Collecting Coach: Top 10 Finds for Vintage Style

Listen up, rookie collectors! Here, a designer reveals the secrets to pulling your collections together to create your own vintage style.


Vintage Style Dining Table

The dining table is made from an old French door with metal risers holding a piece of antique beveled glass an inch over the top of it. (Photo: Kelley Motschenbacher)

Kelley Motschenbacher’s top 10 list of flea market finds for vintage style.

1. Items related to dogs

• Things like small statues, doorstops, kennel club trophies, dog bowls, old leashes, old photos or kennel club-related ephemera. Display in groupings of three or more.

2. Old painted stools

• These useful items can be stacked or grouped together for a fun vintage look. Look for old paint and interesting legs.

Vintage Style Decor

Photo: Kelley Motschenbacher

3. Old wool blankets

• While Beacon and camp-style blankets are sometimes expensive, you can find inexpensive striped blankets. They can be used on the foot of the bed or made into great pillows.

4. Rag rugs

• These are usually handmade from old fabric scraps and can be washed and used in small rooms like bathrooms, mudrooms or in front of the kitchen sink—or even to make pillows!

5. Breadboards or cutting boards

• They come in so many shapes and sizes and look great grouped together on the wall or in a large basket.


This flag was found at a yard sale, and the matching pillows below are made of vintage bunting. (Photo: Kelley Motschenbacher)

6. Vintage ticking or featherbed fabric

• Easy to find and usually not very expensive, they can be used for pillows, drapery tiebacks, a custom cover for a lampshade or to make a window covering.

7. Small hand-painted oil paintings

• Smart collectors look for primitive, smaller paintings on stretched canvas and then group them together on the wall to create a larger piece of artwork. For cohesive vintage style, stick to a similar theme, all while staying within your color scheme.

vintage kitchen style

Photo: Kelley Motschenbacher

8. Orchard baskets

• These are relatively low-cost and pretty easy to find. Look for thick oak handles and weaving, and weathered paint even adds to the charm of a grouping of these old, useful baskets.

9. Wire ware

• Small baskets, egg carries or kitchen items made with wire are easy to find. These tend to look very sculptural when displayed on shelves with nothing in them.

10. Yard toys for kids

• Look for old croquet sets, a beanbag toss, jump ropes and bingo. Group them together in a child’s room.


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Written by Karen Wilhemsen

Photography by Kelley Motschenbacher

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