Posted Jul 23, 2015

How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage

It seems that in the past decade, there has been a massive decorating trend toward all things nostalgic. Retro sunglasses, 50’s-era attire, the return of vinyl records and period pieces on TV have all been making waves lately.

How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage

As such, the vintage decorating style is hotter than ever. I am always impressed with friends who deck out their apartments in this decorating style, they find some truly hidden gems!

However, pinpointing this style can be tough. In many ways, vintage straddles the line between eclectic and beautiful, and we’re all better for it. However, there are a lot of questions about how to determine whether your apartment has these vintage flourishes.

Where does vintage slip into “antique?” Where can you go to find these decorating treasures (besides your grandma’s basement)? How can you avoid clutter during decorating? Here is some excellent insight into the vintage decorating trend and how to determine whether your apartment has it:

Look At Your Lighting

Lighting is such an underrated part of the decorating process, in my opinion, as it definitely sets the mood and tone of the whole apartment. A good friend of mine and I could not have more different lighting styles.

How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage - Look at Your Lighting

While mine is sleek and modern with recessed finishes, hers is all about those little flourishes and sconces– the trademark of a vintage master. Chandeliers are also a huge trend in vintage lighting, especially if you live in an older apartment.

DIY Projects

If you love upholstered furniture or love repurposing old homeware, vintage is likely your decorating style.

How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage - Diy Projects

I’ve seen a lot of pre-loved furniture decorated in this way, from an old chest turning into a side table to decades-old, hollowed-out books serving as storage for gadgets.

Old Posters

I am proud to say I am more of a modern decorator, but I do have some vintage flourishes here and there at my apartment. My 60s-era Bob Dylan poster is most definitely one of them. It was a gift from my husband, and I love it so much, it’s the focal point of our living room– you can’t miss it when you walk in.

How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage - Old Posters

Old show or movie posters can also add a lot of character to your room– especially if they are of old films or albums that are your favorites.

Mid-Century Modern Looks

Vintage doesn’t always have to revolve around flowery looks with a lot of adornment. Thanks to hit TV shows like “Mad Men,” mid-century modern decorating is everywhere.

How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage - Mid-Century Modern Looks

In my neighborhood I have even seen vintage stores that cater specifically to this aesthetic, which usually mimics the work of renowned furniture manufacturer Herman Miller from the 1960s.

Many of these styles are ergonomic and dynamic, and come in a variety of different colors, so you have a lot of flexibility with mid-century modern design.

Flea Market Finds

If you tend to find a lot of decorations at secondhand shops or flea markets, you likely have a vintage decorating style. You can get as versatile as you want with this option, and as an added bonus, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to add loads of personal style.

How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage - Flea Market Finds

I’ve even seen old suitcases from the 1950s and 60s purchased at flea markets stacked on top of one another as a decoration. If you’re looking to decorate your kitchen in a vintage style, you can find loads of beautiful cookware at flea markets.

Retro Relics

Of course, some of the best decorations you can find are things that many of us no longer use. I’ve seen everything from 8-track players and candelabras to old baskets and stoves used to decorate an apartment.

How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage - Retro- Relics

Just because these items aren’t widely used anymore doesn’t make them any less unique or beautiful. If you see something that catches your eye at a garage sale or flea market, see how you can repurpose it into a one-of-a-kind decorating piece.

Victorian-Era Pieces

If you really do some searching, sometimes you can run into some amazing finds from the Victorian era. Beautiful teacups, handmade textiles and wrought-iron furniture are all trademarks of this look– which tends to have a French inspired look.

How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage - Victorian Era Pieces

Be sure that you go with just one or two items from this time period, as too many pieces can make your decorating style look less vintage chic and more like an antique store. A lot of Victorian-era decorations tend to be curved, especially the furniture, so keep an eye out for these while decorating.

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How to Determine if Your Decorating Style is Vintage

Rachel LaCroix


Rachel LaCroix is from the Music City, but she now calls the Windy City home. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys writing, reading, seeing local bands, frequenting Chicago eateries, playing with her adorable schnauzer and, most of all, traveling. She's seen Costa Rica to Copenhagen and loves it all!

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