How to Use Antique Wall Decor for Vintage Charm

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Bring vintage style into your living spaces with antique wall decor and vintage wall art!  Try these tips and ideas to inspire a sense of history and charm into your home decor.


I love all things vintage and if you’ve stopped by this post, chances are there is something about vintage home decor that speaks to you as well!  There are so many things I love about using vintage pieces in our home.  One of my very favorite things is how it brings a personal touch and curated style into our home rather than the same wall decor that thousands of other people also have in their home, purchased from big box stores.  Using antique wall decor and vintage wall art are great ways to bring a sense of history and charm into your home.

Whether you already have a collection of favorite vintage pieces for your wall or want to start building your collection, this blog post is for you!  We are going to move beyond antique wall art and chat about a variety of other kinds of antique wall decor that you may want to style in your home also!

Recently, a reader asked me for wall decor ideas and I realized it’s been quite a long time since we have chatted about how to decorate your walls and ideas you can use to make your walls “talk” with interest, character, and depth.  Today, we are going to dive right into some ways you can incorporate vintage wall decor into your home and how antique wall decor transcends style, becoming a timeless way to add character to your home decor.

How to decorate your house vintage style?

There are many things you can incorporate into your home to add vintage style.  Vintage wall hangings and art are certainly wonderful additions to any living space.  You may want to also consider some of my favorite decorative items to bring in to add vintage style to our home:

  • Old books
  • Chippy architectural salvage
  • Vintage or vintage style textiles
  • Antique mirrors
  • Vintage frames
  • Old garden statues
  • Unique vintage signs
  • Vintage brass, especially candle holders
  • Wooden dough bowls
  • Interesting vintage vessels (stoneware, ironstone, pottery)
  • Old baskets
  • Vintage furniture with character

This barely scratches the surface!  However, these are some of my go-to pieces to use in my own home decorating and you may want to hunt for these staple pieces to add to your decorating collection too!

How do you make modern look vintage?

Adding vintage character to a modern home takes some creativity but it can be done in beautiful and budget-friendly ways!  For renters, there are also great ways to add vintage charm to a modern home without permanent fixtures and expensive renovations!

The three best ways to add vintage style to a modern living space is by adding architectural salvage, vintage furniture, and antique wall decor.  If possible, switching out some lighting for vintage style light fixtures can be icing on the cake!

Since vintage wall decor can be such a key element in creating a home with vintage style, let’s look at a few specific ideas!  These are all ways that I have personally added antique wall decor to our home over the years.

There are so many more ways you can use vintage wall decor, too, and hopefully this post inspires your creativity in decorating your own home with vintage style!

How to Use Antique Wall Decor for Vintage Charm

Ideas to Use Architectural Salvage as Antique Wall Decor

This might be my favorite way to bring vintage charm into our home with antique wall decor!  Architectural salvage is always at the top of my hunting list at flea markets, antique malls, vintage markets, and antique stores.

I love the sense of history that comes with a chippy corbel that used to hang on someone’s front porch or a mantel that framed the fireplace in a beautiful old home.

Over the years, I have used a variety of architectural salvage pieces as antique wall decor.  One piece that always stays, however, is the chippy white mantel in our family room.  It is the perfect backdrop in our living room space to add decorative accessories and even other vintage artwork.  Switching out the gallery wall above the mantel is one of my favorite seasonal decorating things to do in our home!

In our back living room, we hung a huge old window.  I love the arch shape and the oversize look.  Can you imagine how gorgeous this window must have been in some large old home back in the day?!

Sometimes I leave it as is.  However, it is also a lot of fun to add seasonal wreaths and greenery, like I did at Christmas.  It became a statement piece in this living room space!

Architectural salvage doesn’t have to be huge to be an important part of adding a touch of old-world charm to your home!  Last summer, I used this natural wood vent as a centerpiece on our mantel.

The color, shape, and size made it the perfect piece to enhance the look of some small vintage coastal artwork and seaside elements, like the straw hats.

At the same time, the salvage didn’t overpower the rest of the decor.  So, sometimes you just need a piece that can be a good backdrop and accent the other pieces!

How to Style Antique Mirrors as Wall Decor

Antique or vintage mirrors are my fall-back item for antique wall decor!  Meaning, when I need something decorative to fill a space, I usually grab one of these beautiful old antique items.

Mirrors help the light bounce around a room and fill visual space without being overpowering.  Over the years, I’ve built up a little collection of vintage mirrors in different sizes and shapes.  It is so helpful to use this collection to put the finishing touch on a gallery wall or mantel styling!

Pro Tip:  Try layering decor, like small oil paintings or landscape paintings in front of a mirror.  

It adds a lot of depth and makes small paintings have a larger visual effect.  This works especially well when you are leaning items against a wall, like atop a mantel or console table.

You can see more vintage style artwork ideas I use HERE.  These curated collections are under $18 and look unbelievable like real paintings.  They are just gorgeous and very budget-friendly too!

Mirrors can be a lot of fun to group together and hang as an entire collection or to use individually.  

In addition to hanging mirrors, I also like to tuck smaller old mirrors at the back of my dining room apothecary cabinet shelves.  It just adds more depth to the shelf styling!

 Antique Signs Make Interesting Vintage Wall Decor

Confession time: I have a total obsession with old black and white signs for antique wall decor!  Old vintage signs, particularly with a black and white color scheme, are something that always catches my eye and tempts my wallet beyond what I can resist!!!

Especially if you want a more casual vintage or industrial touch, old signs are the perfect antique wall decor.  Antique signs also make really interesting conversation pieces.  I especially love when I find vintage signs with text that connect in some way to my home decor.

For example, this old flower stand “Gladiolas” sign was perfect for a spring accent and the “Private Beach” sign is a fun play on words for our summer coastal home decor!

While vintage signs and particularly antique signs are almost never cheap, they are often splurge-worthy!  Sometimes it only takes one special piece to add the vintage charm a room needs!

Where to Find Budget-Friendly Vintage Style Wall Art

I make no secret about this, but some of my favorite vintage oil paintings are not vintage at all!  Nor are they even actual paintings!  I have purchased several of these curated vintage-style art collections now and every time, I’m totally amazed at how real they look.  Best part?  The entire set of 5 prints is under $18!  You can’t beat it!

To make it even more budget-friendly, the sizes come in standard frame sizes so you can easily pull out flea market finds or thrift store frames to frame up your oil painting dupes!

I love these small sizes for layering, like I did on this spring mantel.  They are also perfect for adding a vintage touch to a shelf.  In the dining room last summer, I did add an actual painting that I picked up at an outdoor vintage market.  It added so much depth and a pretty touch of coastal color to the shelf styling.  THESE vintage art collections are perfect for this kind of seasonal decorating!

How to Use Vintage Baskets for Antique Wall Decor

I LOVE vintage baskets and use them year round in our home for antique wall decor.  There is one problem.  I love BIG baskets!  Haha!  Thankfully we have a large attic so I can rotate my collection around!

I have found the best deals on my large vintage baskets at vintage markets and flea markets.  However, keep an eye out at thrift stores too.  I use a lot of small vintage baskets in my classroom, all thrift store finds!  Of course, there are a lot of wonderful new arrivals of baskets out there too and they usually mix beautifully with vintage home decor.

One of my favorite ways to decorate with vintage baskets is to use them as wall decor!  Sometimes I stand a large/tall basket on a console table and it acts as vintage wall decor. Other times, I actually hang the baskets on the wall.  They are so fun to fill with greenery, seasonal faux flowers (THESE cherry blossoms look perfect for spring!), and even fresh tree branches cut from my yard!

You can see some new arrivals curated on my storefront!

How to Style Old Books and Sheet Music as Antique Wall Decor

You already know how much I love using old and thrifted books in my home décor.  In fact, it is one of my favorite ways to mix new and vintage home décor, as you can see HERE.  Over on THIS post, you can find over 21 ways to decorate with old books.

Walls are another great opportunity to create unique home décor opportunities and you can have a lot of fun using old books as antique wall décor.

One way I’ve used books and even old sheet music as antique wall décor is when I found these vintage hymnal book holders at a market.   Originally, they would have been on the back of a church pew to hold hymnals or Bibles.  On my wall, though, they became really great wall décor by holding old books and sheet music that had complimentary neutral, earth tones to tie into the rest of the gallery wall!

Another favorite way that I frequently use old books as wall décor is with beautiful artwork found in books.   I have a vintage Birds of America book as well as a vintage book of lovely wildflower art.

I like to swap around my seasonal wall décor by carefully removing pages and inserting them into vintage or thrifted frames.   Sometimes I use them as part of a gallery wall installation.  I also like to lean smaller framed artwork from old books on shelves, like I did in the dining room for spring.

You could use this same idea with special literary pages, poems, or songs!

Treat Lighting as Wall Decor too!

Do you think of light as artwork for antique wall decor ideas?  If not, you should!  In fact, lighting is one of the best ways to create your personal style in a room as well as add character and interest.  There are SO MANY amazing lighting ideas out there in every price range, so you don’t ever need to endure boring lighting again!

One of my favorite DIY projects we did was to install these vintage sconces, found at an antique mall, into gorgeous wall décor in our family room.  You can see more about how we made these DIY wireless sconces along with simple tutorial HERE!

Lighting can also include candlelight.  I picked up these brass candle sconces at a thrift store a few years ago and love using them in our home.  At Christmas time, they made the perfect accent to flank the mantel, mounted on chippy architectural salvage doors.

Pro Tip:  Layer your wall décor and lighting too!  

For example, adding the architectural salvaged doors behind the sconces turned them into more of a focal point .  Whereas, if I had hung the sconces on their own, they would have felt too undersized for the space.

Adding my favorite battery-operated taper candles to flicker on each evening made these sconces super cozy and added so much ambiance to our family room for the winter!

Pro Tip:  Candle sconces, table lamps, and lighting can often be found in thrift stores, Facebook marketplace, flea markets, and even yard sales.  

Add them to your hunting list, knowing you can easily add paint, rub and buff, or other elements to make them fit your personal style!

Bring in Unique and Unexpected Items for Antique Wall Decor

One of my favorite things to use as wall décor is this antique French lavabo, which is a wall fountain.  In the 19th century, a lavabo would be found outside almost every French home for hand washing before entering the home.  Any other moms think it would be great to reinstate this 19th century genius idea?!

Anyway, instead of water, my lavabo has new life and now holds a variety of seasonal décor in our home, from dried gourds in the fall to cherry blossoms in the spring to dried palm fronds and coral in the summer!  It is SO FUN to decorate with!!

You can see a perfect reproduction at a very budget-friendly price for a statement piece HERE.  Then, use these elements to switch it up for each season: (Or try these elements in a large basket too!)


As you can easily see, wall décor is a great way to add character and interest to your home.   From vintage wall art to out-of-the-box items you can repurpose as antique wall art, there are seemingly limitless ideas!   I hope that by seeing some of my favorites from our home,  you’ve had a spark of creativity and are ready to have some fun with your own vintage wall décor!

Remember, when it comes to your own home, there is no right or wrong.  It’s just whatever fits your personal style and that you enjoy!  Nail holes can be patched, hooks can be swapped around.  Just hang the art!  Don’t let fear of hanging it wrong keep you from turning your walls into cozy and intentional spaces that make your home even more beautiful!

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











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