Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5 Ways to Re-Purpose or use Vintage Items in Your Home.

 1. Artwork: 
creative use of florals - photo from bhg.com
 Do you have a funky picture that just doesn't seem to work anywhere in the house by itself? Maybe it would be better as clustered art or in a wall montage. Thrift shops, antique/vintage shops, yard sales, etc. are a perfect way of putting together an in-expensive yet out-of-the-ordinary collection. If you have a couple pieces of art in a specific genre (florals, or paint by numbers, for example) stick with it. Find as many pieces as you can in varied shapes and sizes and hang them together, it may seem awkward with just a couple of items, but the more you add, the more cohesive the collection will look.


You can find mismatched dishes in a range of colors and patterns just about anywhere as long as you don't care if they match! Use them to build a collection, hang a wall of plates, or make them into mirrors. I have a collection of mismatched floral dishes that we use everyday for our dishes and I love them. They are smaller than modern day dishes which is great for portion control and at about $1.00 a plate if one gets broke when the kids are doing dishes, it's not a huge loss. Win, Win! I am also in the process of collecting state plates because if and when I ever have a cabin in the woods I want this on my wall...
and until that cabin is ours I thought I might use them for a travel themed party. Wouldn't they be great with maps as runners and globes as centerpieces? I just think they are so much fun! Of course I am going to have to go traveling out of state to find California's plate!

3.Dining Tables & Chairs:
library dining rooms
Simple thrift store tables can be used for kitchens, dining rooms, or re-purposed as desks or sewing tables. If the table is scuffed or needs some DIY, try paint, paper, or even just a tablecloth.  Whether you're looking for a whole set or a single side chair, dining chairs are always waiting to be scooped up at second-hand shops. If your chair needs a little love, try painting it, reupholstering a seat, or distressing it. Dining room chairs don't have to match! Have fun with your seating, make it work for your family, that's who matters most.

4. Trunks, Suitcases, and File Cabinets: 
Love vintage suitcases!Industrial trunks, storage pieces or vintage suitcases are easy to find at flea markets, vintage stores, and thrift shops. Clean them up and use them as occasional tables, storage for extra/out of season clothing, blankets, paperwork, or books and magazines. For use in a tight space, turn a suitcase on its side next to a bed as a bedside table. Attach an old suitcase to a wall in a bathroom place a mirror inside it, and walla! instant medicine cabinet. Empty out the linen closet, and repurpose that ugly trunk in the hallway...paint the trunk and place it at the end of the bed filled with bed linens and pillows.

 5. Lamps/Light Fixtures: 
rustic farm table, vintage furniture, architectural salvage pieces, crystal chandeliers, greenery, topiaries  - a wonderful mixing of materials and periods!
 Sometimes all a lamp needs is a new shade and a good cleaning to make it brand new. Sometimes a good coat of spray paint. And yes, sometimes there is nothing you can do to fix the ugly lamp and the trash is the best place for it. That's ok too! But most of the time people do not have enough lighting in their rooms. A single overhead light is NEVER enough, if that's all you have, go get a lamp or 2 or 5. You don't want to squint when you walk in a room to see the items in it. Chandeliers are easy to find as well as beautiful lamps. You just have to decide if you want it hardwired in or a plug in variety. Also measure your space, you don't want a chandelier to smack you in the head every time you walk in the room because your ceilings are too low! Lighting is a quick and easy fix to a room and can update a space very quickly with very little money. If you find a broken lamp that you must have, you can always try rewiring it. If you don't feel comfortable with that well then come see me at the shop, we always have lots of lamps and chandeliers hanging around, I'm sure we can find something for you! 

Using vintage items and re-purposing what you have is as simple as looking at with no expectations of its intended use and starting over with fresh eyes. Don't be afraid to move things around, try things out, and play. Just have fun! What will you be looking at with new eyes today?