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Whether choosing floors or collectibles, vintage style may play a role

June 19, 2013

Hardwood FloorsRegional location, architectural style and historical eras all influence the decorating choices that homeowners make when they want their homes to have a vintage atmosphere. Choosing Anderson's Mountain hickory or maple hardwood flooring, with its characteristic streaks, knots and complex grain patterns, is one way to create a period ambiance.

But that's just the beginning as one Georgia homeowner found when she painted he home in a bold mint green and white trim reminiscent of a 1940's beach house on the Gulf Coast.

When Better Homes and Gardens featured the beach house owned by Mary Kay Andrews, the magazine found that her home design choices had as much to do with function as they did with style. An old dresser, for instance, was refinished in a distressed painting style and now houses an entertainment system.

A variety of styles
Although the term "vintage" is commonly used by decorators, it isn't limited to one particular style, according to It may embrace elements of rustic, cottage and country design or something more elaborate, such as a Victorian influence. Choosing a vintage style that they like helps homeowners focus their shopping at flea markets or antique stores.

An interesting decorator's trick used by Andrews was the way she combined old and new influences in her design scheme. Vintage wicker furniture was painted in a glossy lime green that complements, rather than conflicts, with the mint green on the exterior walls of the home. A bar with two stools provides guest seating in addition to chairs.

Eclectic Choices
At her Georgia beach house, Andrews' collection of flamingo figurines, glass bottles and assorted collectibles are displayed on a cubby-hole style shelving unit attached to a wall. Rather than placing them randomly, the items are arranged symmetrically to give a sense of order to the mismatched pieces. But the choices she made for the shelves are a good example of how home decorators can select treasures that showcase their personal style.

The hunt for furnishings that match a given era or style doesn't have to come from outside the home. Taking a second look at one's own belongings that haven't been used in a while may uncover some hidden gems that can be incorporated into the current room design. For instance, a small corner cabinet may turn out to be the ideal display area for a personal collection that's been growing through the years.