How to Decorate With Heirlooms


Whether you are in love with a vintage dresser from the local thrift store or your grandmother has passed down a shoebox filled with treasured family portraits, you can incorporate any heirloom into your home decor. Mixing generational items is simple and will bring a sense of history into the space. Combining older pieces with current furniture and accessories adds to the overall aesthetic of any room


  • Hand-me-down furniture, when used the right way, can enhance the design of any room. Spruce up furniture heirlooms and find a suitable area where they can be noticed and appreciated. With new hardware or a fresh paint job, for example, a tired piece can bring a lot of personality into a space. Do not, however, refinish an antique piece of furniture that has monetary value, because doing so may reduce its value. Spray paint the knobs of an old childhood dresser to blend it into your child's bedroom. Dust and polish grandpa's grandfather clock and display it in the dining room or living room.


  • When inheriting or stumbling upon accessories, one of the ways to decorate with them is with a display. Aunt Flo may have given you a box of milk glass vases or gold-plated picture frames. Mount a shelving unit or hang cube shelves to showcase the vases and frames. Place fresh or artificial flowers in the vases that echo colors from the decor. Have your family photos printed in full color and insert them into the frames. Group the accessories from the past with items of the present such as current sports awards or college diplomas. This will modernize the decor while also giving the heirlooms a place to shine in the spotlight.


  • Your father hands you a bag of model cars he played with as a child, or you see a dusty shelf at the local thrift store filled with beautifully colored hardcover books. Keepsakes that once were treasured items can be appreciated again within your home decor. Organize the books on a side table or on the bathroom vanity and place a bouquet of wildflowers on top. Polish dad's model cars and mount them in a protective shadowbox. Display the shadowbox in a family room or on a wall in the hallway.


  • Perhaps nothing is more precious than past images captured in a photograph that you can enjoy now. Preserve the memories by slipping the photographs into a cello sleeve with acid-free backing paper. Place the photographs into a deecorative box and place it on top of a buffet table or mantel. Arrange the photographs so that they peek out of the opening of the box. Family members and visitors will enjoy flipping through each photo as if the box were an album, revisiting moments and sharing stories.

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