When we say “vintage,” do you picture poodle skirts or flapper dresses? Whether we’re talking clothing design or interior design, there are a lot of ways to go vintage. One vintage style might lead to your dream home while another would lead to your personal house of horrors (imagine vintage dolls everywhere — yikes!).
To find the perfect vintage home decor to match your personal style, explore these vintage interior design ideas and get our styling tips to pull off each look.
The many styles of vintage home decor
Whether you want grandeur or simple elegance, there’s a vintage home decor style to match. Here’s a look at some of the most popular interior design aesthetics and the vintage finds that make them complete.
Traditional vintage home decor
Traditional design is an all-encompassing term that refers to pretty much any decor style that originated before the 1900s. If you want home to feel like you’re stepping into the pages of “Pride and Prejudice” or “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” then you’re looking for a traditional style.
Because many styles existed before the 1900s, there are a few ways to capture a traditional look. The most recognizable distinctions will be between an ornate baroque style and a paired-down neoclassical style.
In baroque-style traditional design, you’ll find curved silhouettes, elaborate scroll work, and regal damask fabrics. In neoclassical style, you’ll find simpler patterns (like stripes and plaid) and much cleaner lines. But unlike modern clean-lined design, you’ll still get little flourishes of fine craftsmanship. For example, instead of a simple round tapered leg on a dresser, you might see a carved square tapered leg.
Right now, American Colonial design is experiencing a resurgence, and it’s strongly influenced by neoclassical style — yeah, there are styles within styles. We could go on and on, but let’s be real: We all want to get to the fun part — shopping for adorable vintage home decor.
Get the look
To add this Old World look to a new home, look for local estate sales or head to an antique store. If you’re located in the Mid-Atlantic or North East, you’re in luck. Local antique stores in these parts of the country tend to be rich in American Colonial furniture and accessories.
Curate a collection of your favorite vintage pieces, then fill out the rest of your room decor with new pieces of furniture made in the traditional style. Here are a few of our favorite pieces to add to a traditional style home:
- A tufted leather living room set: This Victoria Rolled Arm Sofa with a matching loveseat and accent chair makes us feel like we’ve stepped into a gentleman’s library in an English country manor.
- A rolling bar cart: You may not have a butler to bring you your afternoon tea or evening cognac, but you can still keep the tradition alive with this two-tier bar cart, featuring turned wood legs and gold accents. Top it with a cut crystal decanter and vintage glass highballs for elegant entertaining.
- A wrought iron candelabra: Skip the chandelier and opt for a candelabra — an electric version, of course. We may love classic style, but we’re not willing to sacrifice modern convenience.
French country vintage home decor
As the original shabby chic-style, French Country decor is the precursor to that farmhouse look you see all over Instagram. This style is rustic yet elegant. The silhouettes of the furniture are often curved but without a lot of other embellishment.
The overall aesthetic is inspired by the way French country peasants once lived. You’ll find slightly faded floral fabrics, furniture with the paint artfully worn away, and well-loved kitchen decor like striped tea towels and a cast iron pan that seems to have a permanent place on the stove top.
Get the look
Scour your flea market for the perfect secondhand pieces — bonus points if they already look well loved. Continue your hunt at consignment shops and antique stores where the pieces have been painted and refinished (as opposed to left in their original condition). Next, head to your local furniture store to find new pieces designed in French Country style. Here are some must-haves:
- Vintage water pitchers: Whether they’re made of metal, glass, or stoneware, pitchers are a classic part of French Country decor. Use one on your kitchen counter to organize your utensils. Then, fill a second with fresh cut flowers and make it the centerpiece on your dining table.
- A white and wood dining room set: The Simpson 6-piece Rectangular Dining Set includes an upholstered bench and chairs with a two-tone table featuring antiqued white table legs and a contrasting dark wood top. It’s the perfect place to put that water pitcher full of flowers.
- A mirror gallery wall: Skip the framed photos on your gallery wall and curate a collection of vintage mirrors. Hang them on a wall in a darker part of your house and they’ll add more light to the space and serve as beautifully unique wall decor.
Art Deco vintage home decor
If you’ve hosted more than one Great Gatsby theme party, you’re ready to go Art Deco. Emerging in the era of flapper dresses and champagne coupes, Art Deco style is all about glamour.
You’ll find lots of gold, glass, and crystal paired with decadent fabrics like velvet and fur. Natural wood tones aren’t a common sighting. Instead, this vintage style opts for bold jewel colors and elaborate geometric patterns.
Get the look
Art Deco is another classic interior design style that’s experiencing a resurgence, which makes it easy to buy new furniture designed in this style. But it’s harder to find it in flea markets and antique stores.
There is, however, one vintage item from the Art Deco era that’s plentiful in antique stores: champagne coupes. Look for colorful vintage glass coupes, and you’ll know you’ve found something authentically Art Deco. Aside from champagne coups, add a few of these items to your shopping list:
- Art Deco bedroom set: The Formosa Platform Bedroom Set is upholstered in a rich velvet fabric. It features a geometrically shaped headboard and an oval side table with gold hardware.
- A crystal chandelier: Crystal chandeliers are literally dripping with elegance. No Art Deco home is complete without one.
- Gold geometric print wallpaper: Another vintage item that’s making a comeback, wallpaper can add an Art Deco print to your space. But if you’re not ready to commit, you can try a removable wall decal instead.
Hollywood Regency vintage home decor
This over-the-top style is influenced by Art Deco — it shares the same love of gold, velvet, and glamour — but it’s a lot more playful. Swap out the proper geometric prints for animal prints and chinoiserie (classic Chinese art), then add bright colors like hot pink and lime green in addition to jewel tones, and you have yourself Hollywood Regency style.
Although the color choices in Hollywood Regency style are bright and bold, this design aesthetic typically focuses on one color per room. Furniture pieces include glass, gold, and black and white finishes rather than wood tones, and they feature asymmetric curved silhouettes.
Get the look
This is another style that’s easier to shop for at your local furniture store than in an antique store (with the exception of chinoiserie, which you can find at most antique dealers). However, because this style is big, bold, and eclectic, you can often find some interesting pieces at flea markets. Here are a few items to pick up along the way:
- A black and gold coffee table: The glamorous design of the Corliss Round Coffee Table will complement the black, white, and gold look of Hollywood Regency design without stealing attention from the pops of color you incorporate throughout the room.
- A vintage rug: Make a style statement with an animal print area rug. The black and white stripes of a zebra-print rug naturally complement the other colors in your design, but cheetah print and tiger stripes also add a playful touch.
- A velvet accent chair: From the bright blue velvet upholstery to the clam-shell shape and the gold hairpin legs, this Channel Tufted Barrel Accent Chair is worthy of any of Hollywood’s leading ladies.
Mid-century modern vintage home decor
The most recent style on our vintage home decor list is mid-century modern design, which came about in the 1960s. Focused on utility and simplicity, mid-mod decor is designed for the masses — the idea is that each piece should reflect its purpose.
Simple wood furniture with clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic are a big part of this style. You won’t see ornate finishes on mid-mod furniture. Instead, you’ll notice straight sides and hairpin legs.
Get the look
Because mid-century modern design is so recent, it’s easy to find vintage furniture from this time period in consignment stores and at flea markets.
However, original mid-mod furniture won’t look exactly the same as the modern takes you’ll find at furniture stores today. Newer versions of this style have been updated to feature modern fabrics and larger sizes that fit better in most new homes.
Here are a few of our favorite mid-mod pieces to include in our vintage home decor:
- An entryway bench: Introduce people to your mid-mod style as soon as they enter your home with this upholstered bench. Its hairpin legs, wood seat, and plush cushion are focused on utility — providing a comfortable place to rest.
- A neutral sofa: The square silhouette and hairpin legs on the Churchill Tufted Cushion Back Sectional are signatures of mid-century style, and the grey fabric offers a neutral but dark color that will hold up to everyday use.
- Minimalist wall art: Line art and graphic prints in simple geometric shapes will complete the look of your mid-mod space.
Boho vintage home decor
If your idea of the perfect retro look would include a 70s-style macrame wall hanging over a French Country console table, you can have it all with an eclectic boho look. Boho design combines elements from vintage style with global inspired pieces like Turkish lanterns, Mexican blankets, and Moroccan tray tables.
The key to creating a cohesive look with all these eclectic elements is to organize your room around a color scheme. Stick with similar tones — for example, all pastels, all neutrals, or all jewel tones. Or pick one multi-colored item, like a vintage rug or a piece of wall art, and use the colors in its design as your color scheme.
Get the look
Pick up collectibles everywhere you go. You can find boho style pieces in your local flea market or on your far-off travels. Look for things you love everywhere you go. Here a few vintage and vintage-inspired items to add to your list:
- A vintage secretary desk: Upgrade your home office with the Milo 10-drawer Secretary Desk. The turned legs on this design will stand out, even among the other unique flourishes of your boho room decor.
- A woven stool: Fabrics with depth and dimension, like high-pile rugs and quilted upholstery, are a signature of boho style. Weave this Ikat Pattern Round Accent Stool into your interior design to add some texture and color.
- Metal and glass lanterns: Whether you add a lantern as an electric light fixture or a candle holder, it’ll add warmth to your space. You can find lanterns in vintage French Country and global-inspired designs and use this accessory to tie your look together.
Vintage style never gets old
With so many ways to incorporate vintage home decor into your design style, the hardest part won’t be hunting for treasures and estate sales and flea markets, it’ll be deciding which vintage interior design aesthetic you like best.
Get started by browsing local stores. That way, you can see how things look in person and get a better idea of how they’ll work in your personal vintage haven. Happy hunting!
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