14 Unexpected Vintage Art and Retro Painting Decor Ideas

Transform bare walls with the help of pretty posters, world maps, botanical prints, and more using these clever ideas to display vintage wall art in every room.

Whether purchased from antique shops, found at flea markets or pulled from the attic, vintage art makes a timeless addition to your wall decor. Ornately framed portraits, landscape paintings, and vintage posters or prints introduce a sense of history and provide an opportunity to showcase your unique personality. Many antique works can be purchased ready to hang, but there are also plenty of creative ways to transform flea market finds into art. To create your own charming display, use these vintage art and retro painting ideas for decorating your home.

bedroom with teal walls botanical gallery wall
David A. Land

1. Botanical Vintage Art

Curate an assortment of botanical-themed vintage art for a gallery wall inspired by Mother Nature. Start by gathering prints and paintings of flowers, leaves, and other natural elements at flea markets or antique stores. Supplement the display by framing real pressed flowers and dried leaves. Arrange your vintage art above the headboard in your bedroom or a living room sofa.

Kitchen with white tile wall and wooden shelving
Stacy Zarin Goldberg Photography LLC

2. Vintage Art in the Kitchen

Vintage art makes ideal wall decor for farmhouse-style kitchens. This antique portrait stands out in sharp contrast against sleek subway tile walls. A burnished metal frame ties in with the rustic style of bracketed wood shelves and butcher-block countertops. To safely hang art on tile, use self-adhesive picture hanging strips ($8, Target) for damage-free decorating.

stacked style display open shelves
Werner Straube

3. Open Shelving Art Display

Showcase dishware by hanging small paintings behind stacks of bowls and plates on open kitchen shelves. To draw extra attention, choose vintage pictures and art that will pop against your existing kitchen color scheme. Floral prints in mismatched frames add texture and character to this white kitchen.

staiway gallery nature pictures
Werner Straube

4. Stairway Vintage Art Gallery

Eclectic nature artwork becomes a gallery wall, a unique retro painting idea for lining the staircase wall. Mismatched frames keep the look rustic, but the similar paint-by-number style keeps things compatible. Specific themes, including horses and water scenes, also recur throughout the arrangement for a consistent look.

color coded antique wall art
Adam Albright

5. Color-Blocked Vintage Art

Thrifted prints gain new life with a fresh coat of paint. Use painters tape to protect portions of the picture and frame, then spray with your favorite spray-paint color. Play with different angles and colors, then group together for an eye-catching vintage art collection.

large poster city names
Laura Moss

6. Large-Scale Vintage Print

Enormous artwork can be challenging to display without overpowering a space. This larger-than-life poster is undoubtedly the room's focal point, but an acrylic console table and entryway accessories help break up its dominance. A pair of sconces add symmetry.

antique illustration prints hanging grid
Edmund Barr

7. Grid Art Display

Gallery walls can end up looking cluttered or disarrayed, but this four-by-four grid of same-size prints garners major style points. For this look, a little math goes a long way. Use a measuring tape to find the center of the wall, then begin hanging art at equidistant points.

floral botanical prints on clips
Kathryn Gamble-Lozier

8. Floral Vintage Art

Turn a flea-market find into stunning wall art with this clever DIY project. Tear out pages from an old book, then print floral images onto the pages. Sew the pages to a frayed linen mat for a textured background. Hang your vintage art in a row with simple clips.

black and white photos ledges
David A. Land

9. Vintage Photo Prints

Large black-and-white fashion photos give a glam touch to any space. An asymmetrical arrangement on picture ledges against a dark-colored wall makes the images pop. Accessorize the prints with hits of color through throw pillows, table lamps, or other artwork.

vintage art prints stairway
Edmund Barr

10. Colorful Vintage Posters

Framed vintage posters haphazardly hung along this staircase add color and personality to an otherwise neutral room. Choose art with a common theme to pull the arrangement together, like the U.S. Armed Forces recruitment pieces featured here. The repeating motif will connect the works, even if the color palettes differ.

seventies-style print orange couch
Jay Wilde

11. '70s-Style Vintage Art

Bring decade-inspired artwork into a modern home for stylish contrast. This room's graphic burnt orange artwork and shag rug pay homage to the '70s. A sleek leather couch and coat of white paint bring the space into the contemporary age.

large map over mantel
Jeff Herr

12. Framed Map Art

A large map propped on a mantel adds subtle color to this white room. Add a personal touch to a vintage world map by highlighting a specific country, state, or county. The piece will serve as both decor and a memento of previous travels.

rustic window frame botanical prints inside
Laurie Black

13. Rustic Vintage Art

Think beyond traditional frames to display art in unexpected ways. Here, a salvaged window frame showcases simple botanical prints that could have easily been ripped from a vintage gardening book. Enhancing the look, flea market accessories, including a typewriter, analog clock, and tarnished lamp, take the charming living room corner back in time.

vintage landscapes over fireplace
Erik Johnson

14. Nature-Inspired Vintage Art

These vintage landscape paintings above an old fireplace complement the room's patinaed appearance. Modern dining chairs in splashy colors juxtapose the rest of the room's vintage style. Fresh florals bridge the gap between artwork and decor.

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