40 Old-Fashioned Home Items Everyone Should Have
These old-timey touches will make any space complete.
Turn into virtually home design show and you'll see the same modern design elements repeated ad nauseam: neutral-hued mosaic tile backsplashes, stainless steel appliances, and a sea of anonymous, brightly-colored furniture you could find at virtually any home décor store. However, for a different subset of the population, there's nothing better than the antique appeal of brass fixtures, luxe velvet furniture, and surfaces topped by doilies. For those who subscribe to the latter design philosophy, we've rounded up the best vintage-inspired home décor on the market. Prepare to have the quaintest place on the block!
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A Ceiling Medallion
$13; buy now at Home Depot
Want to make your ceilings look higher and add some vintage appeal to your home? A simple ceiling medallion—like this one, which is just $13 at Home Depot—draws the eye upward and can instantly make your otherwise uninspiring drywall ceiling look like it belongs in a stately country manor.
A Patchwork Quilt
$140$95; buy now at Wayfair
Patchwork quilts have been an integral part of the American folk art landscape for centuries. However, you don’t need to spend thousands on an antique quilt to add some charm to your space. Today, machine-made patchwork quilts, like this one from Wayfair, are available at a wide variety of price points, making it easier—and cheaper—than ever to add old-fashioned aesthetic appeal to your bedroom.
“These pieces have been used in homes for generations and they will never go out of style,” says interior designer Angela Cosentino of home design website Spoak.com. And, according to her, patchwork is once again “having a moment.” Cosentino's suggestion? “If your home is very modern, try adding a bold geometric quilt to a stark white wall for texture and color.”
A Vase Lamp
$160; buy now at Wayfair
Don’t be surprised if people routinely mistake this blue and white porcelain lamp for an expensive antique piece. “In the history of design, blue has never gone out of style, which is why the chinoiserie vase will always be a staple,” says Cosentino. They're elegant, antique-looking, and ornate without being gaudy for just the right touch of vintage.
A Lace Doily
$23; buy now at Wayfair
Perfect for use as coasters—or just as a way to decorate an otherwise lackluster tabletop—lace or crocheted doilies are an easy way to add antique appeal while keeping those precious surfaces protected.
A Set of Jadeite Salt and Pepper Shakers
$20; buy now at Amazon
While real jadeite pieces can sell for thousands, you can enjoy their aesthetic charm without breaking the bank with a set of jadeite-inspired salt and pepper shakers, like these ones from Amazon, which sell for just $20.
A Sheepskin Throw Rug
$97$90; buy now at Wayfair
A nod to the Scandinavian modern design popularized in the 1950s, sheepskin throws are an easy way to give your home a cool retro vibe without going too kitschy. “They add a little luxury with their beautiful appearance, whether used on the floor as a rug or—my personal preference—draped over a chair,” says Rose McCullough, another interior designer with Spoak.
A Starburst Mirror
$395; buy now at One Kings Lane
Another mid-century throwback, starburst mirrors are an easy way to give your home a vintage look with just a nail and a swing of a hammer. “Starburst mirrors are having a moment,” says McCullough. “They provide a focal point to any room, and their traditional gold finish fits well with the current mid-century modern craze.”
A Record Player
$99; buy now at Urban Outfitters
Those itty-bitty Bluetooth speakers may be convenient, but they’re not doing much to give your space the old-fashioned aesthetic you crave. Enter: the upgraded record player, like this one from Crosley, which is Bluetooth enabled, but gives off serious vintage vibes with its cream and rose gold color scheme and pebbled faux leather exterior.
A Tiered Plant Stand
$139; buy now at Home Depot
If you’ve got a lot of plants to show off, but don’t want them to overwhelm your space, an antique-inspired plant stand, like this one from Home Depot, can keep all that greenery neatly contained without sacrificing every window ledge in your home. And if you’re working with a smaller space, check out these 33 Genius Tips for Downsizing Your Home After 50.
A Blue and White Porcelain Vase
$58; buy now at Bed Bath & Beyond
Want to up your plant game even more? Trade in those terra cotta planters and plain glass vases and take a page from a decidedly retro playbook. Try this chinoiserie-inspired blue and white hexagonal vase, for example; its pattern is influenced by a 17th-century drawing of Italian ruins!
A Gooseneck Brass Desk Lamp
$105; buy now at Lumens Light and Living
Once a staple in libraries, gooseneck lamps are a simple vintage-inspired accessory that won’t overwhelm your space’s existing aesthetic. If you’re looking for authenticity, opt for ones with elongated bulbs, like this one from Lumens Light and Living.
A Tufted Ottoman
$304; buy now at Wayfair
While filling a room with tufted chairs and sofas may give off more of a Versailles vibe than you’re after, a tufted ottoman strikes the perfect balance of old-world appeal and modern craftsmanship. “Tufted ottomans provide a glamorous touch to your living room or bedroom,” says McCullough, who also recommends brown leather, in addition to velvet, for an instant statement piece.
A Kilim Rug
From $70; buy now at World Market
For centuries, kilims—flat, woven rugs traditionally produced throughout central Asia—have been a staple in homes, both as prayer rugs and floor coverings. You too can infuse your home with some vintage style courtesy of one of these gorgeous rugs, like this handmade cotton one from India.
Don’t know how to style it? McCullough says they work particularly well “against hardwood floors and golden highlights.”
A Silhouette Portrait
$25; buy now at Etsy
"Silhouette portraits have a graphic quality that will never go out of style. They’re a portrait without being a portrait and there’s an element of mystery around who the silhouette belongs to,” says designer Erin Strassen of Spoak.
While it’s easy enough to nab a charming vintage one, you can also have personalized versions of you or your family made, like this version from Etsy. “I guarantee guests will do a double take,” says Strassen.
A Drop-Leaf Table
From $459; buy now at Bed Bath & Beyond
Perfect for anyone who loves to entertain, thanks to their ability to expand, drop leaf tables are sure to win you plenty of “oohs” and “aahs” from your party guests. And an inlaid version, like this one from Bed Bath & Beyond, adds some extra vintage flair.
“As more people combine their living and dining rooms and formal dining rooms become a thing of the past, drop-leaf tables have become the perfect space-saving dining solution,” says Strassen.
A Needlepoint Pillow
$29; buy now at Wayfair
While needlepoint may not be the aesthetic you’re after for your whole home, a few needlepoint décor items here and there can give your space the perfect vintage touch. Whether they’re tossed onto your bed or tucked into the arm of your sofa, adding a couple of needlepoint throw pillows to your home can instantly give it the old-fashioned charm you’re seeking.
A Globe Sconce
$70; buy now at Home Depot
Face it: Those builder-grade fixtures your house came with aren’t doing much in terms of its aesthetic appeal. The good news? Swapping in some inexpensive globe sconces can give your space a classic look in no time.
A Set of Decorative Plates
$48 for 4; buy now at Wayfair
Want a fun way to brighten up some blank space on your wall? Then look no further than these decorative plates. And while this hand-painted set has a distinctly antique vibe, unlike your grandmother’s beloved Royal Albert china, you won’t become persona non grata at future family gatherings if you happen to chip one.
A Ceramic Canister
$9; buy now at World Market
Hide those less-than-gorgeous bags of flour and sugar languishing in your cabinets and give your kitchen a fun vintage upgrade by investing some ceramic canisters for your countertops. While they’re a budget-friendly $9 each, these ones could easily pass for priceless antiques.
A Woven Plaid Blanket
$60$24; buy now at Wayfair
There are few things that give a room an old-fashioned, cabin-inspired vibe like a woven plaid blanket. Whether you spread it out at the end of a bed or throw it over the arm of a chair or couch, this plaid throw from Wayfair can make your house look like a million bucks without the high price tag associated with Pendleton.
A Scalloped Cake Stand
$65$31; buy now at Wayfair
Got a knack for whipping up desserts? Then show off those delicious projects and give your kitchen some vintage charm with a scalloped cake stand. It's just the kind of pedestal your inspired concoctions deserve to be placed upon.
A Hope Chest
$269$240; buy now at Wayfair
Great for storing blankets, pillows, or even your kids’ toys, hope chests are a family heirloom that can add an old-fashioned feel. But even if you haven't been lucky enough to receive one from your grandparents or great aunt, you can purchase your own hope chest, like this gorgeous piece from Wayfair, and enjoy the same aesthetic appeal.
A Sputnik Chandelier
$398$318; buy now at Lumens Light and Living
Whether you’re trying to tie together a dining room or giving a little flair to your hallway, Sputnik chandeliers are a vintage design that can instantly liven up your home. Named after the first satellite to orbit Earth in the 1950s, these multi-armed fixtures became a staple in mid-century modern homes and have had a recent resurgence.
“A Sputnik chandelier is a fun and funky way to upgrade any space,” says Courtney Fenimore, an interior designer with Spoak, who recommends opting for ones in bronze or gold finishes. “It is a piece that easily catches the eye and can create a really elevated sense of character in a room.”
A Mid-Century Modern-Inspired Sideboard
$176; buy now at Wayfair
Perfect for propping up a TV, storing your wine collection, or keeping that living room clutter at bay, low-slung mid-century modern credenzas can transform any room with their cool vintage vibes. This one, which comes with storage built right in, is a particularly genius way to keep everything organized without sacrificing your home’s antique aesthetic. “A vintage credenza adds a hint of craftsmanship and nostalgia to a space,” says Spoak designer Alexis Dakas. “It feels timeless.”
A Post-Mounted Mailbox
$174; buy now at Home Depot
Your penchant for vintage design elements doesn’t have to be limited to your home’s interior. This post-mounted mailbox can give even a contemporary home serious vintage flair—not to mention the benefit of keeping those important letters locked away.
A Set of Mercury Glass Candlesticks
$20; buy now at Target
One of the easiest ways to bring antique inspiration into your home without blowing your budget? Add some vintage-inspired accessories to your tablescape, like a set of mercury glass candlesticks. While they look like expensive antiques, these ones from Target are just $20.
A Gilded Mirror
$190; buy now at Designer Living
The right mirror can change the feel of any room, making it look instantly bigger and brighter the second it’s installed. And if it’s an old-fashioned vibe you’re going for, a little gold and some ornate framing, like you’ll find in this Designer Living version, is without a doubt the way to go.
A Leather Desk Pad
$144; buy now at Wayfair
Even if your desk is more of a place to check Facebook and watch Netflix than it is a sanctuary where you pen the next Great American Novel, you can still dress it up with some vintage charm. Unless you’re ready to replace your usual writing instruments with quills, this charming leather desk blotter will do the trick.
An Apothecary-Inspired Desk Organizer
$75; buy now at Wayfair
Want something a bit more practical than a blotter? You don’t have to scour every flea market and antique store in your area to find an apothecary-inspired piece that’s sure to make your desk tidy and charming. With this desk organizer, you get the aesthetic charm of an older piece without the price tag.
A Pedestal Table
$150$105; buy now at Target
The perfect addition to an entryway, living room, or bedroom, pedestal tables are an easy way to bring ample old-fashioned charm to your home. And while this one has all the design elements you’d expect from an expensive antique, from curved feet to a decorative base, it’ll barely set you back $100.
A Cast Iron Bench
$130; buy now at Wayfair
Looking for extra seating for your mudroom, front hallway, or garden? A cast iron bench will instantly add antique appeal to any space. And since this particular model is also partly made from aluminum, it weighs in at just 24 pounds.
A Scooped Fabric Headboard
$684$547; buy now at Target
"Padded headboards add a luxurious look to the room," interior designer Rosemary Burgher told the Chicago Tribune of this classic trend. At Versailles, Marie Antoinette even had a similarly-shaped headboard—albeit in gold and with her initials on it—but still!
A Steamer Trunk
$280; buy now at Wayfair
Even if the odds of you going on a long-distance ocean voyage are slim to none, you can still add some nautical fun to any room in your house with a steamer trunk. Not only are trunks the perfect alternative to a coffee table or end-of-bed bench, they’re a great way to hide clutter without shoving it into the dark recesses of your closet.
$27; buy now at Home Depot
Whether you hang up a set in your bedroom, living room, or kitchen, white lace curtains are a simple way to give any room more of a vintage style. Even today, you can get modern versions, like these ones from Home Depot, at a budget-friendly price.
Decorative Curtain Finials
$30; buy now at Wayfair
Looking to treat your windows to an even more antique look? You can give standard-issue curtain rods a fun, old-fashioned upgrade by adding decorative finials to their ends. They're an easy way to change the feel of any window without breaking the bank.
A Set of Crystal Curtain Tiebacks
$28 for 2; buy now at Urban Outfitters
So, maybe you don’t have the money, time, or inclination to swap every doorknob in your home for a crystal one just to make your space look a bit more antiqued. Instead, you can have the next best thing: This sweet set of crystal curtain tiebacks that will add instant vintage vibes to your room.
$471; buy now at Home Depot
A couch-sofa hybrid is a great way to make the most of a small room and add extra sleeping space to your home. This daybed from Home Depot even does double duty, thanks to the convenient trundle drawer underneath.
A Flour Sack Dish Towel
$4; buy now at Target
Those old-timey farmhouse vibes you’re going for are easy to achieve—if you’ve got the right accessories, that is. A flour sack dish towel, like this one from Joanna Gaines’ Hearth & Home line for Target, can instantly give even the most modern kitchens some serious antique appeal.
A Metal Bed Frame
From $302; buy now at Home Depot
Yes, you can add some sweet vintage style to your kid’s bedroom without loading it up with lead-painted pieces. Case in point: This metal bed frame looks like it’s straight out of the early 20th century, but it can be scooped up at your local Home Depot.
A Crystal Chandelier
$170; buy now at Lumens Light and Living
There are few things that can instantly liven up a room like a great chandelier. And even if your budget doesn’t allow for an antique Murano glass piece—and whose does, really?—you can still channel that old-fashioned elegance with this opulent crystal and metal version for under $200. And for some more fun retro inspiration, check out these 20 Photos of 1970s Home Décor to Overwhelm You With Nostalgia.
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