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How to create vintage style

Sarah Warwick 11/02/2015 11:37:27 DIY and How-to Guides

Love colour and pattern? Big on mixing and matching? Want a strong flavour of the 1950s and a distinctly cheerful home? Discover how to work the vintage look in every room.

Dress the window

OK, we would say it, wouldn’t we, but shutters really are the perfect way to dress your window if you’re after vintage chic. Choose narrow slats – this is a look full of detail – rather than the widest options, and dress the whole window with Full Height shutters or go for half-height Café Style shutters to create decorative interest in a room that needs a light boost as well as privacy.

Thinking finish? A white might be the fresh contrast you need if you’re using plenty of pretty pastel shades in your room (see Get the colour scheme right, below). Don’t count out other colours, though, if your room can take it. Staying on the pale side, our Clotted Cream finish is perfect, or use our Custom Colour Match Service to select your favourite ice-cream tone.

Fans of bolder colour can, of course, indulge themselves with a more vivid finish, such as the rich pink shown. When you’re taking this route, adjust the shades you use in the rest of the room so there’s an equal depth of colour.

Pick the furniture

Make sure the furniture you use in your room schemes has retro appeal. We’re talking wooden dining tables and chairs, or cute metal designs for a kitchen-diner, or try bench seating (best for little ones or adults taking five for a coffee, in our opinion).

For living spaces, comfy, squashy sofas you can sink into and wing-style armchairs will do the job nicely. Pile them up with cushions for extra comfort, mixing florals, spots and stripes to get the look.

When you’re shopping for bedrooms, opt for beds in iron or wooden bed frames, and select cabinet furniture in oak and pine with simple waxed or varnished rather than lacquered finishes, or try white and pale-painted pieces instead.

While you might want some plains for upholstered furniture, try to include at least one piece your granny would love. An armchair in a patterned floral is easy to add in with a quieter sofa.


All items, BHS

Get the colour scheme right

Whether you go for a palette of sweet pastels, deeper shades of blue, pink and more, or a folksy patchwork of colour (we’ll say it again), be consistent. A sugared almond pink will get shouted down by a crowd of deep purples and rich reds.

You might choose plain painted white walls and white-painted floorboards together with solid colour for furniture, but it’s a vintage law that colour should come from the riot of pattern in your rooms. Look for small to medium-scale florals (featuring British garden flowers at that), ginghams, spots and stripes in your chosen palette, and mix them all together in patchwork pieces as well. Don’t be shy of pattern combining within each room: vintage style is pattern-tastic, not a showcase for one design.

Palmerston Pink No. 243 and Pure White No. 1, Mylands Paints

Add the finishing touches

You already know this isn’t a look for minimalists – vintage style means you can accessorise your room schemes to your heart’s content. What you pick should look as if it’s been accumulated over many years, even if the pieces are all recent buys, if truth be told.

What to go for? For kitchen-diners, show off flowers in enamel jugs, display tableware (patterned or featuring your vintage colour palette, of course) on open shelving, and pick retro-style storage containers to keep on the worktop. In living areas, go the whole hog with fringed lampshades, patchwork rugs and throws and ornate picture frames. For the bedroom, choose patterned bed linens, add piles of cushions and finish your bed with a traditional quilt or layers of throws. Don’t forget, either, that this is a look where you absolutely can hang out the bunting village-fete style: hurrah!


Gold gilt vintage picture frame, Ayers and Graces.

Want some more vintage style inspiration? Check out our Pinterest board.

Prefer a traditional look? Find all the advice you need here. All about cool and contemporary style? Check out our tips.

Want our help to choose shutters? Contact us or call 0800 012 6009.

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