A lot of love and time goes into a vintage collection. Countless hours spent at flea markets, antique stores, estate sales, and resale shops can result in sought-after treasures like ornaments, wall art, jewelry, and postcards. But for many of these items, they have an unfortunate destiny—a box that collects dust—mainly because the owner can’t think of a way to properly display them. After all, a person only has so much shelf space.
If you’re proud of your collection and don’t want your finds to face a similar fate, there are plenty of creative tricks to weave them into your home decor. A china cabinet is a perfectly acceptable place to present collectibles, but displaying them in an unexpected way can give a fresh, new look to your surroundings.
Group small items together like vases—milk glass and depression glass look especially elegant—and place them in the center of your dining room table. A cluster of vases also allows for an opportunity to showcase greens and blooming bouquets.Other vintage items that could serve as a finishing touch for your table? Lanterns, tins, small birdcages, brass containers, and candlesticks, for example.
Let diminutive collectibles take center stage in a picture frame hung on the wall. Simply glue and layer small, flat items onto a burlap, fabric or velvet backdrop. Buttons are ideal for this, along with sparkling vintage brooches, medals, and sequins.
Glass domes, otherwise known as cloches or bell jars, are having a moment. They have a long history, first serving a practical purpose during Colonial times, protecting plants in gardens from the elements. You also may picture them in a museum, housing insect and flower specimens. Nowadays, glass domes are frequently used in decor to spotlight a vignette or other small items. Show off a collection of bygone photos, rolls of twine, or ceramic figurines.
Clipboards are stepping out of the office and onto walls as industrial-style holders for vintage paper items. Worn, rusted clipboards can be discovered at resale shops and garage sales, and can be easily hung using a piece of twine.Clip up pages from a well-loved vintage tome or textbook, flashcards, love letters, postcards, or magazine advertisements. If you’d like to reveal pieces of paper in all their imperfect glory—tatters, tears, and wear—a clipboard is a great way to do that.
A bundle of vintage books or a color-coordinated row on a shelf always looks chic. But it doesn’t allow guests a view of the words lying hidden inside. Another way to display books is to simply open them up and hang them on the wall, curving and turning them to create a flowing pattern. A framed quote and antique chairs also set the scene for a nook made for reading
Suitcases can be bulky objects to feature in a home. Bring a sense of cohesion to a vintage suitcase collection by stacking luggage in varying sizes on top of one another. A stack of suitcases looks best when they come from the same color or material family, like the leather luggage shown here. It’ll look like a scene straight out of an old-fashioned train station.