10 ideas for incorporating reclaimed and older elements into your home’s design without being dusty

written by Anna Harris

Maybe you’re lucky enough (or worked hard enough) to own your own home or maybe you’re renting by yourself or with others. Either way, figuring out how to create the tiny details that really make a space your own and mark it with your unique flair can be difficult. It never hurts to look for inspiration outside of your own creativity, so here are a few ideas for how to add touches of reclaimed, vintage, or antique furniture elements into your space.

Unique wall hangings

Next time you’re perusing an antique shop or thrift store and you happen to find an 18th century tapestry or old rug, consider putting it up on your wall. If you have a more minimalist or modern design, this can add an especially eye-catching element into your home. In this design, the tapestry adds some texture to an otherwise smooth and clean room, drawing your eye further into the room and adding a focal point. Mixed with the subtle carvings on the table legs and the fun but sophisticated lamps, this space could work well as an entry hallway, living room, or study.

Small detail pieces

In this space, I love the tiny details of the wallpaper and knickknacks that manage to add to the space rather than clutter it up. The bookshelf and space behind the chair hold a myriad of items for the eyes to explore, including small vintage paintings and a pitcher. Putting vintage pieces into your decorating doesn’t need to mean elaborate makeovers and lugging furniture. Adding a few small elements of antique or vintage items is all it can take to add depth and personality to your space.

Add a colorful twist

If you like surprising people with your designs or just prefer more color, consider putting a non-traditional color onto a traditional piece. This second-hand birdcage would probably look great without the paint, but the purple color makes it pop, and you definitely don’t think dusty when you look at it. The old chest in the corner and the woven chair as well have been painted a cheerful green to further contrast with the other older elements in this room. Had these colors not been incorporated, this room might have looked a bit like an exhibit in a museum. The special twist definitely keeps that from happening!

Choose your era

You don’t have to go that far back to add some vintage appeal to your space, and the piece doesn’t necessarily need to be 50+ years old. This space blends elements from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s while managing to keep it modern. The myriad of pillows mixed with patterned wallpaper and the vintage-looking fridge and countertops create a space that is both cozy and retro.

One person’s trash…

This one is a great example of reclaimed, secondhand furniture being put to work in the space. You would never know that these chairs were a Facebook Marketplace find, especially with the way they’ve been incorporated into this kitchen. The colors accenting the doors and windows and floor tiles design create an environment where these chairs can really shine with their simple yet unique concept. You may not have even noticed that these chairs don’t all match! That’s the beauty of reclaimed. One cute or beautiful older chair doesn’t feel out of place when the other pieces have a similar vibe.

Think outside the box

What I love about this one is that not only are these old suitcases on display, but they’re put to good use as a side table sturdy enough to place flowers on. This particular window area looks a bit like something you’d find in Salem, but this idea could easily be incorporated into a different genre of home with lighter colored walls and colorful details in the curtains.

Broken doesn’t mean useless

This space feels like stepping into the French countryside, and that’s thanks to the vintage metal pane and antique door put to good use as decoration. The delicate white with accents of gold in this room are brought into contrast with these rougher looking touches that feel rustic and elegant without going overboard.

Don’t forget your ceramics

Nothing about this space looks particularly old, and that’s because ceramic is timeless! The owner of this home chose to make these containers a focal point of the room, and the classic white and blue colors fit well with the color scheme. The blending of cultures too adds interest, especially when combined with the mismatched patterns of the chair. To make this design shine, pair with green plants and plain walls. Dog optional.

Harmony of nature and home

In this case, the wood itself is reclaimed. The unfinished and unpainted wood creates a natural look, especially with the branches. This design is great for those looking for tranquility as soon as they enter the home. Etsy, eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are great places to look for unfinished wooden furniture and timber. After a quick cleaning and maybe a once over with some sandpaper if needed, your new furniture will be ready to put wherever you want a touch of the outdoors.

Imperfections can add texture

Similarly, this design also brings in reclaimed wooden furniture, this time in the form of a coffee table. The texture of the wood here really sticks out, proving that furniture doesn’t need to be polished to smooth perfection to be trendy. The table creates depth in this design that brings to mind New Mexico and Arizona.

Next time you take a trip to the thrift store or an antique shop, keep an eye out. You might just find your next statement piece.

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