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The 5 Rules of Vintage Interior Design

The 5 Rules of Vintage Interior Design

There ares so many possible ideas when it comes to your home and the vintage style. I have a growing list of mood board posts that you can find here, that covers everything from vintage storage ideas, bathroom decor, to vintage ceiling designs.

I wrote this post to help you simplify the process of creating the vintage interior design style in your own home – to make it easy to know which ideas are best for your home. Because I believe that you don’t need a lot to create a beautiful vintage space. Following a few rules will help you become your own master interior designer.

1. The Rule of Materials

When you are looking for decor pieces or vintage furniture, think about the materials that were used back in the day. You would’t find plastic pieces. Instead there would be copper, wrought iron, porcelain, enamel, galvanised metal, glass, hard woods, and leather.

The materials you choose can really help set the tone and style of the room.

Take storage containers as an example. They would be made out of wood (like wooden crates or wicker baskets), or you would find wire baskets. Enamel containers would be used in the kitchen, along with glass jars. These types of materials would be considered premium materials today.

2. The Rule of Going Premium

I think the reason a lot of us like the vintage style is that we are tired of this throw away culture, where everything is cheap and mass produced. Vintage goods are meaningful pieces that are well thought out when bought. They are also legacy items – being well built and made out of quality materials means they can be passed down for generations.

With this in mind, look for items and furniture pieces that are well made and use high quality materials – as listed above. Avoid plastic.

Go for a few well thought out, meaningful, and well built items, vs a lot of cheaper items. These few items can be the focal pieces in the room (talked about below), and would be all that’s needed to style the space.

You can get inexpensive vintage goods, but you’ll need to go thrifting, go to flea markets, or upcycle old pieces.

3. The Rule of Focal Points

You don’t need much to set the style in a room. In each room there are focal points, areas that take up the most space and where the eye is drawn to first.

Here are some examples of focal point in rooms around the house:

  • Living Room – the seating area
  • Bedroom – the bed (bed frame, headboard, bedding) and the side tables
  • Bathroom – the vanity (the mirror and sink)
  • Kitchen – the dining table and kitchen island

These are the areas you want to invest and style with vintage goods. Another important area that needs to have the vintage style infused into it is the lighting – have a look at my mood board post for design ideas: Style Guide: Vintage Lighting Ideas. Focal pieces and lighting – that is all you should focus on when creating vintage room designs.

My favorite vintage inspired space is The Vintage House Daylesford:

Vintage Bedroom Studio

Vintage Bedroom Studio

Take a look at the White Bedroom in the pictures above. Only a few statement pieces are needed to style the room. There is one big vintage garage sign, an industrial side table decorated simply with a glass vase, wooden shutter doors, and vintage pendant lights.

Don’t’ over do it. Don’t clutter the room with small meaningless decor pieces and knick knacks. Invest in big focal pieces that set the style of the room. These will be authentic pieces which might be expensive, but worth it.

4. The Rule of Choice: Vintage Inspired Pieces vs. Authentic Found Items

When shopping for your vintage home pieces there are 2 ways you can go about it. There are shops that will sell vintage inspired pieces, or you can go hunting for authentic and antique vintage design items.

There are some items that would make sense to buy as vintage inspired – like a leather couch, the bed and bedding, or a sink. Some shops that sell well designed vintage inspired pieces include Pottery Barn and Urban Outfitters. You can find a selection of vintage inspired home goods on my Deli page.

Other items are worth going out for and hunting down authentic pieces, such as large wall decor pieces, or reclaimed wood to make furniture out of (like a dining table). These authentic items can be hard to hunt down, take a lot of time to find, and be expensive. But it will be worth it. Remember you don’t need much to decorate and style a room. One or two statement pieces can set the style for the space.

Mr-Cup is one store that sells one of kind vintage pieces such as maps and containers.

5. The Rule of Knowing Your Style

I see two main styles when it comes to vintage decor and interior design. You have the more industrial side, and then the more retro glamorous side.

  • The industrial style is made up of – dark woods, leather, and cast iron materials
  • The retro glam style is made up of pastel and mustard colors, thin tapered table legs, and shabby chic style fabric.

The most important things to remember when creating a vintage home style are:

  1. Set a clear picture of the style you want to create (find lots of amazing photos to get inspiration from – check out my vintage mood board collection here)
  2. Figure out where the focal points are in the room (as mentioned above)
  3. Invest in 1-2 premium pieces for those focal points, and vintage styled light fixtures
  4. Don’t’ clutter the space with small decor items.

More vintage mood board posts:

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July 18, 2014 in Design Styles

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