16 Enduring Charms of Vintage Décor
In a fast-paced world of power lunches, electronic mail and high-speed public transport, the prospect of a simpler time can seem all the more appealing. By creating a vintage decor which hails to the days of candlelit suppers and summers spent outdoors, you can bring the calming influence of a by-gone era to your homes interior.
This beautiful post was kindly created by The English Home, for inspiration and a showcase of elegant interiors.
Whether it be the choice placement of decorative ornaments collected over years of visiting antique markets, or sentimental pieces inherited from loved ones, the use of vintage items to add character to a home is immensely popular in the modern era. There are plenty of ways to employ vintage treasures into your interiors, from heritage prints to statement furniture. Here we explore timeless examples of decorating with vintage pieces, which bring enduring style to The English Home.
Vintage decor: Falcon enamelware features a distinctive blue rim.
Simple and versatile, enamelware is a practical choice for cookware that is seeing a revival as a style icon, evoking nostalgic memories of childhood camping and grandma’s home baking. With a shiny white interior and a coloured rim, these sturdy, resilient vessels are practically unbreakable so made a sensible choice for outdoor pursuits.
The longevity of enamelware means that pieces survive for decades, being passed down generations, or sought out at vintage fairs. New, high-quality pieces are also in demand from younger generations, who like the retro look, and by keen home-bakers who seek versatile cookware. No longer purely practical, enamelware is seeing a revival as a stylish, savvy choice for pots, pans, crockery and baking dishes.
Vintage decor: Thompson Clarke.
Perhaps the single most iconic furniture staple for a period English home’s kitchen is the dresser. Perfect for housing your dinner service and table linens within, it is also worth adding small hooks to the shelves. Display a collection of teacups or mugs from these to add personality.
The shelves, whether open or behind glass doors, should be reserved for a stylish display. Line them with a curated collection of pottery, ornate plates or even kitchenware antiques in complementary materials for a cohesive style. You can always refresh these displays seasonally. Opt for chintzy prints in the summer and more mellow designs for wintertime.
Vintage decor: Neptune Henley Kitchen hand painted in Sage.
Soft, neutral colours paired with stripped-back interiors can create a vintage decor which reminds us of summers spent in the country. At once soothing, restful and yet revitalising, sage green is a particularly dynamic colour with which to decorate the home.
The tranquil Henley kitchen design by Neptune showcases hand-painted sage cabinetry with timeless country appeal. A crisp white enamel sink nestles within a wooden work surface. Clean whites complement the classic sage colour. Subtle and warming, sage green paint may be applied to both units and walls for a refined, rustic appeal that ensures the kitchen is the heart of the home.
Vintage decor: Shoreditch Drinks Trolley, Rockett St George.
Those who love to entertain would do well to consider investing in a copper drinks trolley. Choose a curved, 1920’s-inspired design to create a stylish conversation piece for guests, or opt for a more rustic design with a functional honesty that becomes rural properties, which often have heritages of their own that are yoked to a more utilitarian past. From furnishings to feature pieces, adding copper to the home offers easy but effective style.
Vintage decor: For enduring country house looks with a more formal elegance, Colefax & Fowler fabrics are hard to beat.
Those seeking a timeless elegance with a classical undercurrent for a larger property will gravitate to larger floral prints, embroideries and wing chairs. Chesterfield and camelback sofas also offer a tasteful touch of vintage properties, while panelled walls and chandelier pendant lights bring a strong Georgian aesthetic.
Vintage decor: St George velvet Chesterfield, Authentic Furniture.
A place for relaxation and reflection, the humble sofa can often be overlooked when it comes to making a statement in interior design. With classic designs that will stand the test of time, velvet sofas offer enduring style as well as providing a cosy haven upon which to curl up with a book and while away the time. The epitome of the classic British Chesterfield fabric sofa, the St. George defines this traditional and timeless style in a regal and eye-catching deep red and a compact design.
Vintage decor: Crystal and gold are highlighted in a dark colour scheme. Luis XV tableware, from £10, Amara.
Rich dark colours are very much in vogue – particularly deep indigo blues and richly saturated greens. When used as a backdrop, dark colours are particularly effective for showing off shimmering metals, crystal and silks. They also look wonderful for high-contrast spaces when teamed with carrara marble on a fireplace or worktop, for example.
Vintage decor: Guinevere antiques in London is a worthy hunting ground for keen-eyed antiquarians.
No English country home is complete without a selection of unusual antique finds. An English home should look as though it was put together over generations, so look out for antique clocks, silverware and pewter jugs. A bookshelf full of second-hand books will look at home in a traditional living room, as will old artwork and photographs. Try finding old paintings at car boot sales, and display them in gilt frames. For a selection of some of the finest antiques in circulation, visit Guinevere.
Vintage decor: Barker and Stonehouse, Craven grand sofa.
The use of calming colours can also be employed to achieve a vintage decor. This calm and collected sitting room is the essence of pared back elegance. It has an informal charm thanks to rustic plank flooring and chunky wooden furniture in natural finishes, yet the chairs and sofas are of classic design in smart, chic fabrics. The palette is beautifully calming, with powder greys and dusky pinks setting a softly feminine and refined tone. Such a gentle palette allows for a mix of fabrics, from the plush velvet to a linen stripe without looking eclectic or mis-matched. A few glamorous textures such as a crystal chandelier and copper floor lamp off-set the natural woods to create a balanced and relaxing space in which to sit back and unwind. All furniture and accessories from Barker and Stonehouse.
Vintage decor: Revolution Papers, Little Greene.
When wishing to adorn your walls with a vintage aesthetic, heritage wallpaper collections are an excellent resource. Little Greene has scoured the archives of both London and Paris to source its heritage wallpaper collection, the aptly named ‘Révolution Papers’. The title of this range refers not to the storming of the Bastille in 1789, but to the ground-breaking advances in the production and distribution of wallpapers in the ensuing industrial period.
Vintage decor: Handmade Mahogany Writing Table Titchmarsh Goodwin from £3495.
Whether it’s an antique armoire, a vintage writing desk or simply a blanket box handed down through the generations, there is always a characterful solution to be found when it comes to storage.
These items have withstood the test of time and often benefit from beautiful craftsmanship. This means that they won’t simply perform the function of keeping your wares out of site, they will also act as accent pieces, playing a key role in creating your chosen aesthetic for each room’s interior. Frame a dresser or sideboard with twin lamps or vases to either side or hang a large mirror above.
Vintage decor: Jamb.
A low-hung light fitting, carefully positioned, can be a real showstopper as well as adding vintage charm. Jamb’s reproduction lighting is hand-made by skilled craftsmen using 18th and 19th century techniques. This Regency-style hanging lantern in a distressed gilt and brown bronze finish features faceted Gothic panels and a circular ribbed clasp. Windsor hanging lantern, £4560, Jamb.
Vintage decor: Worn vintage oak parquet flooring.
Reclaimed wood flooring offers a green solution for incorporating a vintage decor. Be sure to choose a reputable supplier and ask about the provenance of the flooring. The age of your home will have a bearing on the replacement boards you choose. In Medieval times, oak and elm were used and up until the 1600s boards were irregular and could be as wide as 45cm, while afterwards 30cm boards were popular.
Softwoods from Scandinavia were introduced from the 1700s. In Georgian and Victorian times, oak was still the favoured material for expensive houses, though most others had to make to do with cheaper ‘deal’ pine from the Baltics or later from North America. It was only after the 1830s that mechanical saws produced uniform boards. Reclaimed strip flooring from gyms or ballrooms comes in woods from cherry to walnut. Whatever your choice, check for insect damage, rot or warping and buy more than you need as replacements can be hard to find.
Vintage decor: Tubby Tub.
Installing a free-standing bathtub will create a vintage decor in stripped-back bathrooms and the attractive Tubby Tub from Albion Bath Collection also creates the perfect space-saving solution for smaller spaces. The wonderfully tall design of this bathtub means you can full submerge yourself in warm, lavender-infused bathwater and wash away the days stresses and strains.
Vintage decor: Blossom Branch glass mosaic from the Azure collection, Ann Sacks.
Traditional bathroom mosaics bring to mind eye-catching floor tiles in bright colours. Contrary to that vision, these pictorial wall tiles are created in reserved, muted tones, which are all the more enchanting and sophisticated for not being so obvious. The pink undertones of the blossom tree, echoed in the pretty lampshades of the wall lights, warm up the scheme and bestow the room with champagne tones.
Vintage decor: Christy Regency bed linen.
Create a sophisticated decor in your bedroom combing blush pink with brownish undercurrent. This Christy Regency bed linen combines a floral pattern with tones of pink which, when set upon a backdrop of pale wooden flooring, create quite a reclaimed, distressed look. This unique design is digitally printed onto a linen blend fabric and then over-dyed and washed to create a truly beautiful vintage effect.
Every element of the home offers an opportunity for creating a vintage decor. From the inclusion of traditional but effective tools, to the instalment of grand light fittings, vintage decor can be incorporated into the home in a way which doesn’t detract from its functionality.
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