25+ Ways to Decorate with Affordable Vintage Finds

I love decorating with vintage finds, mostly because they have charm and character but also because I am super thrifty. I love to find a bargain. Always have and likely always will. I scour thrift stores, flea markets, antique malls, garage sales and even the side of the road to find unique and affordable (or free!) pieces. Today, I am sharing a round-up of ways that I have decorated with and repurposed some of these vintage finds in my own home.
The majority of these images have appeared in previous blog posts, so be sure to click on the links beneath each for more details!

1. Rustic Bench Turned Window Seat
In our living room, I used an old wooden bench for a window seat. We made it cozy and soft with a faux sheepskin rug and some throw pillows. The bench was a $10 flea market find.

2. Vintage Doily Turned Boho Wall Hanging | 3. Old Trunk as Nightstand
In my bedroom, I recently turned a vintage doily into a bohemian wall hanging. Vintage doilies can be found all over flea markets, thrift stores and the like for very low prices. In this space I also turned a rustic old chest into a bedside table by simply turning it upright on its side. If you search antique malls, flea markets, etc. you might just run across a rustic trunk for a decent price. This one was around $45....pricy for this thrifty girl, but I loved it so much it was worth the splurge! (Here's a tip: go to flea markets just before closing. Dealers are often more eager to haggle and give things away for lower prices!)

4. Architectural Wood Turned Rustic Sign | 5. Vintage Trinkets & Books
My mother lives in an older home that they have been remodeling for several years. She gave me a piece of baseboard molding that I turned into a unique statement piece with our house numbers.

I am always finding ways to display inexpensive trinkets, like these brass deer, and old books throughout our home. The deer were $1.00 for the pair at a thrift store and I constantly find cheap old books at sales. I am definitely an old book hoarder! They are some of my "go-to" items for any vignette.

6. Old Ladder Turned Blanket Storage
Old ladders make great storage for throw blankets in living spaces. I found this one for $5 at a church sale. It holds extra throw blankets especially in warmer months when they aren't as often needed and looks stylish in the living room.

7. A Small Mirror Gets Added Impact With a Large Ornate Frame
When I wanted to make an impact in this living room vignette but didn't have a large enough mirror, I propped an ornate, antique gold frame around a smaller one. The large frame was free (at the end of a yard sale) and the smaller mirror was around $25 at an annual charity sale.

8. Tablecloth as Romantic Crib Canopy
When my daughter Hazel was a baby, I draped a vintage lace tablecloth over her crib to create a canopy in her nursery. Hook up some white Christmas lights inside, and it creates instant whimsy! Lace tablecloths can often be found in plenty at garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets. This particular one was a bit tattered and worn, which made it perfect for this shabby, romantic nursery (and also cheap!).

9. Vintage Brooches Turned Glam Napkin Rings
During the holiday season last year, I took several vintage brooches and turned them into napkin rings by gluing them onto inexpensive ones. I often look on eBay, Etsy or at flea markets for vintage jewelry lots. Even if some of the pieces are broken, I don't mind because I love to repurpose them.

10. Vintage Lampshade Gets a Woodland Update
When looking for new lighting for our living room last year, I decided to "shop" my own basement and found a boring vintage lampshade. I ended up painting it with a simple woodgrain pattern and added some rope trim around the top and bottom. I put it together with another vintage lamp we had and voila...a practically free new lamp!

11. Vintage Buffet as TV Console
My husband was given this antique buffet for free, but having no room in our dining room for it, we decided to use it to hold our flat screen. It turned into the perfect TV console with plenty of storage for video games and DVDs.

12. Old Photographs Turned Eclectic Gallery Wall
When I found some old black and white photographs at an antique mall for only $3.00 a bag, I had to have them. I decided to create a unique photo wall collage with them by simply taping them in a random arrangement in our entryway.

13. Roadside Dresser as Patio Storage | 14. Bridge Lamp Turned Outdoor Lantern
Another roadside find, we took this dresser, as is, and decided to use it for extra storage on the back patio. You never know what amazing pieces others with throw away, so don't be afraid to stop if you see something that catches your eye! 

The antique bridge lamp was a $10 garage sale find and paired with a Moroccan style lantern, it was a perfect fixture in our outdoor space.

15. Door Turned Corner Shelf
My husband and I found this old door on the side of the road and he turned it into a corner shelf for our living room several years ago. He simply added plywood backing and shelves and I had him add some ornate vintage hardware. While we no longer have this piece (we sold it to a neighbor down the road due to space limitations and style changes around here), it was a fun piece to work on and decorate for the years we had it.

16. Antique Sugar Bag Turned Farmhouse Throw Pillow
I used to collect lots of vintage sugar bags, grain and coffee sacks. They can often be found at flea markets for very low prices (the ones I have found have ranged from $1-$10). I took a sugar bag sack and turned it into a throw pillow quickly and easily. It's a perfect way to add rustic farmhouse style to any room.

17. Vintage Wire Lampshades Turned Photo Display
When I used to be more of a hoarder than a collector, I would get several of the same thing. The more the merrier right? Or, so I thought then. I had several old lampshades just sitting around, and decided to take three and turn them into a unique piece to hang in our living room when it was more rustic farmhouse style. I removed the shades and tied them together with twine, then clipped old black and white photographs to them with clothespins.

18. Old Crate Turned Kids Shoe Rack
I also used to collect lots of old crates. This Canada Dry one has been displayed all throughout our home. When my kids were even smaller than they are now, I used it in our entryway to store their shoes. Often times these crates can be found at flea markets for fairly low prices depending on the style and condition.

19. Wooden Crates as Porch Planters
I have also used old crates as planters on the front porch. They look lovely with seasonal flowers like these mums during the fall.

20. Vintage Plates Turned Bohemian Artwork
Vintage china and dishes can be found all the time at thrift stores for very low prices. Last year, I took three of these salad plates that already had a decorative rim and turned them into unique art pieces by drawing on them with a Sharpie marker. You can even bake them in the oven afterwards, to set them, and then they are safe to eat on! (You can find loads of tutorials for that on Pinterest.)

21. Folding Ruler Turned Gallery Wall Letter
I took several vintage framed prints to create a gallery wall in an upstairs room, but also added some creative touches like a "W" (our last name initial) made from an old folding ruler. We have another in the shape of a star in the kids' playroom.

22. Stacked Suitcases and Trunk as End Table
My husband and I have never really owned actual end tables, but instead we find creative ways to make a spot for drinks and what not at the end of our sofas. When our living room looked like it did in the above photo, we stacked old suitcases on top of an antique trunk. The top suitcase was a roadside find, while the antique trunk was found by my husband before we were married. 

23. Printer's Drawer as Seashell and Nature Display
I always love to display bits of nature in my decorating. Last summer when I created a botanical inspired mantel vignette, I propped up an old printer's drawer to showcase several collected seashells and rocks. Printer's drawers can be found at antique stores, flea markets, etc and can get pricey. The one above was on the smaller side so it was more affordable at only about $10.

24. Vintage Sewing Table Turned Nightstand
My bedroom is constantly changing as I trade out furniture and decor in it. This photograph shows it when I had an old sewing table as a nightstand. The sewing machine had been removed, but the table was still great for holding decorative items.

25. Old Thread Spools Turned Whimsical Garland
I wanted to create a cute and whimsical garland for my kids' shared bedroom last year, so I decided to use my collection of old thread spools mixed with colorful beads. I strung them together on a sturdy string and voila!

26. Dated Trays Made Over with Paint & Used for Jewelry Storage
I had several old teak trays, found at thrift stores, and gave them each a modern bohemian makeover and used them on a table for jewelry storage. I see these trays all the time at thrift stores for super low prices. Paint them and give them a new life!

What are your favorite vintage finds to decorate with? Let me know in a comment below and follow along with me on social media so we can stay in touch!

Till next time...
~Alice W.

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  1. Awesome collection of great ideas on repurposing and making new, Alice. You have a real talent and eye for this - enjoyed seeing these great ideas again and having them all put together like this. Well done.

    Have a wonderful day!!

  2. What a treat viewing all these wonderful repurposed items in one post! Thank you for so many wonderful ideas to inspire us, Alice!

  3. Love your artistic styling of everyday items, Alice! You capture so many "feelings" - - bohemian, rustic, vintage, farmhouse - and tie them into a home that is uniquely yours... love it. ~julie

  4. Really enjoyed this post and seeing all your projects, Alice!

  5. I just love your style! Mine is normally very different, but I find so much inspiration in your decorating.

  6. I love your style, Alice. There's lots of really great ideas here.


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Thank you for your comments! I love to hear from you! ~Alice W.

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