If I had to pick one category of vintage items that would be my all time favorite it is vintage art. Let’s talk today about how to amp up your personal style with vintage art.
The charm of vintage art
As much as I love ironstone and milk glass, old boxes and demijohns, nothing comes close to the charm of vintage art. Well, I take that back, quilts do, they are a close second. But what they both have in common is the original nature to the creativity of the human behind them that created it. Read more about vintage quilts here.
Original art goes beyond just serving as decorative pieces. I do love to see a gallery wall, but to have that gallery wall be full of vintage art is special. It adds charm and depth to a space. Vintage artwork always seems to have a look that you really can’t get with other pieces. And whether you love mid century art, vintage posters, landscapes, or portraits, it will amp up your personal style in any space.
The best part about vintage art is that it won’t break the bank to purchase original pieces. Of course you can find many paintings that have a higher price, but many can be found by amateur artists that are quite beautiful.
Adding character and uniqueness to your space
Art pieces add soul to a room, and many times, just the right amount of weirdness and character to make a space fabulous. I love to see the rooms where someone has collected paintings in a particular collection. Filling a wall with vintage portraits, flower or landscapes, or even paintings of ships, always creates visual power in a group.
Think of it, no one anywhere will ever have your same look when you are decorating with vintage paintings. They are truly one-of-a-kind works of art, and at a great price too. You can find art originals in all different sizes.
Vintage art can be mixed with many styles and many antiques. In my own home, I have artworks that I got from my parents. Some really match my style, and others I have embraced because I love them for the sentimentality of having looked at them my whole life. In particular, I have grown to love the abstract art ones from the 60s.
The style may not be something I would choose right now if I were out shopping, but they add character and uniqueness to the walls. I feel like they open me to part of the art world I would not have sought. I embrace the difference.
Tips for Incorporating Vintage Paintings into Your Decor
Purchasing any art, vintage or otherwise, is something very personal to the viewer. Here are a few tips for incorporating vintage artwork into your decor:
Buy what speaks to you
This may seem like a no brainer, but I seriously cannot even tell you how many times I have been in a consultation with a client and they have the weirdest art that they don’t even like! When we discuss it, it usually comes out that they were ‘peer pressured’ into buying it, or it was more of a ‘trend piece’. And please, I die when they say that they bought it cause it was on sale.
Your walls should sing to you! They should sing the language of visual love, so only buy what moves you. This could be just for what the art is depicting, or for the love of the colors and subject. Just make sure it is something that moves you.
Start a collection
It can seem super boujee to say that you have an ‘art collection’ or that you are in the ‘art market’ for originals. However you wish to tell the world you are on the hunt is up to you. But three pieces make a collection and you can be on your way to finding the next painting of your dreams. If you are hunting for vintage art, artworks will come in your path and you will know. Be open to different styles when you see something that speaks to you.
Choose a genre
I tend to love all types of vintage art, but your search will become more focused when choosing a genre. I once decided that I wanted to collect floral paintings for our primary bedroom. Once I focused on building that collection, they began to appear in my path and a collection was born.
Think of paintings with barns, landscapes, seascapes, ships, mountains, farmhouses, animals, or portraits. And yes, you can have portraits of people you don’t know. I once saw a collection on a wall in a room in a magazine where the homeowner had collected portraits of people only wearing blue clothes! And another where the subject was only facing a certain direction, looking out the homeowners windows to a spectacular view! What a creative way to focus on the view, without over selling it. Details like these are what make art fun.
Every Room Can Have Art
I think art can go any room. Bathroom, kitchen, mudroom, anywhere that you want to see it, it can go! Of course, you can be discerning about what visual topics are appropriate for the space. But your house is your home and should be a reflection of you and your tastes.
Don’t forget about the frames
I’m not gonna lie, I have purchased some old art just for the frame! But framing aside, don’t discount beautiful artwork and pass it by just because the picture moulding is too garish or even boring. It can always be switched out. And don’t hesitate to hang art you love without a frame.
Frames should make the art pop, and if they don’t, it’s an easy change. The frame may seem like it’s just the background, but it can be what keeps the artwork looking vibrant. And definitely, buy amazing frames when you find them. The art will come later.
Buy what you can afford
Once again, this concept is a no brainer, but I mention it because I have seen people buy what they think their interior designers want them to have. But antique art is a great way to purchase artworks at a bargain. Maybe the artist was unknown but was nevertheless skilled, and you can find something amazing for your walls at a great price. Not all antiques are expensive. And art pieces being so subjective to the viewer, you can easily find pieces that you love at good prices.
Don’t be afraid to sell and move on
If you’ve purchased something in the past, and the art no longer moves you, then it’s time to sell it. Clearing the walls to hang what you love is always a good idea. And Facebook Marketplace was invented just for these moments.
You don’t have to match the room exactly
Just because you have a blue sofa or wall, doesn’t mean you must buy art to match your paint. Your house should be a reflection of you and the things that speak to you. So first and always, buy what you love. You will find a place for it, and it will always look good on the wall if you love it.
Original art is more than just paintings
For me, my first love in antique art is paintings but there is so much more out there. Think of vintage photography, sculptures, limited edition prints, vintage art prints, unique art pieces, chalk or pencil drawings, posters, lithographs, and more. Whatever you choose to go shopping for, you will find it in the antiques market world.
Mixing and Matching Vintage Art With Modern Wall Art Elements
The mixing and matching of old and new is always an interesting juxtaposition with art. Art will make a house a home, and whatever styles you love, there is probably a painting waiting to be found by you. While you build your collection, consider mixing high and low together.
Whether that is your children’s framed artwork, or family photographs, mix those modern things you love with your antiques. The price is always right when it’s something you may have been crafting yourself, or a drawing that can evoke a memory with your loved ones. When it’s framed, it will look like fabulous wall art and add personal style to your space.
My Favorite Framed Paintings
The favorite wall art I own are family pieces. My dad collected a lot of art in the 60s and I have most of it. I have a few pieces that are from the same artists, and they are a mix of styles. These are the art pieces I have been looking at my entire life and there is nothing like family antiques with your own attached history.
As I have collected more art pieces, framed or not, I try to choose some things that have meaning. When I went to this one estate sale, there were many framed water colors by the same artist. I chose two of my favorite that depicted meaning to me; one, of a beach scene for my California roots, the other, a barn in a field that reminds me of the midwestern life I have chose.
You can connect the antiques you buy to memories you have in your own life. I would always rather have a home filled with meaningful antiques, than purchasing basic stock art from a big box store.
Where to Buy Vintage Art
My favorite places to buy antiques, art or otherwise, is estate sales and antique shops. I have also found some great art pieces at flea markets. The only place I have never found anything good was at thrift shops, but that is just me. I have heard from friends in the local antiques community that they have discovered a few treasures there, but I haven’t had that luck. Of course, this always depends on the area you live and what type of thrift shops you have.
There are also many great sellers on Etsy and online with other sale sites like eBay. Prices can really fluctuate on these sites, and you just need to be aware of the shipping charges. Sometimes these can get expensive if the paintings are large, or if it is a sculpture because those can get pretty heavy.
However, for me, when buying old art pieces, I really prefer to be in the presence of the piece so I can really see the proper color and texture of the art. In the past, I have purchased framed paintings from an online auction that I thought were actual original art, only to find out they were prints. Not that prints are bad, if you love the subject. But for an auction I would never have bid it up if I had known it was only prints, and some auction sites give very little information about the item for sale.
Whatever your style, I encourage you to explore and experiment with vintage art in your own space. There really is a timeless beauty to antiques that really make a room cozy and authentic. Whether it be paintings, photography, or sculptures, the allure of vintage art is compelling. As you browse around at your favorite antiques shop, open your eyes to new possibilities and you might just find that one special piece that can really amp up your personal style in your space.
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