What is “vintage” when used in conjunction with interior design? Like vintage wine from whence the word was hijacked, vintage interior design refers to a specific timeframe, though usual a decade. At this point in history, vintage can date back to the 1940’s, so think of vintage interior design as furniture and decorating accessories available about 70 years ago.
The Overall Vintage Interior Design Look
Think simple, uncluttered and worn. To capture the vintage interior design look today, paint walls a neutral color like white or light beige, or pastel shades of green, blue or pink. Floral wallpaper is also an option. Portions of the wooden floors, like in the living room, can be covered with layers of rag rugs. Back in the 40’s, the rugs were taken outside and draped over a clothesline where they could be struck to force dust out.
Look for wooden coffee tables, side tables and side chairs that can be painted or stained. Cushions covered in plain material, like blue and white ticking, can be placed on the side chairs. Don’t toss out comfort just to achieve the vintage interior design look. Buy a couch that you like and give it a vintage look with slip covers in a floral print, or white or pale pastel color. Pillows added to the seating can be colorful with floral prints or other fabric that gets its vintage feel because the fabric in the 40’s may have come from an old dress or drapes. Speaking of drapes, go with ceiling or top of the window floral prints, possibly with a dark background. Hang them from rings suspended from a wood rod painted or stained the same color as the wood furniture.
The kitchen cabinets may be painted white or pale green. The wooden chairs around the dining table may not all match and may or may not have padded seats. A plain white table cloth is added when guests are expected for dinner. Place a bowl of apples or a water pitcher with fresh cut flowers like daises, iris or tulips on the center of the table. Café curtains at the windows can be plain white with ruffles or gingham yellow or green.
The bed frame of a vintage designed farm house or bungalow may be made of wood, dark brass, or iron that is painted white. Sheets and pillow cases are white and may include lace or satin trim. Quilts are used for warmth and to add color to the room. Curtains can be long or short café-style, and be made of lace or pastel-colored gingham fabric with ruffles. A roll-up shade can provide privacy.
The wooden bedside table can be covered with a crocheted or embroidered doily on which a simple lamp and a windup clock are set. A chest of drawers and a mirrored dresser may be matching pieces. A crocheted or embroidered runner on top of the dresser can provide the base for two matching small lamps with frilly shades. One or two straight back chairs finish the room. The chair on the Mrs. side of the room can include a small pillow.
In the 1940’s farm house or bungalow, decorating accessories were practical items, like a tea set or a wooden bowl, each of which also serves a useful purpose. To bring back the 1940’s vintage appeal, frame movie posters from the era to hang to the walls. Mirros, framed in wood painted dark like the furniture or gold to add contrast can be hung in any room, including the kitchen.