I feel like I’m always on the hunt for vintage items. So, I thought it would be helpful this week to give you a list of some of my favorite vintage bits and bobs that I’m always searching for, and some of my tried and true tricks of the trade for tracking them down.
I can’t seem to resist a good crate when I see one. Most of these old crates were used as fruit boxes by commercial farms before cardboard and plastic reared their ugly heads. To me, the old weathered wood coupled with a faded graphic on these fruit crates is irresistible. As for decor, the crates are versatile, which is why I love them. Crates are practical and fun and can be used for lots of things from storage to organizing to adorning the coffee table with a floral arrangement. You should always keep an eye out at estate sales, antique stores, and local online estate sale auction sites. A crate can range anywhere from $20 to $100.
While the Pyrex company still manufactures glassware, the styles they put out nowadays are typically pretty plain (a clear glass bowl, a blue glass bowl). The Pyrex dishes from the 60s, 70s, and early 80s have my heart with their distinctive nostalgic designs. I love my vintage Pyrex pieces. They enhance my kitchen with a lot of color and vintage charm, and I use them every day (I display most of them in the open rather than tucked away in a closed cabinet because they’re just too good to look at!) At garage/tag sales, I usually find pieces for under $20. Unique Pyrex can cost upwards of $1,000, but I’m not a serious collector. I pick them because of their pattern or color. My favorite patterns are the Amish Butterprint in turquoise and the Friendship pattern.
I enjoy collecting antique quilts since they can be passed down; each one is unique and has a story to tell. I collect various types and styles, and I’m not afraid to purchase damaged quilts at a lower price and hide the damaged section (I’ve also been known to use very old cutter quilts to make new things like Christmas stockings, oven mitts, and even clothing.) Find antique quilts at flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores, and antique stores. Don’t forget to look through the linen bins!
I love finding unique paintings, sketches and, prints. I am generally drawn to Impressionist, post-Impressionist, or abstract styles, but I am also a huge fan of mid-century still lifes. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more on things you love. If you find something that speaks to you, you’ll probably love it forever. If you want to build an extensive collection, look everywhere and often. Some of my best pieces have come from unexpected places (like the side of the road with a “FREE” sign posted to it!)
I have collected vintage books from flea markets and thrift stores for years. I pay anywhere between a quarter and $5 per book (although if you’re looking for specific books or first editions, you will have to cough up a bit more cash). Generally, I look for vintage books based on their covers’ colors and designs. For example, I will decorate with green-covered books for spring and reds and blues for summer. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, I do.
I also love finding vintage camping items! Thermoses from the 50s and 60s have wonderful graphics and are usually still able to be used to keep drinks and soups warm. Tin picnic baskets from this era, as well as things like vintage Coleman lanterns, cotton plaid sleeping bags (be sure to wash these well after you purchase them!!), and vintage tin coffee cups and plates can all take you back to the olden days of camping. You can use these items or display them in your farmhouse for a nostalgic campy vibe. I’ve picked up lots of the campy things I have at garage sales! Thrift stores – not so much, but flea markets and sometimes antique shops will have a few of these types of items for sale.
Do you have any tips for scoring vintage and antique items that I didn’t cover in this post? Please share in the comments section below! We may use your ideas and even contact you for a quick interview for a future blog post!