Vintage art can be a beautiful, unique, and affordable way to decorate your home. In this post, I’m sharing my favorite ways to decorate with vintage art, where you can buy it, and how to keep it looking its best.
If you take a walk through my home, you’ll find vintage art in almost every room. As you might know, I’m generally a fan of vintage and antique finds to decorate my spaces. Vintage artwork is no exception.
While there are many reasons why I love vintage art, here are a few reasons that stand out to me:
Why Vintage Art?
It can be inexpensive. If you shop the right places (more details on that below), you can find beautiful artwork for a fraction of the cost of what you would pay for new pieces.
It’s typically pretty unique. Yes, you can buy new art at your favorite home decor store; however, chances are that your friends, family, or neighbor may have purchased some of the same items. When you buy a vintage work, you’re more likely to be the only one in your circle with that piece.
It tells a story. This might be my favorite reason to buy vintage. Old pieces have history. They tell a story of where they’ve been, who owned them, and why someone loved them. There might even be a beautiful history about the artist that created the piece. Antique pieces can add a curated and collected look to your home.
Want more vintage home decor ideas and tips? These are for you:
- Tips to Add Vintage Charm to Your Home
- How to Start a Vintage Collection
- Vintage Christmas Decor Ideas
- How to Incorporate Antiques into Your Home
Where to Buy Vintage Art
Okay, now that we’ve covered the why, let’s get into the where.
As you might expect, you can find vintage art at any of the places where you would find vintage and thrift items. Here are a few of my favorite places and why I recommend them.
- Thrift Stores – If you’re looking for the best value, thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Restore, etc.) are the way to go.
- Estate Sales – I’ve found that estate sales always have a great assortment of artwork. They can be great places to grab a few pieces, especially if you share a similar esthetic to the homeowner.
- Antique Shops – Want a more curated collection and are okay with paying a little extra? Well then, an antique shop might be your best bet. Antique shops tend to be a little more expensive as they have already done the hard work by searching the thrift stores and estate sales to bring you the best of the best. By the way, I’m local to Pittsburgh, PA. If you are too, or if you are visiting the area, you can find all of my favorite antique stores in the Pittsburgh area HERE.
- Online Resellers – These would be places like eBay, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, etc. If you have specific needs, this might be the option for you. Online resellers give you the option to be a bit more specific with your search. Plus, you can shop from the comfort of your own home. Just pay attention to sizes and imperfections since you’re not viewing the piece in person.
No matter which option you choose, have patience and know that in the end you will be rewarded. Unless you happen to get lucky, it will likely take time and several visits to stores to find that “perfect” piece. Personally, I think the thrill of the hunt is half of the fun. (I figured this was worth mentioning if you’re new to vintage shopping.)
Caring for Vintage Art
I don’t typically buy expensive or priceless art, but if you purchase a vintage art item of any significant value, I definitely recommend reaching out to a professional for proper restoration.
In contrast, if you’re just looking for a way to give your thrift store art finds a little refresh and to keep them looking their brightest, here are a few products I use and recommend.
- Goo Gone – Often sellers will place price tags on the glass. These can be a bit of a pain to remove. Goo Gone is my go-to for any stubborn sticky residue. I particularly recommend the gel variety as it’s less likely to run behind the frame and damage your artwork.
- Glass Cleaner – If your vintage art is framed and behind glass, a quick cleaning of the glass with some glass cleaner will give it new life. You can find my go-to glass cleaner HERE.
- Rub ‘n Buff – Many vintage art pieces are framed with gold frames. Rub ‘n Buff is a must-have in my tool kit. It comes in several different gold shades and is perfect for touching up frames.
- Old English Scratch Cover – I love this product, especially for darker wood frames. It does a great job at disguising scratches. I recommend applying it with a cotton swab to avoid getting it on the glass/artwork.
- Feed-N-Wax – Whether it’s a frame or another wooden piece in your home, if you have wood that looks really dull and dry, Feed-N-Wax is a miracle worker. An application of this product will quickly refresh wood and give it protection with a wax finish.
When possible, I also recommend testing any product, like the ones just mentioned, in an inconspicuous area to see what results they are going to give you.
Vintage Art Decor Ideas
At this point, I’m sure you’re ready to see a few examples of vintage art and learn how you can effectively style your new-to-you artwork.
1. In a Gallery Wall
I love gallery walls. And while the decorating professionals may tell you they come and go in terms of trendiness, I will forever be a fan. As you may have seen above (and will also see below) I have a few gallery walls in my home.
The first (which I’m still building) follows the wall up my staircase. This is a mix of vintage and new art.
2. As a Stand Alone
You don’t need to create an entire gallery of art to have your vintage art look beautifully styled. I have a few single pieces tucked in throughout my home including this one in my kitchen.
Hanging an individual piece can really call attention to it and make it feel important.
3. Seasonal Art
If you enjoy switching out your decor seasonally, changing your vintage artwork display(s) can be a great way to accomplish this. As I mentioned above, not only can you do this inexpensively, but since the artwork can lay flat, it can be stored easily. So, switching out your artwork periodically can be a quick and easy way to give your space a new look each season.
4. Layered on a Shelf or Bookcase
I will often use art when I’m styling bookcases or shelves. Because many artworks are typically tall and thin, they make great pieces for layering. Simply tuck (or hang) the art towards the back of your shelf and continue styling in front of it. This is an effective way to fill a space and add unique interest.
That’s a Wrap!
And that concludes my tips and tricks on vintage art and how to decorate with it. I hope you picked up a few helpful ideas and are feeling encouraged to hunt down and add a few vintage pieces to your home.
As always, Happy Decorating!