Antique Interior Decorations: A Classic Charm for Your Home

Updated September 7, 2021
Fashionable Living Room interior

Whether you live in a beautiful farmhouse, an apartment in the city, or anywhere in between, antique home decorations can give your space a sense of history and visual interest. Explore all the ways you can incorporate antiques into your home decor - from tastefully displayed collectibles to large pieces of furniture or eye-catching textiles. Decorating with antiques is approachable and fun.

Create a Collected Look by Layering Antiques

If you've been collecting antiques for years, you're in luck. The "collected" look adds a sense of history and beauty in home decor, and it's easy to achieve by mixing vintage and antique pieces from different eras. Even if you're new to antiques, you can make this type of look work for you. These tips can help:

  • Collect and display what you like. Think of the whole room like a gallery wall for your treasures.
  • Play with contrast and texture. Choose a light or dark wall color and then bring in vintage items and antique decorations that contrast.
  • Layer pieces to create depth. You can lean art in front of mirrors, drape textiles over furniture, and use stacked rugs for extra visual interest.

Choose One or Two Colors for Antique Decorations

Colorfull living room home interior

Don't be afraid to decorate with colorful antiques. In fact, items like antique Depression glass, bright-toned china patterns, bold textiles, and other eye-catching pieces can become the defining point of your decor. You can create an entire room around a specific color, such as pink Depression glass, orange textiles, bright yellow vintage china, or anything else. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Stick to one or two colors, but let yourself go crazy from there. Mix eras and materials to create a look that isn't too put-together.
  • Select a neutral wall color and simple furniture to let the antique accessories become the focal point in your room.
  • Try to bring the color you've chosen into all areas of the room, incorporating it in throw pillows, wall art, fabrics, and more.

Show Off Your Collection

'Hermes' orange walls and closely grouped pictures in kitchen with Gaggenau appliances

If you collect something specific, one antique home decorating idea is to make that collection a focal point. There are lots of things to collect that can work well as decorations, and you'll find that it makes you happy to have your treasures on display.

  • Use a collection of paintings, drawings, or other art as a type of antique wall decor. The key is to match a lot of like things together so it really feels like a group.
  • Bring in lots of antique books on bookcases or stacked on stands. This can add a sense of history, as well as providing reading material.
  • Find creative ways to display your collection, such as hanging things on the wall or displaying items on shelves around the room.

Let Your Antique Furniture Steal the Show

Stylish Georgian Renovation

If you have a gorgeous piece of antique furniture, let it become the main attraction in your room. The best way to do this is to design the rest of the room around the antique piece. From boldly upholstered fainting couches to intricately carved armoires, there are many pieces of antique furniture that can anchor a room and be the most important decoration in it. There are a few ways to make this work:

  • Choose a piece that is large in size or bold in appearance. In order to be the focal point antique decoration, the item needs to be special.
  • Keep everything else neutral and simple so the special item can be the star. Limit the use of color and pattern, which can detract.
  • Don't be afraid to have this one piece of furniture be the only antique decoration in the room. Mixing it with modern pieces will help it stand out.

Create a Vignette With Antique Pieces

Chelsea home in classic English country style

In decorating terms, a vignette is a little scene in your home. Starting with a large piece of furniture as an anchor, you can layer wall art, decorations, textiles, and other pieces to make the view picture-perfect. This is a wonderful way to decorate your home with antiques, since you're working with one small area at a time. Try these ideas:

  • Pick an antique dresser or sideboard as a starting point, and then add your decoration to that. Hang an antique mirror or painting on the wall behind it and display smaller items on top.
  • Consider setting up a vignette in your entryway or foyer. This type of small space is a natural choice, and guests will see your antique decorations as soon as they enter your home.
  • Try varying the height of the items you place in your vignette. For instance, taller antique candlesticks can work well next to a shorter vintage china bowl or a stack of old books.

Find New Uses for Beautiful Old Things

Bouquet and antique silver on living room table

If you have lots of smaller antique pieces, you can group them together and repurpose them. There are tons of ways to do this, but these are a few options:

  • Gather lots of sterling silver and silver-plated items together and display them on an end table with flowers. Even if they weren't meant to be vases, they can work beautifully.
  • Use antique canning jars to hold spices or ingredients in your kitchen. You can let these items do double duty by showing off their vintage beauty and putting them to work too.
  • Display a grouping of antique serving trays on your coffee table to hold magazines and books, your TV remote, and anything else you need to keep handy.

Play With Symmetry

Elegant furniture in drawing room

If you have one large piece, you can decorate around it using symmetry. For instance, hanging a plaster relief or antique animal trophy on the wall can be your starting point. Work outward from there, using these tips:

  • Let the largest piece be the anchor in the center. Everything else should be smaller and less eye-catching.
  • Consider using sconces, mirrors, black and white photographs, or antique etchings or drawings to flank the larger item. These don't have lots of color, so they are less likely to conflict.
  • Keep symmetry in mind for anything you place under the display too. Keep desktop or tabletop decorations at about the same height and scale on both sides.

Be on the Lookout for Antique Home Decorations

You may already have everything you need to decorate your home with antiques, but if not, there are lots of places you can find new-to-you treasures to use in your home:

  • Thrift stores - You might be surprised what kind of antique pieces end up in thrift stores. Stop by often and check for items that might work in your home.
  • Estate sales and garage sales - One of the best ways to find interesting antique decorations is at local sales. In the spring and summer months, look for estate sales and garage sales near you to find some exciting pieces.
  • Etsy and online marketplaces - Online marketplaces like Etsy can have an amazing selection of antique home decorations and vintage pieces that are perfect for your space. Check often, since the selection rotates.
  • Online auctions - Online auction sites like eBay can also be a good place to find decorations, especially if you're looking for something specific. Be sure to consider shipping costs and check return policies.
  • Antique stores and flea markets - Flea markets and local antique stores can have surprising treasures too, whether you're looking for a certain item or just browsing.

Give Your Home Personality With Antiques

When you're ready, start with one room in your home and begin adding antique decorations. Get inspired with ideas for vintage bedroom decorations or ways to use antique pieces in the bathroom. No matter with room you choose, you'll find that adding older pieces gives your home personality.

Antique Interior Decorations: A Classic Charm for Your Home