Budget Decorator: 15 Fun Thrifted Finds to Score Now
Show holiday guests your ingenuity and design flair with these easy-to-find vintage and repurposed pieces for the home
Houzz Contributor. You can also find me on Lolalina (http://www.lolalina.com/), my blog devoted to all of the things that make a house a home - decorating from the heart, living with intention, and savoring life's simple pleasures.
If you love the thrill of hunting for vintage treasures and don't mind doing a bit of bargaining, shopping at flea markets and antiques fairs can be a great way to find unique decor for less than you might pay new. Of course, while it's fun to stay open to that spontaneous purchase, it will be easier to stay focused (and stay within your budget) if you decide in advance what you are looking for. These 15 picks can add vintage flair to your home in time for the holidays.
1. Signs with character. Old signs offer a big bang for the buck, especially considering how much a framed print or painting of equal size would cost. Have fun searching for that just-right piece — I love this "Rooms for Tourists" sign hanging in a guest bedroom.
2. Old suitcases. Use nice old hard cases to store linens, children's books or dress-up clothes; stack them up and use them as a side table; or just pile them up in the corner as a decorative accent.
3. Wooden shoemaker's forms. These shapely little wooden objects can be used as you would a sculpture, adding interest to tables or shelves. Or attach them vertically to a wall and hang coats on them.
4. Vintage children's toys. Look beyond the toy store for gifts this year and surprise little ones with vintage treasures no one else will have. Vintage kids' toys also work well as holiday decorations — a wooden horse or bright red tin truck would look festive beside the tree.
5. Birdcages. There is no end to what you can do with vintage birdcages — display them atop a high cabinet, fill them with twinkle lights, slip old photographs between the bars, paint them or suspend them from the ceiling ... your imagination is the limit.
6. Skis and snowshoes. Vintage snowshoes or skis make a wonderfully rustic seasonal display on the front porch or mantel, especially alongside stacks of firewood and fresh greenery. True antiques will be quite costly, but vintage finds from the 1950s on are usually reasonably priced and just as charming.
7. Milk cans. This farmhouse basic, made from galvanized metal, looks great as a decorative accent on its own but can also be filled with umbrellas, walking sticks, fresh flowers or branches of winter berries.
8. Vintage trophies. From sporting events to 4H shows, vintage trophies tell fascinating stories — and make great conversation starters. Display them in a group on the mantel, tuck them into a bookshelf or fill them with flowers.
9. Stoneware crocks. Widely used for food storage before refrigeration, stoneware crocks of various sizes are a frequent antiques fair find. Smaller crocks can hold kitchen utensils or flowers, while the larger ones are perfect for storing umbrellas or rolls of wrapping paper.
10. Transferware. Originating in the Staffordshire region of England, transferware is made by transferring an engraving onto pottery. Newer and imperfect pieces can be found at bargain prices, perfect for cheering up a winter table or hanging in a wall display.
11. Salvaged windows. Beautifully shaped windows can make a magnificent statement simply leaned against the wall atop a dresser or console table. Use pretty Japanese masking tape to affix holiday cards to the glass for an easy seasonal display.
12. Picture frames. Old picture frames with good shapes and details can be easily repainted to match whatever scheme you wish. No glass in the frame? Use it to frame a corkboard instead or hang it on the wall and tape a picture in the middle for a fun, eclectic look.
13. Wallpaper scraps. If you find a partially used roll of wallpaper with a pattern you love, snap it up! Just because it's not enough to paper an entire wall doesn't mean you can't still have fun with it — paper the back of a cupboard or bookcase, line your stair risers or cover the drawer fronts of an old dresser.
14. White quilts. Vintage creamy white quilts and coverlets have a fresh, homespun feel that can fit in anywhere, from the most modern space to a home more rustic and cozier. Vintage textiles tend to be delicate, so clean them gently.
Ideabook published on Nov. 14, 2012.
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