Owning my own historic house is a dream come true, I was the type of little girl who watched HGTV over cartoons. However, owning a house comes with many bills and maintenance, so the budget for decor and renovations can be TIGHT. I don’t let this stop me from expressing my vintage style though, especially in the kitchen. Limited on what I could change on our budget, I focused mostly on accessories to make the kitchen become more vintage. With some patience, creativity and some discount shopping, you can too! In this post, I’ll share the ways I made my kitchen more vintage on a budget.
OPEN SHELF DISPLAYS/ABOVE CABINET DISPLAYS
If you are lucky enough to already have open shelving, this is a great way to add color and vintage style to a plain kitchen. If that is not an option in your kitchen, displaying decor above your cabinets is an equally great way to add personality. With the little display shelves to the left of my sink, I arranged various tea cups, bowls and vases in our kitchen’s color scheme (the before mentioned red, black, white, aqua and a touch of gold). Some pieces, like the delicate tea cups, were from a previous personal collection, while others were purchased on sale fro TJ Maxx and Anthropologie.
Since my shelves were quite small, I kept my pieces to a smaller scale. However, if you are decorating on larger shelves (that aren’t needed for functional kitchenware) colorful trays, pottery, vintage tins and antique kitchenware like scales, are great items to display. For decorating above cabinets, vintage wooden crates, large pottery, or antique kitchen paraphernalia. With some diligent hunting at thrift stores, antique malls, and the sales at decor stores, you can come away with some great deals on items to decorate your shelves.
In the picture above, you’ll notice the plate collage. I hung this on the wall above the island to better blend the dining room and kitchen together. It is also a great vintage focal point before entering the kitchen. Plate collages are a classic way to decorate a vintage-style kitchen. To put this collection together, I used a mixture of hand-made and thrifted. I searched several antique stores and goodwill for plates, and kept each purchase at $2 or under. I even bought a couple blank plates and decorated them with sharpie. For the other plates, I enlisted my husband, which included one he made himself and two purchased from another ceramic artist. These were more of a splurge, but really added to the overall theme. To keep the plate collage cohesive but still mismatched, I stayed within a color scheme (red, black, white, aqua and a touch of gold).
When you have some wall to spare in a kitchen, vintage-style art is a great way to decorate your kitchen on a budget. One way I displayed wall art in my kitchen is by dissecting a Rifle Paper Co. coffee & tea calendar. Picking my favorite prints from the calendar that fit my color scheme, I trimmed away the calendar, left the art print and added some scalloped paper to properly fit the prints in my IKEA frames. (FYI: IKEA is a great place to find cheap frames).
Other great vintage-style wall art could be old kitchen adverts, vintage seed packets, botanical prints, and diner signs.
A LITTLE PAINT AND FABRIC
If you are looking to add some color that screams ‘retro or ‘vintage’ without breaking the bank, paint your kitchen door and/or window trim. Cherry red, aqua, mint green, and sunny yellow are a few colors that come to mind when thinking ‘retro kitchen colors.’ It adds that pop or color without being overbearing.
Window valences are another way to add vintage color or pattern. Ginghams, polka dots, toile, and fruit prints are indicative of bygone eras. Hanging a series of vintage handkerchiefs or towels as window valences are also a great idea.
FUNCTIONAL VINTAGE-STYLE KITCHEN ACCESSORIES
My last tip on adding vintage style to a kitchen is making everyday kitchen objects also display pieces. Instead of storing our bread in the cabinet, I re-decorated a vintage bread box with spray paint and striped paper. I have various pretty jars to store nicknacks on the counter, like the victorian house cookie jar. A retro diner canister holds pretty paper straws, and a little ceramic scottie dog to hold my pen for grocery lists. Instead of storing oven mitts in the drawer, I hang them on cabinet knobs and hooks above the stove. Our olive oil and kitchen utensils are displayed in gorgeous handmade pottery from fellow ceramic artists.
I hope you enjoyed my tips on decorating a vintage kitchen on a budget. Let me know how yours comes along!