How to Decorate with Vintage Architectural Salvage: 10 Easy Ways

by | Home

Looking to add character or interest to your home? Consider ideas to decorate with vintage architectural salvage. Keep reading below for 10 easy ways.  You can also check out more vintage and thrifted decor ideas today with the Thrifting with the Gals!

I LOVE vintage architectural salvage.  In fact, anytime I am going on a shopping trip that may include antique shops, thrift stores, vintage markets, flea markets, or any of those kinds of places, architectural salvage is always at the very top of my list!  Then, of course, I love to decorate with vintage architectural salvage in every room of our home.  Today, I am excited to share my favorite ways to use architectural salvage in my home decorating.

In my humble opinion, you just can’t have too much character, texture, and interest in your home decor.

Decorating with vintage architectural salvage is a perfect way to add elements of character, texture, and interest to any home.  At the same time, architectural salvage can be incorporated into almost any style of home decor.

While some of my vintage architectural salvage pieces have been investment purchases, many of them have been scored for great, thrifty deals over the years.  I can’t wait to show you a few of my favorites around our home!

But first things first…


Thrifting with the Gals

If you are reading this post about how to decorate with vintage architectural salvage, chances are really high that you also enjoy going to vintage markets, flea markets, antique stores, thrift shops, yard sales, estate sales.

In that case, you won’t want to miss our monthly Thrifting with the Gals series.  I join up with some of my thrifting friends from around the country to share our favorite thrifted finds, DIY, vintage decor ideas, and more with you.

Every month, I look forward to seeing what each of them have to share.  I’ll link it all at the end of this post along with a sneak peek picture, so watch for that after gathering some ideas for decorating with architectural salvage!

Meet the Thrifting with the Gals

How do you display architectural salvage?

Here are 10 ways to decorate with vintage architectural salvage.  While a few of these ways do include some easy DIY, most of the ideas I use around my home are quick, easy, and tool free!

  1. DIY architectural salvage lamps
  2. DIY architectural salvage ladder chandelier
  3. hang on the wall
  4. lean on a mantel
  5. add a background layer to a console or buffet table
  6. put under a cloche
  7. use as a shelf
  8. sit on a shelf
  9. frame a doorway
  10. DIY oven hood

We use our favorite architectural salvage finds for all of these ideas and more.  Keep reading to see examples of each and details of how you can decorate with vintage architectural salvage also!

Where do you buy vintage architectural salvage?

It used to be a lot easier to find and relatively inexpensive.  However, as the use of these amazing pieces of history have increased in home decorating, vintage architectural salvage is becoming harder to find.  At the same time, it has dramatically increased in price in many places.

However, you can still run across a good deal.  With patient hunting, a good eye, and knowing where to look, you can find amazing vintage architectural salvage pieces to decorate your home.

Look for architectural salvage pieces at these places:

  • Antique malls
  • Vintage markets
  • Antique shows
  • Flea markets
  • Estate sales
  • Barn sales
  • Facebook marketplace
  • If you’re really lucky, maybe even a dumpster dive!

How to Decorate with Vintage Architectural Salvage: 10 Easy Ways

How do you style vintage items?

Decorate with architectural salvage: Idea #1

Since this post is supposed to be about really easy ways to decorate with vintage architectural salvage, I’ll get this first idea out of the way!  It does require some tools and skill.  However, it is 100% worth the effort!  I love my corbel lamps and the character they add to our home.

You can get the full DIY tutorial for these vintage architectural salvage lamps on THIS POST!

Great corbels have definitely become more difficult to find and can be really pricey.  So while these may not end up being the most budget-friendly lamps, depending on what corbels you can find, they are definitely unique and add a ton of character, texture, and interest to your home!

Shop the look:

You can find some vintage-inspired architectural salvage wall sconces HERE that are absolutely gorgeous!

This vintage-inspired architectural salvage wall lamp has such a simple look with high impact.  Plus, it’s under $30!  I love this style!


Decorate with vintage architectural salvage: Idea #2

One of my favorite ways to use larger architectural salvage pieces, like these tall corbels, is to stand them on a console/buffet or even my dresser.  They become a neutral layer, adding texture and height to the styling in front.  For my sofa table, I love that the corbel helps my vignette look pretty from both directions too!

While tall corbels can be beautiful mounted on the wall or incorporated into a great DIY, don’t discount the simple use of displaying them as an extra layer behind a vignette!

Decorate with vintage architectural salvage: Idea #3

Glass cloches are one of my favorite things to use in my home decor.  The icing on the cake for me is pairing a glass cloche with a great architectural piece.  Whether it is a column base or just a chippy piece of old wood, salvage can add a lot of texture to a cloche vignette.

At the same time, the architectural salvage can give extra height and interest to the styling.

Even though I already have several wonderful vintage architectural salvage pieces to use under cloches, they are still always on my shopping list because I love using them so much!

Plus, they are easy to store because I can stack up the ones that are currently out of rotation.

Shop the look:

Decorate with vintage architectural salvage: Idea #4

This idea is definitely more specific to individual spaces.  However, if you have an opportunity to use a pair of old chippy corbels in a doorway, give it a try!

We have two identical openings to our back living space, coming off of our family room and dining room.  When we came upon an opportunity to get four matching corbels, we knew it was meant to be!

I love how they add a lot of character to otherwise plain openings.  To me, they also add an invitation to come on in and enjoy the spaces.  At the same time, the four corbels connect each end of the open living spaces with continuity.

You can get the full tutorial for how to easily hang a corbel on the wall by reading this post:

How to Add Beautiful Character to a New Home or Remodel


Decorate with vintage architectural salvage: Idea #5

When I spotted this pair of chippy white arched doors in a vintage shop, I immediately knew where I wanted to hang them.

I love flanking the old mantel in our family room with matching mirrors, baskets, wreaths, etc.

Layering the doors underneath is a perfect opportunity to easily add more texture and layers to my decor in this family room space.  It will be so fun to give them a new look each season by changing what I hang on them.

At the same time, I love how the arch adds more movement and shape to this long, rectangular room!

Pro Tip:  Layer old windows, doors, and shutters under wall decor for more character and interest.  You can more easily switch up the wall decor by leaving the more permanent salvage piece there all the time.

For tips on how to more easily hang heavy items on your wall, check out THIS POST.

Decorate with vintage architectural salvage: Idea #6

Architectural salvage can be so easy to display by leaning it against the wall, atop a mantel or shelf.  This beautiful wooden arch is a favorite salvage find and it works perfectly to add some simple layers to my family room wall.

This piece, as you can see, is quite large.  However, I got it for a really good price and I love the light wood color.

You can also use small architectural salvage pieces in your decor by layering them and leaning them on a mantel or against other art and mirrors.  Again, these are just great ways to add even more texture to your home decor!

Decorate with vintage architectural salvage: Idea #7

I told you these ideas would be so easy!  At the same time, I can’t even tell you how much I love this old, broken column capitol piece that sits on the shelf in my dining room.

There is something about the broken, discarded salvage pieces that I just love so much!

Pro Tip: Watch for small and medium-sized salvage fragments that can sit on a shelf.  They can end up transforming your entire shelf styling!

Shop the look:

Decorate with vintage architectural salvage: Idea #8

I’ve shared about how to decorate an old mantel.  However, the mantel itself is a wonderful piece of vintage architectural salvage!

You can use a mantel to decorate any larger wall in your home, even if you don’t have a fireplace.  Living in South Florida, we just do not need or even really want a working fireplace.  However, I do love having a mantel to decorate!

We tucked this large, antique mantel behind our family room sectional and it is one of my favorite places in our home to decorate!

You might consider adding vintage mantel to a bedroom, dining room, living room space, or even an office.  It can add great character and be so fun to decorate too.

What is the best way to decorate a fireplace mantel?

Well, I don’t think there is a “best” way out there!  However, here are a few posts with mantel styling tips that might help you get started!

Decorate with vintage architectural salvage: Idea #9

This idea is one that is really specific to our kitchen space.  However, I had to include it because this beautiful old barn wood was all completely free!

If you come across old wood with great patina, it is worth saving some boards for great DIY projects.  Of course, this could be an entire DIY blog post all on its own.

Here are a few quick ideas for DIY projects with old wood:

  • Shelves
  • Wall treatment
  • Birdhouse
  • Rustic table or console
  • Farmhouse bench
  • Wooden riser/pedestal for display
  • Wooden crate or box for storage

Decorate with vintage architectural salvage: Idea #10

This ladder chandelier has been a favorite of mine for many years.  I’ve had a ladder hanging over our dining room table for at least 10 years now and I still love it.

Even though the chandeliers could be wired and used, we chose to use these over our back dining room table just for decor purposes.  Actually, I love to switch them around and hang different things from the ladder.  Lanterns, party decor, and little candle holders have all been hanging from this ladder at some point!

However, I think my thrifted vintage chandeliers are my favorite!

You can hang a ladder over your table for functional lighting or for the pretty aesthetic, depending on the needs of your own space!

Here are a few favorite chandeliers to hang from a ladder over a dining table:

How can I decorate my home vintage style?

Using architectural salvage to decorate your home is a perfect way to bring an instant vintage style to any home.  In fact, I love mixing the old and new to create my own, curated style.

Adding architectural salvage pieces to help display even new pieces can add so much character and interest to a home.

At the same time, architectural salvage can really elevate the overall look of inexpensive, newer decor accessories too.

I hope this post inspires you to put vintage architectural salvage at the top of your thrifting list too.  There are so many easy ways you can decorate your home with vintage architectural salvage and you’re going to love the transformation it makes in the vintage style of your home!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  











(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Posts on Robyn’s French Nest may contain affiliate links. You can see our full disclosure details here.)

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This