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Anna's Attic / Decoration  / Using vintage in your home

Using vintage in your home

I’ve long been a huge fan of using vintage items in my own home, the reasons are many, older pieces add character as well as interest to a scheme and work well in both traditional and modern surroundings.  Mostly though I love that they give us a connection to the past and that I can almost always recall where I have bought them, often recalling conversations I’ve had with people I’ve bought pieces from to learn an item’s history.


Some of my vintage treasures used in my home

When I launched my online shop it was important to me to include original vintage items which would compliment my vintage inspired stock and when creating interior schemes for clients I always try and include vintage or antique items somewhere in the scheme.

A selection of vintage and vintage inspired stock from Anna’s Attic

In this post I’ll be sharing some of the treasures I’ve picked up over the years and will also share some of the fantastic vintage and vintage inspired items which are available online and on the high street, for those who don’t relish the thought of setting the alarm for 6am to hit the flee market or don’t have the free time to visit auctions or trawl the charity shops.

Why vintage?

The fact that antique and vintage items survive through the decades is often testament to the quality of craftsmanship, if something has already survived 100 years the chance is that if you look after it well it will last you a lifetime. Vintage pieces were more often than not not mass produced, often made by artisans, studio pottery is a great example of this, offering beautiful hand made pieces, each one a one off with beautiful slips and glazes, you can pick them up for a few pounds and they look lovely grouped together or alone in the case of larger pieces as a stand alone piece.

I love the time worn look that vintage pieces offer, soft washed linens are a good example of this as are old cutlery canteens, with their soft patina brought about through years of use.

A little bit of history.

I love the history that comes with vintage pieces, I have a number of vintage portraits I’ve picked up over the years, they’re grouped together on what I laughingly call our faux family gallery wall, I love to imagine who the subjects may have been and what their lives may have been like.

Vintage items used in my own home

Telling a story.

Vintage pieces help to create narrative in a home, I’ve used a set of mounted vintage antlers in my hallway to display a selection of hats, one of which is a fez picked up by a great uncle when he travelled to Egypt after World War II, I also have a photograph of him and his wife on a camel during the same period, this creates a lovely narrative, such things are great talking points when people visit my home.

If you hunt well enough there are always bargains to be found, in the case of flee markets, always have a good rummage through piles of stock, you never know what treasure you may unearth.  Be prepared to barter too, traders at flee markets often expect this and if you’re car booting towards the end of the day people will often consider discounting rather than taking an item home with them.

Best items to look out for.

Vintage fabrics which can be used for all manner of projects in the home, I was lucky enough to find a vintage GP & J Baker sample book, with samples plenty big enough to make some lovely cushions, a project I’ll be working on through the autumn.

Vintage and antique Mirrors are great buys, convex mirrors can sometimes still be found and if you look hard enough you may find one with beautiful foxed glass.

Gilt frames can often be picked up for a few pounds at car boot sales, I’ve picked up lots, often with the glass missing, nothing a visit to a local glazier and a few pounds for some glass cut to size can’t remedy.

Glass candlesticks can be found at most car boot sales and often in charity shops too, I love to see them en masse, in varying sizes along a mantle piece in front of a mirror (vintage of course)!

Oil paintings, original prints and lithographs are all great finds, I love to see oils on canvas propped up on shelves and original prints and lithographs can easily be framed to hang.

Old dolly tubs make great planters for the garden and I’ve even seen them used upside down as bedside tables.

China is in abundance in most charity shops and at car boot sales, create beautiful dinner settings by mixing older items with plain modern pieces.  Blue and white is a good option to mix and match. I’ve been lucky and found cabbage ware pieces over the years, which looks great when mixed with white china.

Glass decanters and glasses, my Gran had a pair of decanters which she would bring out every Christmas and use for sherry and port, complete with silver tags, everytime I use ours they remind me of her.  As well as mis matched china mis matched glasses can work really well too, I have a selection of old port glasses in different designs and colours which come out every Christmas.

Old books are great for styling, a stack of books with jackets in time faded shades look just lovely together, why not search out vintage children’s books too, such a lovely addition to a shelf in a nursery.

Images from Pinterest, left to right – Liz Marie Blog.com, Sarah Moore, The Design Files.net

There are some great reproductions and vintage inspired pieces on the market too.

Clockwise from top left:

Greek God Apollo Statue Ornament, Rockett St George – £195
American Flamingo Print, Desenio – from £13.99
Grey Bevelled Wooden Mirror, Graham & Green – £245
Renascentist Portrait Framed Art 100cm x 70cm, Anna’s Attic – £249
Porcelain Plant Pot, H & M Home – £17.99
Apothecary Style Brown Glass Storage Bottle, Rockett St George – from £8
Gluggle Jug, Not on the High Street – from £22

When online print retailer Desenio approached me and invited me to choose some of their prints I headed straight to their vintage category, within which I found some stunning illustrations of birds in their natural habitats by ornithologist and painter John James Audubon, shown below.  Also included within the vintage category are reproduction educational charts showing flora and fauna and a selection of vintage black and white photography.

Desenio prints, left to right: American White Pelican, American Flamingo, Great Blue Heron

H & M Home have included some lovely vintage inspired items within their recent ranges, I’m a fan of their white porcelain plant pots, one of which depicts a classic greek key design in gold and a lion, the other an impressive building,  both of which remind me of Fornasetti’s mid century work.

Super cool online retailer Rockett St George who also have a concession in Liberty have a great range of vintage inspired items, these range from greek inspired ornaments to rugs which could pass as antiques.

House of Hackney continue to delight pattern lovers with their now iconic prints, from their own in house designs such as Midnight Garden – a beautiful floral to Zanjan – inspired by vintage Persian rugs to their William Morris collection, within which Morris’s iconic designs are reimagined and remastered for a new generation.


House of Hackney’s vintage inspired wallpapers


Current designers using vintage as their inspiration

Divine Savages, founded in South East London in 2017 by husbands Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy. Through a shared passion for quirky interiors and styling they set out to do interiors their way and put their experience in fashion and design to create a new brand for the artistic shopper; a brand that mixes influences from classic prints, bold fashion and iconic modern design yet always with their signature Divine Savages twist.  Favourites of mine are their beautiful fringed lampshades and china mugs.

Anna Hayman continues to seduce interior lovers with her hand painted wallpapers and fabrics, many inspired by a byegone era.  I chose Wanderlust in blush for our lounge.

Alex May Hughes is a sign painter and glass gilder based in West London. She graduated from The London College of Communication in 2012, where she studied Typography, developing her interest in traditional Victorian signage and mirrors.  Alex reverse paints onto glass using precious metals to accent the wording and imagery, producing bespoke works for both commercial and private clients.

This is a sponsored post with Desenio .

My code “ANNASATTIC” gives 25% off prints* on all Desenio sites until midnight 10 Of October (UK time). Follow @desenio for more inspiration!
*Except for frames and handpicked/personalised prints”.













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