Some items should always be vintage. There are lots of good reasons to buy vintage or upcycle/recycle/repurpose previously owned furnishings for your home.

First, upcycling is a sustainable way to shop, and better for the environment. Reusing means less product in our landfills, or worse, less that is incinerated, harming our fragile environment. Each year in the US we dump 14 million tons of textiles in our landfills. Most of that is "fast fashion" but a significant portion comes from textiles previously used for home furnishings. Aside from being kind to the planet, there are lots of stylish reasons to buy vintage or to repurpose.

Trentham Hall Pillow Lee Jofa

First, whatever you upcycle or repurpose will be unique and create a one-of-a-kind look, so much more stylish than the mass-produced mindless pieces you see everywhere. A vintage piece adds charm, character and patina or "history" to an otherwise “new” room.

Country Life Toile Pillow

Vintage can be a lot easier to come by and a lot more fun to shop (if you’re not luck enough to inherit). Check out local estate sales, "antique" stores, and the like. You can even shop your friends’ inherited pieces that they can’t use. Plus, when buying vintage, there are no supply chain issues, waiting months of more for new pieces!

Traditional Chinoserie Les Pecheurs


Vintage is usually a better value – better quality and construction for the same price or less. As many will tell you, so much furniture is made overseas now and not the same quality as the American furniture industry at its peak in the 80’s. Look for the great American brands that now qualify as vintage (made on or before 1983 is 40+ years old). Quality and craftsmanship is not often found in mass production. Some vintage is simply better for quality of material and construction, affordability, and of course sustainability.


Here are my favorite vintage pieces to consider:

Original Art. There’s no need to buy a mass-produced piece when so much original work is available. Even contemporary in style, especially large-scale oil canvases, look fabulous with older more traditional décor. Buy something you love or commission an artist friend.

Rugs, especially if handwoven, or using vegetable dyes, last longer and are more durable if made from wool. Just check them closely for signs of irreparable wear. A unique rug can be the starting point for an entire room scheme.

Every room needs one piece of high quality "brown" furniture. And if it shows a little wear – all the more authentic. Thankfully, Grandmillenials are embracing brown furniture again – just done in moderation (one piece per room) and with inherited or found pieces that they love and are worthy of being a focal point in a room.

Cocoa Romance Toile Pillow

Case goods – wood shelves, armoires, china cabinets, hutches, and the like are great choices. Chairs and tables are a "maybe" since older pieces are often too short for us today! Chairs need to have at least an 18” seat height and tables need to be tall enough to accommodate a seated person under the table top. If I could do it again, I would look for mismatched dining chairs, each with their own distinctive back for the dining table, upholstered in the same rescued textile.  I love the look of mismatched dining chairs – their backs can be so interesting and you  can slipcover them in the same fabric to pull them together. Added bonus: single vintage chairs can be less expensive than a set of matching chairs. 

French leather art deco club chairs in brown leather, with a little wear are so stylish, and a good deal cheaper than new leather!

Leather couch with pillows

China. I really love the look of mismatched china too – desert or salad plates for instance in a different pattern – and collecting old pieces can be environmentally friendly and  very stylish. Collect serving bowls and jugs, perhaps in blue and white Spode – they can be fabulous for flowers, centerpieces, and the like.

Blue & White China

Lamps and chandeliers really should be distinctive. Vintage examples or gently used are all the more unique and can be re-wired by your local lighting store or a good electrician if needed. Add a rescued textile shade in a fabulous material.

Pillows upcycled from rescued textiles are an easy way to add something unique and special to your décor. There are more textiles being “dumped” than we could ever save, so at Rescued Textiles we decided to focus on saving the smaller pieces (easier to end up mindlessly tossed than entire bolts of yardage) and on works of art that are the best examples of textiles made in the last 100 years. With few exceptions, we find pieces that were never even used! So, they don’t look old or dusty, just beautiful! At Rescued Textiles we have lovely examples of English Garden florals, newly popular with Grandmillenials, lots of Blue & White that’s always right, hand block prints from around the Globe, hand printed toile, French damasks, and whimsical prints. Even some prints that are considered so special and “iconic” that they have been in continuous production for 100 years.

Schumacher Airlie Pillow

Always think vintage first. Sustainable décor for the eco-conscious.