What to do with vintage finds

I prefer a mix of new, vintage and antique finds in my home. I think it’s hard to create a sense of self and personality in a home if everything is brand new as nothing represents your childhood and younger adult years. I think a home should reflect the people who live in it and this involves keeping or collecting what you’re interested in, what you love the look of, or what has a story behind it; Ikea comes flat-packed, memories not included.

The problem comes when you begin to run out of space.  Antiques are usually so precious and expensive we don’t have too many of them so they don’t prove a problem.  New objects are usually bought for practical purposes.  It’s the vintage objects (post-1960s) that can begin to clutter up our lives as they can be collected easily and are relatively inexpensive. However, vintage objects don’t always have a practical use so seem to ‘hang around’ more than anything else and people can get scared to use them because they are ‘old’.

I would like to show you some examples of how to use vintage finds in a practical way so that they don’t become clutter but turn into interesting conversation pieces, characterful storage and practical pieces of beauty that will add a unique feel to your home. Don’t rush out and buy something made for purpose; recycle and re-use what you have in a creative way and don’t be scared to use it instead of just staring at it!

Retro vintage G-Plan sideboard and Ercol chair

We needed a TV unit for our ENORMOUS (don’t get me started!) TV. Instead of buying a made for purpose AV unit, which are typically pretty disgusting, in my opinion, we turned this 1950’s G-Plan sideboard into the perfect, stylish TV cupboard (filled with horrible electrical boxes).

Vintage blue and white tiles

I absolutely love these blue and white tiles that my friend Agnes bought me in Buenos Aires. I use them as coasters or on the kitchen table for hot pans.

Blue and white vintage enamel

This blue and white enamel pie dish used to belong to my grandfather and he used it in the bathroom for his soap. I use it for make-up and every time I see it I think of my grandfather so what better reason to re-use this rather than buying a new make-up box.

Vintage crates

I salvaged these crates from an orchard whilst on a school trip. They sit on my balcony and keep the pots off the decking to decrease the chance of mould. I love the vintage feel they give to the balcony as well as serving an important purpose. Photograph by Peachey Photography.

Vintage glass jelly mould

A vintage jelly mould, given to me by my friend Farah, that I use for my cotton reels.

vintage ashtray

This vintage ashtray hangs on my mug hooks in the kitchen and holds garlic cloves.

Vintage Burleigh jug

Instead of buying a brand new utensil holder use a pretty vintage jug, which will add character to your kitchen.

Vintage shabby chic children's chair

Instead of buying a step-stool for high cupboards and shelves I have re-purposed a vintage children’s chair.

Moroccan tiles

I use these Moroccan tiles in a very practical way: I rest my hair straighteners on them.

Vintage metal basket

Instead of a boring loo roll holder I’ve used this vintage electrical wire basket to hold loo roll and books in the bathroom, which is more interesting to look at.

Vintage mustard jar

A mustard jar is re-purposed to make a brush pot.

Use vintage bottles to hold single stems.

Antique iron

I use this iron as a very effective doorstop or it would make a perfect bookend.

Vintage tea cup

I love vintage crockery but it can be easy to buy too much and it ends up sitting in a cupboard not being used. We use one of my favourite tea cups for keys on the hallway table so we can see it and it serves a purpose.

Vintage Burleigh pottery jug Asiatic Pheasants

Don’t just stare at your vintage jug, use it as a vase.

Vintage school trunk

I did a previous post about how I up-cycled my mum’s Old School Trunk, rather than buying a brand new coffee table. Photograph by Peachey Photography.


Have a look around your home and see if there is anything you have been hanging onto that could eventually serve a purpose and make your home more beautiful at the same time. x




  1. 6th April 2013 / 9:17 am

    Great tips! I love buying vintage and ‘slightly loved’ items at second hand shops. I try to limit myself to things that look pretty AND can be practical. Love the photos!

  2. lino
    6th April 2013 / 9:33 am

    Some really great ideas. Very inspiring!

  3. Gigi
    6th April 2013 / 9:40 am

    I shall now be buying a vintage iron…. Brilliant. Always loved them but never knew what to do with them.

  4. Evelyn
    8th April 2013 / 3:47 pm

    Another fantastic idea. Totally inspired!

  5. Alma
    18th April 2013 / 12:33 pm

    What fantastic ideas to use little treasures that we all have tucked away most of the time !!

    • katy
      18th April 2013 / 12:55 pm

      Yes! We need to make the most of them. Welcome to my blog, Alma 🙂

  6. C. Jo
    24th April 2013 / 5:28 pm

    Totally in tune with what I have wondered about – how to enjoy beautiful but apparently less than useful artefacts and mementoes. Love your ideas.

  7. Phil Moriarty
    7th January 2014 / 7:56 pm

    Why not cover your mothers school trunch in vintage material, which is my next project

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