Blog > DIY Vintage Vibes: How to Bring Some Nostalgia into Your Home

DIY Vintage Vibes: How to Bring Some Nostalgia into Your Home

by Pure RealtyMay 13, 2020

A few weeks ago, we looked at the Home Decor Trends for 2020. One of the biggest themes for 2020 is “what’s old is new.”

Distressed furniture, antiques, vintage patterns, throwback decor, and other signs of wear and age are top design components.

You can always find these pieces at state sales and antique shops , or even local department stores, thanks to their popularity.

But wouldn’t it be much more fun and satisfying to create the look yourself?


Furniture made from weathered wood brings about a sense of comfort and nostalgia for most, which is likely why it’s gotten so popular. Giving your wooden furniture a distressed look is perhaps one of the easiest ways you can add old-fashioned vibes to your space.


The most straightforward way you can add some age is to sand away the modern.

On painted furniture, sand down pieces of the paint to different thicknesses and sizes to create a patchwork of weathered paint. Make sure to go with the grain!

Pro tip: redo the paint job on a piece of furniture with chalk paint! The matte finish will add an even more old-school feel.

On stained furniture, it’s best to remove the stain entirely, and then proceed to sand down the raw wood to give it some scars.


To make your furniture really look like it’s seen the test of time, you can create chips and other marks by beating it with a chain.

That sounds violent, and perhaps it is a little bit, but the way the wood turns out at the end is so authentic!

Pro tip: This is a fantastic technique for floors.


Patina is the blueish-greenish tarnish that forms on copper and brass over time. It’s why the Statue of Liberty looks green, instead of its original copper.


You can use basic household ingredients to create patina (or “patinate”.)

You’ll need:

  • hydrogen peroxide
  • white vinegar
  • any kind of salt
  • container
  • cloth for drying
  • gloves (optional)
  • the metal or hardware you want to alter

First, clean and dry the metal.

Next, soak the metal in vinegar. You’ve got a couple options. (1) soak in an equal parts vinegar and salt solution. (2) soak in 4-to-1-to-1/2 mixture of vinegar-peroxide-salt (so 4 C vinegar, 1 C peroxide, 1/2 C salt).

Finally, allow it to air-dry. If you’d like to, you can seal with with a clear sealant, but it’s not recommended as it isn’t as natural of a look.


Your home is full of linens: curtains, pillows, crocheted blankets… the list goes on. Making those stark whites a little m ore subtle and cozy is simple to do and can be done with household ingredients.

You can use coffee and tea to add that warmth to textiles. Here’s a technique that works for tea or coffee:

  • Brew enough tea or coffee to submerge your textile. Make sure it’s strong!
  • Submerge the cloth into the liquid, making sure it’s completely submerged. Swirl it around a bit to make sure the entire piece is absorbing the coffee/tea.
  • Let it steep for an hour. Let it go overnight if you want!
  • Once it’s through soaking, remove it form the brew and soak in a cold water bath for 10 minutes. Add some vinegar to help set the color more.
  • Remove it from the bath and let it air dry.
  • And voila!

And now you can add vintage accents all over the home.

Photo: HotCocoaDesign

The best part of all of these tips is that these are only the beginning. The techniques and design ideas for vintage flare are endless.


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Molly McKenna

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