Decorating vintage style

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have more than one house, with each one decorated in a very different style. Part of me loves sleek white minimalism (impossible with kids, let me warn you) and another part loves lots of black and silver, à la Art Deco. The one style I really adore, but am discouraged from embracing by the two males at home, is a pretty and girlie look, so I need another house to indulge it in.

The shabby chic trend, which became popular some time ago, shows no signs of abating. My theory is this is somehow related to the recession that has gripped us for the past few years. The “make do and mend” and “keep calm and carry on” mentality has become second nature and I think it’s why we’re feathering our nests with vintage items, giving them a new lease on life. They make us feel comfortable and secure – at least when we’re within our own four walls.

Retro rulesPreserved wicker chair from the 1960s are still as cool as back then. Such furniture can still be found relatively cheaply if you look around in shops or online.

Quirky quiltingScour the charity shops (or even school fairs) for lovely old linen, which is also a decorating and style statement in its own right. Wash and air it lovingly and it will work wonders.

Cool kidsContrary to popular belief, our children don’t need everything to be bright, new and shiny. Here, a vintage day bed has been revived with a lick of paint and popped into a little girl’s room where it’s both decorative and functional.

Put it on displayThis gorgeous collection of feminine and floaty vintage clothing is far too pretty to be hidden away, and makes a lovely decorative feature in a girlie bedroom. The thing to remember is exposure to sunlight will damage dainty fabrics – the trick is to rotate your treasures, perhaps seasonally.

Kitchen collectionsVintage items often look more at home in the kitchen than anywhere else. The tools our mothers and grandmothers used in the days before mod cons have a real, lasting significance, perhaps because they’re associated with food preparation – the ultimate act of love.

Mix old and new together for a look that’s friendly and fun. oismatched décor is just fine and don’t worry too much about a colour scheme. Then revive occasions such as family mealtimes.

First add flowersFlowers are essential for the vintage home. Choose bold and bright blooms, and let them weave their magic in a beautiful old vase that has a history with you.

Cheap and chic checklist

While almost anything old will add a sense of tradition in these difficult times, there are some collectables that are definitely worth a look:

  • China: Those pretty pieces that graced our grannies’ tables are still just as vibrant. A chip or two shouldn’t stop you from giving them a new home.

  • Linen: If it’s well made, and well looked after, it could still be in service many years from now. Knitted, crocheted or quilted, these pieces are precious.

  • Bright as buttons: Sewing paraphernalia is lovely to look out for. I once found several pairs of old and intricate silver sewing scissors in a junk shop for 50c. I still use them to this day.

  • Kitchenalia: An ancient whisk, original pie funnel or old loaf tin can still be beautiful. Put them on display where they can be seen.

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