I know many of my readers have already added their vintage finds to their home, making their decor "eclectic" and interesting. But I'm thinking there are some readers that desire that look, but may not know where to start, what to look for, and how to get the most bang for their buck. This post has been created with them in mind.
First, I think every creative gal needs her own dress form. These are so hot right now, it might be a challenge to find one at the price you can afford, but the searching is part of the fun. I've been looking for quite some time for a reasonably priced wire dress form, and last weekend I finally found one at The Mega Mall Flea Market in Lansing, Michigan:
My wire form, made by Dritz, cost $65, which is about the going rate. An older, wasp-waist Victorian style dress form with the "cage" bottom will run about $150 to $200, at least here in the Midwest. A more common form from the 1920's to 1960's will run about $65 to $95. The cardboard form in the picture below is very difficult to find, but very cool:
These adjustable forms with the gray fabric are the easiest to find, and they run about $45-95 here in Michigan:
My next suggestion is displaying a bird cage. These come in many varieties, often with a helpful stand that will keep it off a table and add some height to your candles, ivy, or whatever you decide to put inside. There are lots of birdcages for sale at flea markets and resale shops, some of which are being made in China, so you have to be careful. Buying one at an antique mall would assure you that what you are getting isn't a reproduction. At any rate, I'd stick to a metal birdcage with a brand name like "Hendryx", usually stamped on the door. A real fancy example might cost up to $150, but a birdcage without a stand, like mine below, will run a reasonable $35-$55 at an antique mall:
Next, how about something architectural? Think about a door or some shutters. These are plentiful and can be found at many estate/tag sales, antique malls, or flea markets. Consider putting shutters around a window inside your home, or propping an old screen door as a focal point on a boring wall.
I spotted some shutters at an estate sale marked $2 each, but it was the second day of the sale, so items were 50% off. Therefore, they were only $1 each. Can you say "bargain"?
A panelled door can be hung sideways and made into a "headboard" for your bed. Heather Kowalksi from Pretty Petals has used a painted wood mantel as a headboard in her lovely bedroom:
Heather uses the panelled door and rail from a baby crib to great effect in her dining room:
A larger view of Heather's dining room, including the door and a dress form:
Sally Arnold, a dealer at the Antiques Market of Williamston, displays a screen door with a wreath in her booth. And there's a nice dress form too!
The old aluminum awning below could make a cute "canopy" above a twin bed, don't you think? Or a hood over a stove? Some imagination is necessary here! I took this picture as I was cleaning the awning before putting it in my antique mall booth for sale in Williamston ( for $75):
When I think of antique furniture, "comfort" is not the first thing that comes to mind. Modern couches are, for the most part, much more comfortable than their vintage counterparts. A vintage mohair couch or horsehair stuffed settee might look great, but feel itchy and uncomfortable. Consider a smaller upholstered piece, such as a chair with fancy tufting or a club chair. These old, well-made pieces with lush vintage fabric will add a lot of vintage style to an interior, and can often be purchased very reasonably.
The golden chair below is one of a pair I have flanking my fireplace:
Let's take a closer look at the beautifully done tufting, the numerous upholstery tacks, and carved details on my chair:
If memory serves me correctly, I purchased two matching chairs for $60 apiece. Just try purchasing a similarly detailed, well-made chair from a furniture store nowadays. You'll be paying $60 in sales tax alone!
Now, where do you go to find such a great deal on an upholstered chair or loveseat? I frequent secondhand furniture stores and estate sales for them. You'll want to make sure there aren't springs popping out of the bottom, and conduct a "smell test" (remember that Volkswagon ad where the two fellas find a chair by the road and load it in their car?). Most carpet cleaning companies will shampoo a chair or loveseat for a reasonable price ($50 or less), so keep that in mind. Ideally, we want to find an upholstered piece from the home of the little old lady who kept everything covered in plastic.
This clean-as-a-whistle loveseat was sold by yours truly back in September, for $195:
I sold this crewel fabric wing chair about a year ago at The Antiques Market of Williamston. It had a small hole in the seat, which I repaired with fabric from the arm cover. I think I sold it for about $85, and the repair was barely visible:
My fifth way to add vintage style to your home is to display a collection, preferably of something unexpected. Now some people are genetically hardwired to collect, and maybe even hoard, objects. If you are not one of them, then you need to gather several similar objects and call them a "collection". For example, a grouping of Mason jars with old clothes pins can be interesting. Consider adding a few to a bookshelf for interest, or even as a centerpiece.
Sets of books can be attractive outside of the bookcase, for example, they can be piled on a table and used to elevate something, or stacked beside a couch or chair. The picture below is from Country Living:
Let me emphasize the charm of groupings of something unexpected. Perhaps a bouquet of yardsticks housed in a wire waste can would be cool, or a bowl full of thread spools. Just a simple gathering of blue bottles adds a lot of style without costing much at all. We're talking garage sale here, probably a couple dollars for a nice size collection.
Nobody displays blue glass better than Heather Kowalski of Pretty Petals:
I love vintage graphics, and paired various downloads from The Graphics Fairy with some of my old bottles to make an inexpensive but stylish display:
Last but not least, look at the fantastic display of platters, created by Theresa of 612 Riverside, using some vintage garden fencing:
Isn't she clever? Be sure to check out her blog for some great Michigan style, and wonderful artistic creations.
OK, just for review, here are my Five Things That Add Vintage Style to Your Home:
1. Dress Form
2. Bird Cage
3. Something Architectural
4. An Upholstered Piece
5. A Collection/Something Unexpected
Would any of you readers like to add to my list with one or more of your own ways to add vintage style to your homes? I'm all ears.....