25 Stylish Ways to Bring Vintage Flair to Your Outdoor Living Space
Boho-Style Porch Accessories
Boho style and vintage finds often go hand-in-hand. Blend this eclectic style into your outdoor space by searching for vintage decor with unique woven details and antique furnishings in rich colors and finishes. For an unexpected twist, incorporate interesting elements usually reserved for the indoors, such as an ornate folding screen and delicate macrame hangings, into your outdoor decorating.
Retro Outdoor Seating
Painted metal lawn chairs (just like Grandma and Granddad's outdoor seating) remain sentimental favorites that blast us back to simpler times. Find original vintage versions at sales, antique shops, and Internet auction sites; reproduction options are seasonally available at home centers and discount stores. Complete the retro look with an antique iron table and a freestanding umbrella.
Vintage Porch Furniture
Relegate antique furnishings that are too worn for interior use to the porch. For pieces that are especially dated-looking, consider reupholstering the fabric with waterproof outdoor fabric or repainting the base to give it a fresh look. Arrange furniture to best suit conversation, then complete the vintage-style space with an indoor-outdoor rug and a coffee table to hold drinks.
Architectural Salvage Room
No outdoor living space? You can construct an open-air entertaining and relaxation station from architectural salvage. Build a framework that will support a tin or fabric ceiling, as well as walls crafted from old shutters, doors, and windows. Cushion the nest by hanging drapery panels, throwing down vibrant area rugs, and fashioning a pillow-plumped daybed from a twin-size mattress set atop upside-down clay pots.
Outdoor Bar Cart
Use a vintage cart to create a mobile drink station you can wheel out to your porch or patio. If you have an older piece that's showing its age, a new coat of paint can quickly refresh the finish. Stock the cart with glassware, straws, and your favorite beverage fixings. A wire basket on a lower shelf helps corral loose items.
Decorating with Vintage Finds
Think of ways to move your favorite finds to center stage. Modernize vintage metal chairs with a vivid paint color that shows up against verdant backdrops and mimics a painted detail on your home. Pair the pieces with vintage red wagons playfully packed with an array of potted plants.
Mix of Vintage and New
Make sure outdoor spaces furnished with flea-market finds stay in tune with their surroundings. Opt for an organic palette, worn wood finishes, and metal accents that gain interesting patinas with age. This textural grouping of old, new, and handcrafted furnishings takes its color cues from the stone fireplace and its moss-stained mantel, where vintage lanterns and flowerpots contribute sculptural silhouettes and worn patinas to the nature-inspired mix.
Vintage Sign Display
Consider this clever idea the outdoor version of a gallery wall. Express your personality by outfitting an outbuilding or porch wall with meaningful signage. On this structure, vintage advertising signs, outdated license plates, and road signs combine to fashion a eye-catching exhibit that reflects the homeowners' travels and interests.
Pick Things with Patina
Touched-by-time finishes, whether on farm tables, stepladders, birdhouses, or garden gear, are essential components of flea market style. These aged patinas (often caused by exposure to wind, rain, and sun) work well in outdoor spaces. Use stepladders as trellises, exhibit old birdhouses as lawn art, or employ vintage vessels as charming planters.
Designate Outdoor Rooms
Put up walls crafted of lattice, fabric, or iron to define an outdoor room. Walls create a sense of enclosure, and, most importantly for the collector, provide backgrounds for displaying cool things. This tented gazebo showcases an arrangement of vintage wicker, captivating fabrics, and accessories such as a tree-trunk table and the framed painting over the wicker love seat.
Carry Inside Comforts Out
Think of your porch as an outdoor great-room that can accommodate sitting, dining, and display. Hang vintage mirrors to reflect the landscape; lay area rugs for underfoot warmth; and repurpose flea market tables, shelves, and chairs to handle your storage and display needs. Showcase canning jars, antique pottery, and pretty fabrics to give shabby furniture finishes a lift.
Vintage Coastal Decor
Give your porch a beachy vibe by arranging tag-sale wicker refreshed with white paint alongside old and new pieces in a palette of tropical sea, sky, and citrus shades. Hang wall decor that ties into your coastal theme. Energize the view with colorful sea-critter figures and nubby striped textiles.
Outdoor Dining Area
Alfresco dining offers pleasures aplenty, including exposure to fresh breezes, starlit skies, and passing-through wildlife. But fresh-air eats ascend to celebratory status when served on finely dressed tables. Kraft paper, newspaper place mats, black-and-white dishes, and shiny cans filled with blooms formalize an ordinary picnic table, which is lit by a candelabra crafted from a garage-sale tray.
Refresh Vintage Outdoor Furniture
Even the most battered and diversely styled curbside finds take on a more refined, coordinated look when updated with paint. When you want extra-special results, grab a can of metallic silver, gold, bronze, or copper spray paint to give end tables, chair frames, bookcases, and table bases an unexpected glow. Before you spray, be sure to clean, sand, and prime to-be-painted surfaces to ensure successful outcomes.
Salvaged Outdoor Seating
Outfit porches and patios with seating that's guaranteed to kick-start conversations. Invite folks to stay awhile by hanging an old-fashioned swing made cushy with an antique quilt and colorful pillows. Place salvaged theater or stadium seats where they can be appreciated by passersby and used as front-row seats for watching neighborhood doings.
Modern and Retro Outdoor Furniture
Antique doesn't have to look old-fashioned. Use unexpected paint colors to give flea market wicker chairs, rattan settees, and metal lawn chairs a more contemporary feel. Layer in modern furnishings, geometric area rugs, and a mix of retro and refined fabrics to fashion an eclectic outdoor rooms that pays tribute to the past while accommodating present-day needs and flea market finds.
Global-Inspired Outdoor Design
Transport your outdoor living spaces to far-off lands using an array of globally influenced treasures. Look for furniture, fabrics, and accessories that sport Asian profiles, Mideastern motifs, French panache, or Tuscan character. Anchor conversation groupings with a painted trunk that evokes images of sea travel. Arrange tropical foliage in oversize vintage urns to reference exotic ports of call.
DIY Pallet Planter
Repurpose inexpensive materials into eye-catching displays for your favorite plants. For this project, all you need is a wood pallet, landscape fabric, and a few DIY skills. Learn how to turn a castoff pallet into a work of outdoor art using these how-to tips.
Vintage Metal Accents
Consider the style you wish to achieve and search out metal accents that complement that specific look. Here, black-iron lanterns and a wall-mounted iron grid partner with Mediterranean-style copper chairs to create a Spanish attitude, which suits this outdoor nook's rustic beams and tile floors. If you prefer something more modern, seek out mid-century modern accessories rendered in chrome, stainless steel, and aluminum.
Outdoor Rope Hammock
Maximize a pergola's purpose by making it a base for leisurely hangs. Cap the structure with lattice panels to create a shade-providing framework that you can use to support an old-fashioned rope hammock. Decorate the relaxation station with hanging planters, dangling copper stars, antique lanterns, or a collection of prismatic crystals.
Alfresco Bathing Station
Fashion a spa-like sanctuary in a private corner abutting your home. Have a plumber install pipes that to carry water through a showerhead and a vintage faucet that can be used to fill a footed tub. Underscore the space's pampering purpose by adding an antique garden chair, a shelf to hold toiletries and candles, and a repurposed bookcase equipped with iron baskets to corral plush bath towels.
Look to your stash of vintage fabric remnants, collection of pretty printed hankies, or bolts of outdoor textiles with period-apt patterns to establish a color scheme in your outdoor room. You can use bark cloths, splashy oilcloths, and ticking fabrics to cover cushions, pillows, and tabletops. Display hand-painted trays and serving pieces boasting nostalgic motifs to round out your design.
Farmhouse-Style Outdoor Decor
Mount a thematic exhibit that rises from foundation plantings to create interest alongside your home, garage, or shed. Group like-minded treasures around a beat-up table that will look even finer with further weathering. This homeowner, who has a penchant for rural references, combines fowl figures and graphic signage to compose a farmhouse-style vignette.
Repurpose Printed Materials
When shopping flea markets, antiques shops, and tag sales, keep your eyes open for bags, crates, and containers bearing their original labels or printed graphics. Burlap sacks once used to hold coffee beans, animal feed, or seeds for planting make noteworthy chair covers. Boxes, including colorfully stickered fruit crates and ink-stamped wooden beer cases, can stylishly stack up as bases for patio tables, serving bars, and storage shelves.
Accentuate Every Corner
Arrange shapely antique urns and oversize pots as garden centerpieces and to mark entry points to pathways, sheds, and outdoor rooms. You can also give no-frills outbuildings an eye-pleasing presence by painting shutters, doors, and woodwork so they stand out from the building's siding. Adorn shed walls with whimsical plaques, birdfeeders, and planting boxes spilling over with vines and colorful blossoms.