Vintage Glassware

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Curious about vintage glassware and how to use it in your home and entertaining endeavors? I’m here to help. I have a passion for vintage glassware and I want to help you find the glassware, show you how to use and style it, and teach you how to care for it.  The delicate and charming appeal of vintage glassware may make it seem best suited for display only, but the glassware can and should be functional too. 

glassware on Vintage-Inspired Fall Tablescape.

One of my favorite things to look for when I’m out antiquing, thrifting, and vintage shopping is glassware. Not only is it incredibly affordable (especially at thrift stores) but it’s beautifully unique, special, and often one-of-a-kind. A very charming vintage decor idea!

I have been doing a lot of thrifting, garage sale-ing, and antiquing lately. No matter where or when I go, I find shelves and shelves of vintage glassware. Since there is an abundance of it, it’s often sold at incredibly inexpensive prices. I’m talking 50 cents or even cheaper. 

table setting for thanksgiving with vintage glassware and vintage plates.

The other day I had an idea for a new cocktail recipe, so I checked a couple of my favorite online retailers for some unique glassware and was shocked to see that some places were selling single glasses for $20+. I said, “Absolutely not,” and immediately closed out the window. 

Instead, I decided to find some vintage glasses and did just that. The resulting cocktail was this cucumber martini and it looks absolutely stunning served in 99-cent glassware!

In this post, I want to share with you my love for vintage glassware. I also want to convince you to head over to a thrift store to find your own unique glassware items that are much more economical and special. Additionally, I’m sharing where to buy and how to style vintage glassware as well as answering some frequently asked questions. 

Ready? Let’s go! 

Where to Buy

When it comes to finding vintage glassware, the possibilities are endless. Many people enjoy hunting for unique pieces at estate sales and antique shops, while others prefer the convenience of online marketplaces like Etsy or eBay. No matter where you choose to look, it’s important to do your research and be cautious of price gouging and/or counterfeit items. 

Personally, when I’m shopping for vintage glassware, I’m looking for the best deal. I’m not necessarily searching for a particular manufacturer or a “valuable” antique. I just want the item(s) to be pretty and functional in my home. If you’re new to antiquing / thrifting, then check out my seven must-have tips for antiquing.

close up of vintage glassware cup with floral design.

What to Look For

When purchasing vintage glassware, it’s important to inspect it carefully for cracks or chips that could compromise its integrity. If you’re buying directly from a seller or shopping at an estate sale, I think it can be fun to ask the seller about the glassware’s history and how it might have been used in its former life. The stories you’ll hear about these pieces will make the glassware even more special and meaningful. 

I also encourage you to find pieces YOU love. Don’t try to hunt down the exact glasses I’ve found or glasses someone else has. This will only lead to disappointment and frustration and chances are you’ll miss out on something really special. Search for something that is uniquely you and that suits your space.

Shopping for vintage glassware can be a fun, rewarding experience. With a little bit of research and some patience, you can discover distinctive pieces that add character and charm to your home decor.

Vintage-Inspired Halloween Decorations / Tablescape #vintage #halloween #tablesetting #tablescape #vintagehalloween #decor #decorations

Setting the Table

One of my favorite ways to showcase vintage glassware is by using it to set a beautiful table. Whether you’re entertaining guests or simply enjoying a meal with family, vintage glassware can add a touch of elegance and nostalgia to your table setting. 

I also love that you don’t have to worry about pieces getting broken. I have some newer glassware that costs more than I’d like to admit; I’m more nervous about using those pieces than I am about the vintage glassware I picked up for 99 cents at Goodwill. 

To start setting your table, select a theme or color scheme. Vintage glassware comes in a range of colors and patterns, so it’s important to choose pieces that complement each other and the overall look of your table. You can also mix and match different patterns and colors for a more eclectic, bohemian look.

I’ve included some photos of tables I’ve styled and set. I hope these serve as inspiration for how wonderful vintage glassware can look.

Vintage Inspired Tablescapes

If you’re curious about some of the tables I’ve styled in the post, you can get a closer look here.

table styled for christmas with holiday cheer glassware.

Next, consider the type of glassware you’ll need for your meal. Wine glasses, water glasses, and champagne flutes are all essential pieces for a formal table setting. You can also add dessert glasses or vintage punch bowls for a more festive occasion.

When setting the table, be sure to place the glassware in the correct order according to the meal being served. Water glasses should be placed above the knife on the right-hand side of each place setting, while wine glasses and champagne flutes should be placed to the right of the water glass.

You can also take a less formal approach and add the glasses however you’d like. I usually opt for the latter as I like my table settings to feel comfortable and approachable. 

When using vintage glassware, you can add other touches to your table such as vintage salt and pepper shakers, candlesticks, or even vintage dishes. The possibilities for a stylish and elegant table setting are endless!

Now that you know how to set a beautiful table with vintage glassware, let’s move on to styling a vintage bar cart, where you can showcase your vintage glassware in a fun and functional way.

Styling a Vintage Bar Cart

Vintage glassware isn’t just for table settings; it can also add a touch of vintage charm to your bar cart. Start by showcasing your favorite pieces of glassware on the top shelf of your bar cart. Use vintage decanters for your favorite spirits, and vintage glasses for serving up classic cocktails

bar cart styled with glassware and a branch of fall leaves.

To add even more vintage flair, decorate the bottom shelf of your bar cart with vintage cocktail shakers, mixers, and trays. And don’t forget to add some vintage-inspired accessories such as a vintage bottle opener or a set of vintage coasters.

In the past, I’ve talked about starting a home decor collection and how to display such a collection. Things like vintage glassware or vintage barware would make for a great and affordable collection.

brass bar cart styled with glassware and a branch of fall leaves.
shelves with vintage finds including vintage glassware.

Using Vintage Glassware for Everyday Drinks

While vintage glassware can seem like it’s meant only for special occasions or fancy cocktails, it is still perfectly suited for everyday use. Consider swapping out your modern glasses for vintage ones with unique patterns and designs. Not only will they add a touch of character to your daily routine, but they’ll also be a great conversation starter when you have guests over.

Vintage glassware can be used for any type of drink, whether it’s a simple glass of water or your morning juice. Think outside the box and consider using vintage glassware for non-drink items as well, such as holding small plants or as a container for candles.

table set for fall and halloween using vintage glassware.

Caring for Your Vintage Glassware

It’s important to note that vintage glassware items may not be as durable as modern glassware, so handle them with care. However, don’t let that stop you from enjoying their beauty and charm on a daily basis.

It’s crucial to learn how to care for this glassware properly so that it can last for many more years to come. The first thing to keep in mind is that vintage glassware should be hand washed instead of being put in the dishwasher. The harsh detergents and high temperatures of a dishwasher can cause the glass to etch or become cloudy over time.

With that being said, not all vintage glassware is delicate. Some can be as durable as modern-day glassware. It all depends on the style of glasses you are buying. If the walls of the glass feel sturdy, it should hold up fine in the dishwasher. More delicate glasses like coupe, martini, and wine should be hand washed. 

When hand washing, use mild dish soap and lukewarm water. Avoid using abrasive sponges or brushes as they can scratch the glass. Instead, opt for a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge.

Dry the glassware immediately with a soft, lint-free towel to prevent water spots from forming. 

Pro Tip: If you do notice any water spots, you can remove them by gently wiping the glass with a cloth soaked in white vinegar or lemon juice.

hand holding cucumber martini in coupe glass.
close up of vintage glassware with white and gold polka dots.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to mix and match different types of vintage glassware?

Absolutely! In fact, I encourage it!  Mixing and matching different patterns and styles can add a whimsical and eclectic touch to your table setting or home decor. Just make sure to balance out the different sizes and shapes of the pieces for a cohesive look.

How do I identify the maker of my vintage glassware?

Look for any identifying marks or labels on the glassware. This may include a signature or logo etched into the glass or attached as a label. You can also research the style and design of the glassware to determine the time period and possible makers.

Can I use vintage glassware for everyday use?

Most definitely! While vintage glassware may seem delicate, many pieces were made to be used and enjoyed on a regular basis. However, it is important to handle them with care and avoid using them for overly hot or cold beverages.

How do I display my vintage glassware when not in use?

Vintage glassware items can add visual interest and charm to any room, so it’s a great idea to display them when not in use. Consider arranging them on a bar cart or open shelving; use them as a centerpiece for a dining or coffee table.

vintage-inspired all tablescape with candles and vintage glassware.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating vintage glassware into your daily life is a charming and functional way to enhance your home decor. Whether you’re setting the table or styling a vintage bar cart, there are plenty of creative ways to showcase these timeless pieces. 

By exploring where to buy vintage glassware, caring for it properly, and using it for everyday drinks, you can enjoy its elegance and nostalgia for years to come. So, why not add some vintage flair to your home and start exploring your options?

More Vintage Decorating Ideas You May Enjoy

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