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    Follow the Stories | (2012)

    Vintage Decorating: Buy the Numbers

    • Buy the Numbers
      Buy the Numbers

      Unless you inherited a collection of Fabergé, it’s safe to say that purchasing multiple pricey antiques as decorative accessories is a big investment. The monetary value of an object is often linked to its rarity, so if you’re looking to give your space a vintage vibe on a low budget, take advantage of this idea and consider using some of the most common objects you’ll find at the antique stores. Visually pleasing odds and ends that you could find at any antique market can give an entire room rhythm and warmth when clustered together. Click through for some simple, whimsical ideas for how to design by grouping fun and cheap objects to give your living space a bit of vintage flair.

      (Photo: © Matthew Midura)

    • Wish You Were Here!
      Wish You Were Here!

      Stacks upon stacks of antique postcards fill the tabletops of booths at antiques fairs. With so many of these ephemeral drawings and photographs, there’s usually no need to spend more than a few dollars per card. Find ones that remind you of that quaint Vermont town you once visited, or perhaps the one whose colors jump out to you most. Instantly personal, postcards are not only visually appealing, but their stories provide another dimension to their small size.

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

    • A Simple Frame Job
      A Simple Frame Job

      Cards with messages on the back are interactive and can pique curiosity; who sent it and where did it come from? By fanning out a stack in a dish on a living room table, friends can thumb through them, providing a quirky alternative to the average coffee table book. If you frame and hang several of them, these images are instant art that can break up a wall and make a small space feel bigger.

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

    • Go to Print
      Go to Print

      Who says that print is dead? Celebrate graphic style through these fantastic printing blocks and add a bit of geometric spunk by standing them up on a mantelpiece, bookshelf, or desk. Mix and match cases and numbers, serif and sans-serif, for a haphazard look that can pull together a unique workspace.

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

    • Revert to Type
      Revert to Type

      Typewriter keys are also inexpensive and easy to come by, since the technology is virtually defunct. Try repurposing a handful of them as coat hooks in a mudroom; it may take a little bit of DIY handiwork, but picking special letters for your family can instantly personalize your home in an unexpected way.

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

    • Score a Hole-in-One, Two, Three, or More
      Score a Hole-in-One, Two, Three, or More

      Ardent sports fans are well-aware of trading card collections or signed homerun baseballs. But with the right quantity and setup, sports equipment that’s past its prime can inspire a tired room. Although these golf balls will never again roll over a manicured green, filling up a rustic bucket they still have the energy to liven up a den or wet bar. There’s something sophisticated and nostalgic in their dilapidated surfaces.

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

    • Tennis, Anyone?
      Tennis, Anyone?

      When old sports equipment is grouped together and added to a sleek, modern space, it creates a familiar feeling of comfort that’s athletic without screaming country club.

      (Photo: © Chris Williams/iStock)

    • Fuel the Conversation
      Fuel the Conversation

      Flea markets and fairs often have stacks of old cans and canned goods with fantastic, quirky packaging. Bright colors and bold fonts are eye-catching; think vintage pop art à la Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup cans.

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

    • Food for Thought
      Food for Thought

      Make that pop-art aesthetic your own by finding unusual label designs and colors; they’ll make great accents to give your living room an eclectic and homey feel. Repurpose the cans to add spunk to an office as bookends, or when stacked, they pack a punch as a unique side table or doorstop.

      (Photo: Jeff Dunn for WGBH)

    • Do Things By the Book
      Do Things By the Book

      Old books can often be some of the most fascinating and evocative objects we see on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. Edition and condition can dictate their monetary value; if a rare book is in great condition, it can be worth thousands of dollars. Most antique books don’t fall under this category, but they can be collected based on their color, title, and author. Choose titles that resonate with you; classic children’s books and guides can shine beyond the bookshelf.

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

    • Coffee Table Books, Indeed
      Coffee Table Books, Indeed

      Condition issues can actually give the books more personality, tears and stains adding an extra layer of warmth. Try using them to create a more dynamic space by stacking them on a coffee table to bring height to low furnishings, or piling them by a chair for a casual — yet useful — style.

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

    • Cinéma Vérité
      Cinéma Vérité

      With more and more theaters having to phase out film to make way for digital projection, treasuring the technology for its aesthetic appeal becomes easier. These film reels can give a mesmerizing and modern tweak to an empty wall, combining an industrial feel with the homage to movies. Try different sizes: 35mm, 16mm, 8mm to add some playful rhythm to the circular motif. While film was once the symbol of modernity, it can now rejuvenate the walls of a tired living room, captivating you in a creative new way.

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

    • Create a Focal Point
      Create a Focal Point

      And why not try turning the lens on the cameras themselves? Place an assortment of old models on a table or shelves and they'll become the focus of the room.

      (Photo: © Maria Pavlova/iStock)

    • Spritzing Things Up!
      Spritzing Things Up!

      Gathered on a window sill or lined up in a fresh, white cabinet, antique seltzer bottles have the luminous power to brighten up a room. They are perfect particularly for spaces that get exposed to moisture. Take advantage of their patina effect and make it a focal point by choosing a variety of colors; deep purple, brown, cobalt and azure. If you prefer a more streamlined, uniform look, then try to find several of the same style to amplify the impact of their quaint beauty. The result will be greater than the sum of its parts; you’ll get the jewel box effect without the price tag of a Tiffany lamp!

      (Photo: © Dylan Leavitt)

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