In-depth Vintage Interior Design guide ⭐ Vintage design styles from rustic to industrial ⭐ Best Vintage Interior Design ideas and coffee table book recommendations 😍
What is a vintage design?
The term vintage applies to any item of clothing, accessory or interior design style which has taken influence from the past generations style trends. On this note, vintage is a broad term with an almost infinite number of possible origin stories for each individual item, specific to time period and styling. A rustic filing cabinet that survived WW1? Vintage. An upholstered armchair circa 1982 - Vintage. An 18th-century oil painting featuring an unamused mistress and her unruly youngest son - yep, vintage!
Short history of vintage interior design
Vintage interior design has always proven to be a popular and attractive trend and an enjoyable way for people to express themselves whilst decorating their homes. A vintage interior design definition can be summed as using furniture and styles from previous generations to create a pre-contemporary design style in the home. Many people in the current age are especially fond of vintage interior design due to the fact that the 60s/70s/80s were considered the most influential eras in terms of music, fashion, style and influence. If you want to know more about retro vintage interior design and how to add this style into your décor click the link.
The numerous breakthroughs in fashion and music naturally influenced the interior design trends of past decades, and we have started to see more daring designs throughout as time progresses. These days, looking back and interpreting old trends via interior design is encouraged. Rather than following current day trends, a vintage interior design style helps express individuality and sparks connection to previous memories and experiences. If you are interested in the Victorian vintage interior design style in particular, read our guide to incorporating it into your home here.
Vintage patterns and colours
A certain vintage pattern that is appreciated in different forms throughout the world is the 1960s floral pattern. Here we see that the traditional vintage pattern has been reworked for the modern audience, which shows the evolution of vintage interior design throughout the ages. The traditional vintage 1960s floral pattern was extremely popular at that time and featured lots of shades of brown and orange which was regarded as highly fashionable and sought after. (perhaps it’s popularity was because it helped to hide smoke stains - smoking inside was perfectly acceptable in the 60s!)
These days, the traditional vintage pattern of the 60s has evolved into a more subtle design. Much more empty space can be seen in modern day imitations, although the warped flower look is still popular. The colours pallets of modern day design have changed and modern day interpretations of this pattern have been adjusted to suit the modern day interior design taste. Instead of the garish and loud colours which once adorned our living rooms, we are now opting for warmer tones for a cosier atmosphere (rather than groovy, baby).
Vintage decorating styles
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different vintage styles. This post hopes to provide a little advice and direction and to break down the different vintage interior design styles - so that you may make an informed decision about which direction you want to go in, regarding decorating with a vintage interior design style in mind. Read on to hear more about rustic vintage interior design, industrial vintage interior design, French vintage interior design, Italian vintage interior design, bohemian vintage interior design - and more!
Rustic vintage interior design
Rustic vintage interior design focuses on the use of exposed and weathered light woods and other natural materials such as glass and stone. Rustic can be considered as a minimalist form of vintage styling, and is compatible with lots of different home atmospheres. The good thing about rustic vintage interior design is that you can’t go wrong easily. It is not a loud and obnoxious style and little pieces can be added here and there to help create just the right level of the desired vintage design effect. Feel free to add pieces and then take them away again, it is up to you how far you wish to go with it. A good place to start with rustic vintage interior design is by upcycling old materials. Rip off and replace the material of your favourite armchair, or, clean out your jam jars, wash off the little plastic stickers and use them as storage for other items you might have laying around the house. Use the glass jars to store rice, pasta, coffee and other dried foods for that rustic vintage interior design look.
Industrial vintage interior design
Industrial vintage interior design reminds me of the smell of cigars, dim lighting and cowboys mounting their horses in the wild west (Just me?). Industrial vintage interior design features darker, polished woods (in contrast to the light 'beachy' woods used in rustic vintage interior design) and exposed metals. Mahogany woods and burgundy drapes help to create an industrial look, as well as rusty signage such as the one in the picture below! If you want to learn how to make a metal sign look old and rusty, watch the 'how to' guide in the video linked.
French vintage interior design
French vintage interior design is very popular in 2021 as it features lots of soft and muted colours. The French vintage interior design style is usually floaty and feminine, featuring ruffles and stony shades of white and beige. The modern-day French vintage interior design style is very romantic and fresh. A gorgeous bouquet of spring flowers is essential for this look. To get the French interior design look, purchase pots of duck egg grey paint and start to lightly touch up your home furnishings, subtle hints of glitz and sparkle look great, too. If you happen to live in the UK, check out French Grey Interiors for charming French vintage interior design goodies or design inspiration.
Urban vintage interior design
Urban vintage interior design blends industrial vintage design with modern minimalism and makes the best use of space available in an urban settings. We all know that affording to live in the city can be very expensive and unattainable for many. However, it has become a popular venture for many to buy unfinished properties and to furnish them themselves. We have seen loft and garage conversations become all the range in terms of modern, urban vintage interior design. Urban vintage interior design also incorporates classically Victorian or industrial interior design features, such as accessories that have taken inspiration from that period. Faux suede rugs and fake animal bones are all the rage. Adding splashes of interesting interior furnishings to a rustic property can help elude to a sense of class and glamour.
Italian vintage interior design
Italian vintage interior design exudes calm and serenity. Imagine a soft warm breeze, wide-open windows, the sharp smell of Italian lemons in the air, exposed bricks and bare feet. If you are lucky enough to have access to an outdoor area - make the most of it! Italian vintage interior design is all about bringing the outside in and exposure of natural light. Instead of thick blackout curtains, use light and floaty materials to add that extra level of style. Terracotta colours of deep orange and rustic brown suit this vintage interior design style perfectly.
Bohemian vintage interior design
Bohemian vintage interior design is one of my personal favourite interior design styles - because it almost acts as a shrine to pop culture. The bohemian vintage interior design style focuses heavily on the display of famous popular literature, music records and art work. Film posters and anything else which represents pinnacle moments in pop culture are a big YES when decorating a home in the bohemian style. Bohemian vintage interior design acts as a time portal, taking you to places which just feel so inherently 'cool' and laidback. The type of place you'd want to take an afternoon nap, you know?
Vintage interior design ideas
There are various ways to incorporate a vintage/homely feel to your space. The first step you could take is to head to your local second hand or thrift store to search for good quality second-hand furniture and pieces of artwork. When going to a second-hand store, patience and a keen eye are both important attributes to equip yourself with. Oftentimes there will be many things stacked up in there that don't particularly suit your style or taste; however, if you hang in there (and rummage deep enough) you may just get lucky and strike gold!
You can also make newer items look vintage by customising them to appear to be weathered or 'roughed up'. Sandpaper is cheap and when rubbed across paint or metal (lightly) will take away some of the top layer of the paint/coating and add a little texture, which can make an object look vintage and older than it actually is. Sandpaper is a great tool to have around the house, it is a tough material which can even be used to add texture to clothing materials such as denim. Messily painting objects such as mirror frames and table legs can add personality and character to an item. The key point when customising a newer object is to not be too afraid of making it look battered. Vintage does mean old, after all!
How do I make my house look vintage?
On top of actually purchasing pieces of vintage furniture and artwork, you can customise and rework what you already have. Even furniture from Ikea can be customised to create a classic vintage vibe. First, decide which variation of a vintage interior design style you most prefer and get creating a little mood board.
Pick up interior design magazines from your local supermarket and get cutting out pictures of things that inspire you. These days a minimal look is a modern look, so colourful, textured and patterned pieces are your friends when it comes to vintage interior design. Another great resource for inspiration is Pinterest.
Cosy vintage interior design
A basic modern day interior features very little colour and gleamingly clean/bright surfaces. In modern interior design less is more, which can come across as a little bit cold (especially in a bigger house). The trick to creating a cosy vintage interior design style is to play with colours, patterns and textures. Don’t worry so much about patterns conflicting as that can actually help to create a cosy, warm interior which feels personal and lived in. Think about it, did the pillows on your grandma’s sofa represent 50 shades of beige or were there woolly dolphins knitted on throws? We’re not saying go quite that far, but you get the idea. As long as you stick to a similar colour pallet throughout the space, feel free to go wild with a mis-match of patterns and textures.
Using vintage interior design to tap into nostalgia
Trying to keep up with modern trends in interior design can seem like an endless goose chase. Not only can it be difficult to keep up with what is currently in fashion, but the popular interior design style of minimalism can also feel empty and impersonal. If your taste is a little more ‘homely’, incorporating vintage interior design into your home can help spark a nostalgic, sentimental feeling. Vintage interior design persuades you to let your gaze linger over timeless furniture and styles from the past. Reconnect with yourself, your family history, previous musical interests, or feel a part of your very own vintage film set. Let your house be the canvas and use vintage interior design to let your immigration run free.
How to mix the modern with vintage interior design?
If you aim to incorporate a vintage interior design feel into your home, but don’t want to go overboard with it, mixing modern interior design with vintage interior design can be a great way to express both sides of your personality. You can still showcase a few great vintage interior design items but keep the subtlety of a modern property; making your home feel fresh but eccentric at the same time. Mixed textiles are a great way to show your passion for both interior design styles and may be more accustomed to your guests varied tastes.
For instance, If you have chrome lights and a granite worktop, add a vintage interior design focal point that contrasts with the mood of the rest of the room. This way, you can still keep that light and airy modern feel which everyone loves, but with an added touch of 'cool'.
Vintage interior design coffee table books
No vintage interior design home is complete without a wooden coffee table loaded with colourful coffee table books. For further design inspiration, check out the books listed below;
INTERIORS: THE GREATEST ROOMS OF THE CENTURY BOOK
A look back at recent trends and interior design styles from the past. Comparing the greatest rooms of previous centuries; a look at how interior design styles have evolved and taken inspiration from one another. Invite your guests to a little design history lesson whilst they sip their tea in your living room.
VOGUE & THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART COSTUME INSTITUTE: PARTIES, EXHIBITIONS, PEOPLE (A look back on centuries worth of fashion as demonstrated by the worlds fashion powerhouse)
Because...well, who wouldn’t want to flick through exclusive pictures of the elite and pretend to live vicariously through them?
ANDY WARHOL: THE IMPOSSIBLE COLLECTION (1960 Artist’s collection)
An explosion of colour and famous faces. I’m sure that just about everyone on the planet would recognise Warhol’s unique style, but hey if you want to remind them of the creative genius's past work, you can now display his famous pop art collections on your coffee table.
Words by Jessica Holmes - Overseas Content Marketing Manager at SPEXTRUM