How-to Decorate Your House With Antique Artwork

How-to Decorate Your House With Antique Artwork

Antique artwork gives your home character and pizazz. Don’t worry about your budget. Reproduction prints, flea markets, Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, consignment stores and yard sales are a great source of antique artwork.


  1. Match house style and art style. That Victorian house will look “just right” with typical Victorian art that includes seascapes (aka J. M. W. Turner), angels and cupids for your little girl’s room, and animal paintings for your living or dining room. Your Craftsman style or bungalow cottage retains its arts and crafts feeling with artwork of that period. Framed posters and giclee prints are affordable options.
  2. Botanical or Audubon prints for any décor. Shop your local library’s annual book sale for a book of botanical or Audubon prints. Look for the largest format book you can find. Frame them in simple frames and group them above a neutral-colored sofa for an unexpected touch of color and interest. Prints like this are ideal along a staircase.
  3. Antique plates and platters. Head to local estate sales in an established part of town to find antique plates and platters. The older, the better. As long as they are similar in style and/or complementary colors, buy a dozen. Hang them above a dining room buffet or your entrance area.
  4. Old black and white or sepia photographs and their frames. Yard sales and antique or collectibles shops can be treasure troves of old photographs of couples, babies, children and old houses, many often already in frames. They are usually cheap and can easily date back to the late 1800s. Reframe the vintage photographs in simple frames and group together. Clean up the old frames. Consider painting the more ornate frames with chalk paint and use in bedrooms or bathrooms.
  5. Stained glass panels. Vintage and reproduction stained glass panels come in a variety of styles, from Victorian, Tiffany, Frank Lloyd Wright (for your mid-century modern home) and gothic. Add privacy and a sense of style to your bathroom by hanging a vintage stained glass panel in your bathroom window.
  6. Farmhouse/Shabby Chic may be right for you. Home décor is always a personal choice. Whether you live in a saltbox in Vermont or a farmhouse in the South or Midwest, an antique quilt hung behind your sofa or behind your bed sets the tone for that room. Shabby chic, French country or Gustavian (Swedish) is just right for a lake or beach house.

Where you live makes a difference. Regional differences influence design choices too. Don’t be afraid to buck the trend in your city. Industrial and contemporary don’t appeal to every homeowner. Antique art and artifacts honor your home’s past. Yet antique art lends warmth to modern spaces.

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