped on a sofa or a few throw pillows tossed into a sunny window nook.

Pillows specifically are a straight-forward, relatively guess-less way to convey your chosen style. Classic prints like leopard and toile are universal ways to add an element of classicism to a bedroom or living room, while pillows crafted from worldly textiles like mud cloth or batik add instant boho appeal.