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25 tips to successfully turn your home into an Instagram-worthy vintage haven

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Vintage is popular, it’s a fact.

Who hasn’t found themselves daydreaming while flipping through a magazine or scrolling on their smartphone screen over stunning photos of vintage interiors of dream homes or apartments? We have all had a crush on a beautiful and well-executed decoration in which everything seems to be so well-weighed and balanced in terms of shapes and colors. Whether it’s a house of monumental proportions or a modest tiny home thoughtfully furnished with taste and restraint. Yes, vintage decor is all the rage. And it’s not the print or online press that will tell us otherwise: there have never been so many specialized or mainstream magazines dedicated to vintage decoration, than now.

Why is vintage decor trending?

Vintage furniture and design has been trending for a variety of reasons. Some of us are drawn to the unique character and craftsmanship of older pieces, as vintage furniture often have a story and a history behind them, which makes them more interesting and meaningful to us. Others see vintage furnishing as a way to be more environmentally sustainable, as furniture are recycled and repurposed rather than being produced new.

But the most universal reason why vintage decor trending, is that it adds a unique and individualized touch to a home or space. With so much mass-produced furniture and decor available today, vintage pieces help create a look that is one-of-a-kind and personal. Vintage furniture and design is also seen as a way to incorporate elements of different design styles and periods into a space, which can give it a curated and eclectic feel that fits your personality.

The last reason, and not the least, is financial: buying vintage furniture can be more affordable than purchasing new pieces, which may be appealing to some people, especially in these particularly difficult times.

Decorating your apartment in vintage style, in no time at all thanks to a YouTube tutorial? Hold your horses.

Already very popular for many years, the trend of decorating an interior with vintage objects has become even more popular recently with the rise of social networks. Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram are all platforms on which professionals in the antiques and vintage sector can express themselves, as well as influencers who have built their reputation on their certain taste for decoration.

Their motto? Transforming your home into a space worthy of a photo shoot for an interior design magazine is within everyone’s reach. Easy to say, but not so easy to implement? Yes and no.

As with anything in life, a YouTube or TikTok video is not enough to give you the science behind it. However, with a little research, some gumption, and a certain amount of luck (“being in the right place at the right time”), your quest to turn your home into a vintage haven that will make your friends drool with envy, is within your (technical and financial) reach. As long as you know where to look and don’t get lost along the way.

Without going into details that would make this article unpalatable due to its length and technicality, it is important to cover at least the following points.

  1. Where to find inspiration to decorate your home with vintage furniture and objects?
  2. Where to find real vintage pieces without breaking the bank?
  3. How to distinguish an original vintage piece from a reproduction?
  4. What are the things to consider when redecorating your home with vintage furniture?

For obvious reasons, this article will not promote the acquisition of copies of vintage decoration objects.

1. Where to find inspiration to decorate your home with vintage furniture and objects?

There are many ways to find inspiration for decorating your home with vintage furniture and objects. Here are a few ideas you could use as a starting point.

  • Follow vintage home decor accounts on social media: Instagram and Pinterest are great starting point to find inspiration for vintage home decor. There are thousands of accounts that will give you your daily dose of inspiration and ideas for how to use vintage pieces in your home. You can for example start by searching for hashtags like #vintagehomedecor, #vintagehomedecoration, #vintagedecor, #vintagedecoration. Or directly the periods that interest you such as #midcenturymodern or #frenchdecor.
  • Browse design blogs and magazines: There is no shortage of design blogs and magazines dedicated to vintage home decor. These can be a great source of inspiration and ideas for how to incorporate vintage pieces into your home.
  • Attend flea markets and antique shows: Flea markets and antique shows are a great way to source unique vintage pieces for your home. Antique shows are a fantastic source of inspiration for how to style and incorporate vintage items into your home decor, since many booths are staged to look like complete interiors. Pretty much like an IKEA store.
  • Visit vintage and antique stores: Vintage and antique stores usually offer a wide selection of vintage furniture and home decor items from various periods. Visiting these stores can be a great way to find inspiration and pieces for your home. By extension, online antique sites can provide you with a significant amount of inspiration. The most reputable ones often use professional photographers who stage furniture and objects in everyday settings.
  • Look to the past for inspiration: If you’re having trouble finding inspiration in the present, consider looking to the past for ideas. Consider the styles and decor of a particular decade or era that you find appealing and use that as a starting point for your home decor.

2. Where to find real vintage pieces without breaking the bank?

Acquiring original vintage furniture is not exclusively within the reach of the wealthy: if you know where to look, have patience (finding the piece you’re looking for can take years, that’s okay), and with a bit of luck you’ll end up finding the rare pearl that will brighten up your home. Here are some tips for finding affordable vintage decor items.

  • Check out thrift stores, consignment shops, and estate sales. These types of stores often have a selection of vintage items at lower prices.
  • Keep an eye out for sales and discounts at antique stores. Many antique stores offer discounts on select items or have a “sale” section where you can find more affordable vintage pieces.
  • Try shopping online at sites like eBay, Etsy, and Chairish. These sites have a wide selection of vintage items at various price points.
  • Keep an eye out for garage sales and yard sales in your area. These sales can be a great place to find vintage items at low prices.
  • Take a look around on household bulky waste collection day. I’m not talking about literally checking out the trash. But you’re never safe from a surprise. I myself found several pieces of vintage furniture left on the curb for pickup, including an original Joe Colombo side table, a 1970s mirror in perfect condition, wall sconces, and various lamps from the 1930s to the 1950s. Check for example this story of a chair found on the sidewalk and sold for $53,000.
  • Consider refinishing or upcycling vintage items to give them a new life. This can be a fun DIY project and can help you get the vintage look you want without breaking the bank.
  • Look for reproductions of vintage styles at discount stores or online retailers. These items may not be true vintage, but they can still add a vintage touch to your home decor. This is a shortcut that we recommend you do not take. Beyond the questionable moral aspect of this kind of practice, buying copies of iconic vintage pieces will leave you wanting more: you’ll end up paying the price of poor-quality materials, and you’ll be furnishing your home with objects whose origin you won’t want to comment on to your guests (who may end up buying the same ones at an even lower price). Less is more. And for the price of a set of fake Eames or Saarinen chairs, you could buy an original at an affordable price if you wanted.

3. How to distinguish an original vintage piece from a fake?

By taking the time to thoroughly examine an item and doing your research, you can often determine whether it is a real vintage design or a fake. Here are a few key things you can look for to help you in this process.

  • Age: Check the age of the item. If it is being marketed as vintage but looks brand new, it is likely a fake.
  • Materials: Examine the materials used to make the item. Are they consistent with the materials used during the time period the item is supposed to be from?
  • Workmanship: Look at the overall craftsmanship of the item. Is it well-made, with attention to detail, or does it look poorly made and unfinished? Also look for serial numbers and stamps: Many vintage items will have serial numbers or stamps that can be used to authenticate them. Check for these and research them to see if they are valid.
  • Brand: Research the brand and the designer. Are they well-known and respected within the vintage design community?
  • Expert opinion: Consider consulting with an expert or professional appraiser to get their opinion on the authenticity of the item.
  • Original packaging: If the item comes with original packaging, such as a box or a tag, this can be a good indication of authenticity. However, be aware that fake vintage items may also come with fake packaging.
  • Price: While price is not always a reliable indicator, be wary of vintage items that are being sold at significantly lower prices than similar authentic items.
  • Seller reputation: Consider the reputation of the seller. Are they a reputable dealer or known for selling authentic vintage items?
  • Documentation: If the item comes with documentation, such as a certificate of authenticity or a letter from the designer, this can be a strong indication of authenticity. However, be aware that fake vintage items may also come with fake documentation.
  • Signs of wear and tear: Authentic vintage items will often show signs of wear and tear, such as fading, discoloration, or minor damage. If an item being sold as vintage is in perfect condition, it may be a fake.
  • Hardware: Check the hardware, such as handles, hinges, and locks, on vintage items. Is it consistent with the time period the item is supposed to be from?
  • Familiarize yourself with the design: The more you know about vintage design, the better equipped you will be to spot fake items. Research different designers and familiarize yourself with their styles and techniques.
  • Check for consistency: Look for inconsistencies in the design of the item. Are there elements that seem out of place or do not match the overall style of the piece?

Alway keep in mind that if something about an item seems off or too good to be true, it is worth taking a closer look before making a purchase. Trust your instincts and be cautious when buying vintage items.

4. What are the things to consider when redecorating your home with vintage furniture?

Vintage furniture is a great way to add character and personality to a space, and it is also a sustainable option as it helps reduce waste and decrease the demand for new furniture. However, it’s important to carefully consider the condition and quality of vintage pieces before purchasing, as they may require more maintenance or repairs than new furniture. If you’re interested in incorporating vintage furniture into your home, there are a few other things you should consider before taking the leap.

  • Determine your style: What type of vintage furniture appeals to you? Do you prefer the clean lines of mid-century modern pieces, or the bold shapes of Art Deco? Knowing your style can help you narrow down your search.
  • Set a budget: Vintage furniture can range in price from relatively affordable to quite expensive, depending on the piece and its condition. Determine how much you’re willing to spend before you start shopping.
  • Consider the condition of the piece: Vintage furniture may show signs of wear and tear, such as scratches, dents, or discoloration. Determine whether you’re willing to do any repairs or restoration work, and factor this into your budget.
  • Research the piece: If you’re considering purchasing a high-end vintage piece, it’s important to do your research to ensure that it’s authentic and that you’re getting a good deal.
  • Think about placement: Where will the vintage piece go in your home? Consider the size, style, and function of the piece, and how it will fit in with the rest of your decor.

If you’re interested in incorporating vintage pieces into your home, remember to carefully research the piece and its value to make sure you’re getting a good deal, and to think carefully about how it will fit with the rest of your home’s design.

The acquisition of beautiful and original emblematic vintage pieces will add character and history to your interior. It is also a way to make a financial investment that you can enjoy every day, and that you can resell at a profit – provided of course that the piece in question is authentic, is in demand at the time of resale, holds its value, and is in good condition.

By considering these factors, you will be able to make informed decisions when shopping for vintage furniture and incorporate pieces that will add character and personality to your home.