If you have been around here for any period of time, there are a few things about me and my decorating style that are pretty apparent. One, I love anything with a story. Two, I love something that is unique and different than what you find everyday. For me, the way to fulfill that equation is with vintage items. My home is filled with them. I love the mix of old and new, I love the history, and if you ask me, I am sure to tell all about the story of where and how I found it. No really, ask me! I love to tell the stories!

Story + Unique = Vintage

And one of the most beautiful things about decorating with vintage items is that it doesn't need to be expensive. That doesn't mean that there aren't plenty expensive items out there, but that is not necessary Have you ever walked into a vintage shop, yard sale or estate sale and there is SO much to look at, you just don't even know where to start? Sometimes, certain things will jump right out at you, but most of the time I find my eyes glazing over and I see nothing. It helps to have a wish list, either in writing or in your head. So then, when you see something you can think, "oh, wait, I would love to find a...." Yard sale, garage sale and estate sale season is officially in full swing, so I thought today I would start a new series.

My Favorite Vintage Decorating Ideas

And the first thing I am starting with today is... decorating with vintage books. Recognizing that books, in their physical sense are being read less and less and being replaced with a host of digital counterparts, I think filling a room with hard covered, beautiful books brings so much character to a space. Whether it be mid-century cocktail table books, beautifully illustrated jackets or even some great craft ideas from vintage books, you can always add character to a room with books. So lets start with the expected - in a book case. I recently took a whole new approach to styling a bookcase and I super happy with the results. HowtoStyleBookcases.psd_thumb.jpg I think one of the elements that worked really well is the mixture of some of them laying down, some of them upright and all of them mixed in with other accessories. I also learned some important lessons on what books to keep and what is just cluttering your space. You can read all about that here.

Tip #1 - Use Books to Prop Accessories at Different Heights

VintageShelfVignette_thumb.jpg If you ever tried to pull together a coffee table, console table or side table and it just wasn't working out, books may be just the solution you are looking for. Layering a small books, or a small stack of books is great way to display accessories at different heights. And this table below is an example of my next tip...

Tip #2 - Mix in vintage books with new ones.

Mixing vintage and new books can be easy on your budget as new decorative books can be very expensive. It also makes for a more interesting display when they are mixed. Vintage-Books-in-Decorating Of course, I am guessing that using books to create height in a display is not a "rocket science" idea for you. Books are pretty commonly used in this way. But when you are shopping for vintage books how do you sort through and decide what to buy?

Tip #3 - Look for Interesting Titles

I like to have a mild sense of humor in my decorating style. The titles below are some of my favorites. But my all time favorite, which seems to be missing at the moment, was to given to me by my good friend right after my first daughter was born. The title of the book was "Rx for Slimming". Luckily, I did actually think it was funny and didn't throw the book at her. Clever-Book-Titles You however, may not find that entertaining. Regardless, I encourage you to look for titles that are intriguing and catch your eye. Who know, maybe you will even be interested enough to read it! The Companion to Know Thyself is also a favorite, I just find that title entertaining. Even though it is pretty beat up, it still stays in circulation.

Tip #4 - Go for Color!

I tend to judge a book by its cover when decorating. It is not okay in most situations, but when decorating with books, it is. I love to have an assortment of colors to work with. This orange one on my Sharpie art coffee table is one of my favorites - amazing color and fun title. DecoratingVintageBookscopy_thumb.jpg With the orange book, it gave me the perfect pop on the black and white table, but with my spring mantel, the blue and green books gave me the opportunity to layer in more details in the same color family. Finding books in an assortment of colors with options within different color palettes allows for quick decorating updates by season and holidays.


Tip #5 - If it is bad shape, be a maker!

If you come across a vintage book and only the binding is still good, or the cover, or the pages - don't necessarily pass over it. If there is something about it you like or are drawn to, make something with it. I have started a Pinterest board with a bunch of crafting and decorating ideas with vintage books.
Look for the next part of the series coming soon! If you want to make sure not to miss it, or any posts for that matter, go ahead and subscribe by email! You can also sign up for my new monthly newsletter with ideas and inspiration only found in the newsletter! Wishing you a day filled with grace, Laura
May 12, 2014 — Laura Putnam