Timeless Ways to Decorate With Vintage Textiles
Seamlessly weave vintage tea towels, heirloom quilts, antique rugs, recycled feed sacks and other retro fabrics into your decor with these creative ideas.
One of the most common textiles found at markets and antique shops, vintage rugs are great for adding texture, color and warmth to a room. Just keep in mind when out shopping for antique rugs that slight imperfections (think fading and frayed edges) add character. Also, because they have already seen some wear, don’t fret about using them in high-traffic spaces like hallways, entryways and kitchens.
Vintage Feed Sacks
Bulk quantities of certain pantry staples, seed and feed all used to come in tightly woven linen or canvas sacks — some still do! Incorporating these interesting and often colorful textiles into your decor can bring pattern and texture. For example, take an old feed sack and make a simple DIY pillow by stuffing the sack with fiberfill and using a slip-stitch to close the open end. Another idea is to create a cover for a pillow form by using just the printed side as the front and a neutral fabric as the back.
Retro Bed Linens
Old quilts often go unappreciated as they stay safely stored away in a closet. Why not bring them out and let these beautiful blankets be seen and admired? From the living room to the den, handsome quilts can be displayed to great effect — even if just draped across a table and paired with an appropriate piece of art. Just make sure that the table is high and wide enough so that the quilt doesn’t drag on the floor.
If you’re looking to bring charm to a bedroom, consider using a handmade quilt and embroidered pillowcases on your bed. If a quilt on the bed won’t work for you, consider hanging it instead and letting the blanket double as a tapestry.
Fashionable Wall Art
When placed in deep frames and displayed prominently, vintage clothing can actually become artwork. Unsure what to frame? Consider a favorite piece of clothing from your childhood, a family heirloom, or even a striking piece from an antique store. Framed baby clothes make cute additions to nurseries, while primitive garments work really well with country-style spaces or early-American designs. Match the aesthetic of the framed clothing by surrounding it with other wall decor of the same time period or with the same overall vibe.
Moderate-sized pieces of fabric salvaged from frayed or raggedy old quilts are all you need to create one-of-a-kind shams and pillowcases. Just be sure to find a quilt big enough to get a matching set out of (or at least find two pieces that are similar in color and pattern). To ensure a cohesive look, try adding a same-colored ruffle or other finished edge to the set.
Save yourself money on vintage fabrics by trying to find curtain panels made from old textiles. You’ll get at least a couple yards of material from each panel that you can use on projects like upholstering a bed headboard and footboard, upholstering a chair or making cushions.
Textured Wall Decor
Especially beautiful or unique rugs can be mounted on the wall above a mantel or piece of furniture as statement art. Simply attach the rug to the wall using curtain clips so that you don’t damage the fabric.
Vintage Tea Towels
Vintage tablecloths and tea towels often feature cute motifs and bright colors. Consider repurposing them to make accent pillows, window valances, chair seat covers, or wall hangings. To recover a chair seat, just remove the seat from the chair frame and apply the fabric over it, with the best side facing upward. Next, staple the wrapped fabric to the bottom of the seat. Lastly, trim away any excess fabric and reattach the seat to the chair. For chairs without removable seats, simply make a separate cushion from the vintage linens and tie it onto the seat.