New, Vintage and Antique Signs


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Enthralling your walls has never been easier! For those who are on the hunt for wall art, but feel uninspired by the cache of run-of-the-mill paintings, prints, and photographs, original vintage metal signs may be the perfect fit. Unique and attention-getting, vintage wall signs are ideal for adding whimsy to any room.

Hunting for retro wall signs, but not sure where to begin? Shopping for classic tin signs can be a time-consuming affair. Between tracking down the right size and theme, there are often issues of rust, dents, and warping to contend with. Painted tin signs often showcase paint loss, too. This is all to say: unlike standard wall art like paintings, vintage wall signs often require some considered decorating.

For instance, discover a vintage tin sign you love only to find that it’s too small to hold its own in your intended space? Try outfitting it in a floating frame. Go big with a white mat and opt for a white frame to create a piece that will seamlessly blend with your walls, or spring for a vintage gilded frame to embrace a more antiquated aesthetic. Want even more inventive ideas for decorating vintage tin wall signs, including ideas on how to use old farmhouse signs, road signs, and more? Read on for our smartest strategies!

Decorating with Vintage Farmhouse Signs

In truth, vintage farmhouse signs don’t have to be peddling farm fresh eggs to be considered legitimate farmhouse signs. Signs advertising any service, so long as the exterior of the sign maintains an aged, rustic-like appearance, can fall into the farmhouse camp. One caveat, depending on your preference, is whether or not farmhouse signs must be made of wood. In our book, we maintain no rules, but purists may require wood construction in order to consider it a true farmhouse sign. Worth noting is that wood signs are much heavier than wood signs and will require extra reinforcement to hang. Since many vintage farmhouse signs advertise produce, the kitchen is an obvious place to display them, but entryways and mudrooms can also make befitting spots. In a garden, one large sign or several small ones can be hung on the side of a storage shed to add whimsy, too.

Decorating with Old Business Signs

Perhaps no original vintage metal signs are more sought after than old business signs. Often showcasing unique silhouettes that hark back to the services offered—think shoe-shaped signs for cobblers, glasses-shaped ones for optometrists—these signs evoke the sort of quirkiness that top designers love to incorporate into their designs. Prop one of these signs on an entryway console in lieu of a traditional art piece to make an unexpected statement. Business signs can also be an excellent option for art used between a kitchen and a living room in an open concept space. Since most kitchens naturally have a more industrialist feel (thanks to the appliances), a vintage wood or tin business sign can strike just the right chord between industrial and homey.

Decorating with Vintage Letter and Numbers

Among the most impactful vintage wall signs are letters and numbers. Whether you opt for wood letters, functioning marquee lights, or old metal marquee shells to spell out words or phrases, these vintage wall signs will imbue your space with loads of dimension and character. To up their impact even more, consider using mismatched letters. Don’t feel limited to horizontal layouts, either. Stacking letters to spell out words vertically can be an easy way to create visual interest. Set on spelling out a certain word or phrase with retro metal letters, but can’t find all the letters you need (or not fond of the idea of selling out the cash for each one)? Create your own sign by adhering a portion of the letters to a chalkboard surface (either painted on a wall or a board). From there, fill in the missing letters with artfully drawn chalk letters!

Decorating with Vintage Road Signs

Reserve vintage road and construction signs for those areas where you can really have some fun with thematic design, such as a playroom or child’s bedroom. If you want to go subtle with the theme, choose one oversized reproduction vintage road sign to hang over a bed or dresser. Accent it with salvaged decor in complementary hues, such as old metal gym lockers or toolboxes refashioned as storage vessels. For those who want to lean into the theme more, consider assembling a gallery wall out of old road signs. Make sure they vary in size and color to procure the most compelling effect.

Decorating with Vintage Brass Plaques

Although some might argue that they’re not technically vintage signs, vintage brass plaques can be incredibly fun to decorate with, earning them a rightful spot on this list in our book. Vintage brass plaques display especially well in rooms with brass fixtures, such as powder rooms or kitchens. Since brass plaques tend to be small, take care with where you place them so they look intentional. If you find a plaque you love and all else eludes you, embrace their original purpose and nail them to the front of a door!