Simply put, vintage style adds soul to any space. And while it's true of any part of the house, there is something uniquely special about seeing the aesthetic come to life in the bedroom — a space where you can let your hair down and be yourself possibly more than anywhere else in your home. Vintage style is a way to express your unique tastes and personality with pieces that are equal parts nostalgic and treasured. Besides, it also just looks really cool.
Whether you choose to put all of your favorite antiques in your sleeping quarters, or you want to display subtle touches here and there, you'll have no shortage of inspiration when it comes to decking out your space. But you may be wondering where to start. How do you go about achieving the look? Interior designer Ashley Daly, who specializes in all-things-vintage, is here to share her insights on crafting a bedroom that looks as if it's been transported from another time. She sees tons of benefits in creating a sleeping space with a vintage look and feel.
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"Why vintage?" she says. "Vintage holds meaning. It's lived a life. It has gravitas. It maybe belonged to your grandmother or was found along your life path at a flea market. It's more likely to be handmade and thoughtfully built or conceived. Whether we notice it or not, our surroundings subtly cue us. I think a hand-built dresser that's been loved for generations will [lead] someone in a better direction than a brand-new, mass-produced item. The bedroom is so intimate, so make sure it has things that really mean something in it."
Another bonus of vintage bedroom decor? The approach can easily be accomplished with a budget in mind. "There are a lot of ways to acquire vintage decor," Daly says. "Estate sales, flea markets, antique malls, garage sales, your parents' attic, and more. If you are on a budget or just love to be thrifty, the best deals are most often found at garage sales or flea markets. The key is to keep your eyes open and stay on the hunt. Maybe make it a point to go to the thrift store by your house every Monday or after dropping [the] kids off at school. Make a habit of driving home through the part of town with older, grander homes, keeping an eye out for garage or estate sales. Make vintage hunting part of your routine, and you're setting up more opportunities to run into a deal."
You can also effortlessly personalize your vintage home decor, too. Daly notes, "If you're really wanting to punch up [the] personality in your bedroom, consider adding collections that are well-curated and beautifully displayed — maybe a grouping of bird paintings if you're a birder! Or if you love green, just lean in and paint the room green — it can feel really good to admit you love something and surround yourself with it."
Daly shares that the core tenets of vintage style are the same as any other bedroom design idea — fill it with items that you love and that support your needs.
Ready for some eye candy? Here are 30 vintage bedroom ideas that are guaranteed to make a lasting impression.
1. Go all out.
What's your favorite vintage era? The atomic fabulousness of the '50s? The carefree vibe of the '70s? Whatever it is, you can go all out in your bedroom and recapture the spirit of that time period. Ashley Daly of Retro Den has nailed the aesthetic of the '70s in her own bedroom. The macrame wall decor, paint-by-number art pieces, and maize throw blanket come together for a totally groovy look.
2. Paint the walls and ceiling.
When creating a vintage bedroom, you can certainly go with top-to-bottom neutrals, but to push the envelope further, we suggest something darker and a little moodier. Think: emerald green, slate gray, and rich wood finishes. And don't stop at the walls and textiles — carry the decadent use of color onto the ceiling as well. These are all elements that come together to create the bold scheme used in this bedroom belonging to Annette from A Vintage Splendor.
3. Allow a single piece to take center stage.
If you have a particularly extraordinary piece of vintage furniture, give it plenty of space to shine in your bedroom. In this setup belonging to Chanel Dror Tarlo from the team over at Camille Styles, a midcentury chair in the corner brims with character and looks amazing all on its own. A vintage rug completes the scene.
4. Bring in vintage bedding.
When designing a vintage bedroom, even one for the kiddos, the bedding is a quick and easy place to start. Incorporate blankets and quilts that have been passed down (or scored at a thrift store), or invest in new linens that showcase old-school charm. The bedding scheme showcased in this kid's room, crafted by The Grit and Polish, is made up of a green and white sheet set with a darling floral print, a puckered quilt in a dusty rose hue, and an old wool blanket. The layered approach is downright dreamy, especially when paired with that stunning bed frame.
"Vintage linens are a hot topic," Daly says. "I think there are some incredibly beautiful patterns ... from days gone by, and I personally have several pillowcases from vintage sheet sets. If you want to find [a set or two], look at estate sales and thrift stores. Hold them [up] unfolded and examine them closely. The same goes for vintage quilts and blankets."
Forgo headboards with clean lines and glossy finishes, and opt for something a little warmer, softer, and with more character instead. For example, interior designer Emily Henderson went with a distinctive cognac leather-upholstered headboard complete with old-school button tufting in this vintage bedroom. The handsome space is proof that classic details and a tailored finish can still make quite the impression.
6. Welcome picture frame wall trim.
Speaking of timeless details, this bedroom designed by Garrett and Cathy of The Grit and Polish is teeming with vintage treasures, but it was the picture frame wall trim that caught our attention. While subtle, the decorative molding is an elegant nod to traditional style and pairs beautifully with the antique dresser, wrought iron headboard, and articulating wall sconces.
7. Create a gallery wall.
"Gallery walls can be a great way to add artwork to your bedroom," Daly says. "You may want to use a more streamlined collection of similar art pieces, or you may want to keep in mind that unexpected objects can really add interest. I've framed quilt blocks, hung a vintage baby jacket from a client's grandfather, and mounted plates, plants, and baskets. So many options!"
In the case of this bedroom wall styled by Kim and Scott of Yellow Brick Home, a rich shade of forest green paint makes an ideal backdrop for a collection of vintage bird prints.
8. Turn to a retro paint color.
Fariha of Pennies for a Fortune turned to a throwback shade of pastel pink for this bedroom design, and we wholeheartedly approve. Apparently, Daly does as well, since she favors old-school paint colors for her projects, too. "I'm currently in love with the layered dedication to a single color that was popular in the sixties and seventies," she says.
9. Frame a vintage textile.
For a one-of-a-kind addition to your bedroom decor, consider framing a vintage textile that you've discovered at a flea market or antique store. Vintage rugs can be ideal for framing, as proven by this space spotlighted on Camille Styles. Also, random pieces of cloth and clothing can double as framed artwork, too.
10. Make room for an old-fashioned bench.
If you're sifting through ideas for your vintage bedroom, consider adding an old-fashioned bench. For instance, in this pattern-filled design by Heidi Caillier, an upholstered bench, complete with dust ruffle, takes up residence at the foot of the bed, adding a soft, frilly detail that's reminiscent of a different time.
11. Experiment with the headboard.
Who needs to buy a headboard, when you can use unexpected vintage objects to create one? For example, Kate from Kate Pearce Vintage dreamed up this clever idea using antique typesetting trays. The finished result is an impeccable headboard design that tells an interesting story and is completely one-of-a-kind.
12. Display vintage books.
Affordable and easy to decorate with, vintage books are a welcome addition to any throwback bedchamber. Stack them on your nightstand and complete the look with a few complementary decorative objects. That's exactly how Suzanne Kryton Designs made this bedroom look so well-appointed.
13. Feature a bygone wallpaper pattern.
Floral patterns naturally lend themselves to a vintage feel in any bedroom. For a wallpaper print that looks as if it was pulled straight from a historic home, be sure to search for curvy or symmetrical patterning and delicate silhouettes. Deb of Seeking Lavender Lane went with a charming design that paired beautifully with the rest of the storied decor.
14. Showcase an antique map.
One creative way to dress up the spot above your bed is by framing a vintage map. Look for one that features the location of your home, or a favorite destination shared by you and a loved one. Avery of Holland Avenue Home shows us how it's done in this cozy refuge.
15. Don’t take the visuals too seriously.
A vintage bedroom can also be an opportunity to have a little fun with your decor. Consider: a vibrant button-tufted headboard, colorful vintage art, and a swing arm wall sconce. Megan of M Pettipoole did just that in this sleeping space, resulting in a lighthearted yet grown-up scheme that won't be overlooked.
16. Snag a thrifted nightstand.
If you spy a secondhand side table or a nightstand that would look so cool in your bedroom, but it's a bit dilapidated, keep in mind that there are lots of ways to give it a little refresh, from paint to new drawer hardware. Peruse your local thrift shops and flea markets to find the perfect piece. Or if you're lucky like Kristina Lynne, you won't have to look that far — she repurposed her Nana's vintage sewing table.
Daly says, "It can be really easy to shine up a vintage wooden dresser or table. Sometimes, vintage pieces only need to be dusted, wiped down, oiled/waxed, or have their screws tightened. It's sometimes a risk to buy more worn pieces, but it's also a real opportunity for savings."
17. Breathe new life into an antique dresser.
Don't just stop at side tables; look for a dresser, too. Whether the piece is in good shape as-is or it needs a fresh coat of paint, vintage furniture just adds something special. Sarah of Room for Tuesday gave this gem a facelift, and the end result is simply stunning.
"Vintage furniture is wonderful," Daly comments. "Be a wise consumer and really look your pieces over... It's a smart thing to do. That said, a lot of vintage [pieces are] known for being very [well-made] — using better materials and construction practices — and [oftentimes] you can get better quality for a similar or lower price than new furniture pieces."
18. Score an oil painting.
The vintage oil painting trend is still going strong. And if you score a truly attention-grabbing work of art — like the piece that Emily Henderson found for her bedroom — it can even act as a focal point.
According to Daly, you can always swap out the frame to fit in with the rest of your bedroom decor. She says, "Sometimes, you find the perfect vintage artwork in the perfect frame but remember that both the frame and the artwork can often each look extra fresh when separated and paired with something new. I have reframed and re-matted a lot of vintage prints and paintings, and the difference is incredible!"
19. Add wainscoting and decorative trim.
With so much focus on furniture and decor, the walls tend to be an afterthought. But that would be a mistake. For instance, look at how much visual interest and charm comes from the wainscoting and decorative trim in Bria Hammel's guest bedroom. Without the light blue detailing, the overall design would feel completely different.
20. Carve out space for a vintage vanity table.
Vanity tables were quite big back in the day, so it goes without saying that your vintage bedroom should include one as well. We love the simple wood design, complete with a mirror, spotted in this setup. The matching chair and old-school task lamp are the perfect finishing touches. When perusing flea markets and antique shops, look for furniture with clean lines, simple silhouettes, quality craftsmanship, and high-end materials.
21. Paint it black.
To really make your vintage bedroom idea pop, paint your walls black. Kristin of Hunted Interior amped up the drama in this setup with a matte shade of ebony. Now, with such a dark backdrop, the antiques and vintage-inspired pieces used throughout are even more noticeable.
22. Create a throwback workspace.
As anyone who works from home knows, finding a quiet space to concentrate can be tricky. As a result, the bedroom tends to be the best option when it comes to carving out a workstation that offers privacy and the least distractions. But that doesn't mean you have to settle for corporate office furniture. Give your bedroom office some vintage flair with an antique desk, a bygone chair, and a few vintage accessories. Sarah of She Holds Dearly was able to give her workspace plenty of old-school country charm by employing this approach.
23. Include modern elements.
Believe it or not, not every piece in your bedroom needs to be an antique. Mix the old with the new by incorporating modern elements. These can include streamlined sconces, contemporary wall art, and a channel-tufted headboard sporting a retro hue, all things witnessed in this setup styled by Suzannah of Create/Enjoy.
24. Select old-school light fixtures.
"Lighting is important in the bedroom," Daly says. "Often, you need to have calm light to help support good sleep hygiene and then you also need bright light to see if your pants are navy or black when getting dressed in the morning. Lamps provide the best mood lighting, and vintage lamps come in so many styles. I think they are a really great option for people who want to add vintage to their rooms but don't know where to start. Remember, you can always have them rewired at the hardware store (or buy a kit and do it yourself), so don't pass on a lamp just because the cord looks worn."
When crafting your vintage bedroom, shop around for timeless fixtures that will complement your overall design. The pendant and sconce used in this bedroom makeover by Yellow Brick Home nod to a different era and add the perfect understated yet elegant touch.
25. Consider the bed frame.
The black vintage-inspired bed frame spotted in this bedroom by Ashley of Little Glass Jar is definitely the star of the show. Surrounded by a timeworn basket at the foot of the bed, artwork with weathered frames, and a jewelry box on the dresser that's survived decades, the space feels relaxed and as cozy as can be.
26. Incorporate vintage rattan decor.
Vintage rattan is a surefire way to craft a throwback bohemian bedroom. Whether it's with the help of a chair, or in the case of this Vintage Revivals makeover, a headboard, thrifted rattan immediately adds a unique touch that's reminiscent of the '70s.
"I've found beds and headboards at thrift shops or more cluttered antique stores or antique malls. I also find them easily on Craigslist or similar online marketplaces," Daly says.
27. Invest in midcentury pieces.
You can't go wrong with a midcentury approach when creating a vintage-inspired bedroom. It's a design style that has stayed strong since the 1940s. Invest in an authentic midcentury chair, 1950s era lighting, and a dark wood table à la this scene by Jen of The Effortless Chic.
28. Opt for milk glass.
As you narrow down the lighting for your vintage bedroom, know that you can't go wrong with milk glass. Traditionally found in old schoolhouses, it works for both farmhouse and midcentury spaces alike. In this serene escape, Liz Marie Galvan opted for a semi-flush mount ceiling fixture and a pair of matching sconces.
29. Be thoughtful about your drapery.
Vintage bedrooms are the perfect opportunity to show off fancy drapery. From intricate patterns to elegant fabrics to decadent colors, there are no limits. In this sophisticated design by Jean Stoffer, the navy blue velvet curtains hung from brass hardware scream luxury. Not to mention, the dark color and heavy material will do wonders blocking out the sun when you're trying to catch a few extra zzz's.
30. Embrace a granny-chic accent chair.
No bedroom is complete without an accent chair. Follow the lead of this minimalist sanctuary and opt for a wingback design for a vintage touch. The floral upholstery, reminiscent of the furniture in your grandmother's house, really dresses up the corner and adds a welcome dose of color and pattern.