Let’s blast to the past because vintage is IN.
We’re not just talking about polka dot mod dresses from the 1960s (although those are obviously very cool).
We’re talking about vintage home decor.
Buying vintage clothing is one of the best ways to avoid fast fashion and the same goes for the many products we purchase for our kitchens, offices, living rooms, walls…
When you buy something from times gone by, it means that no new resources were mined, farmed, or processed (with chemicals) for that new vase on your kitchen table.
Pre-owned home decor pieces are also design-with-antiques-and-pre-owned-decor/” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener” class=”rank-math-link”>more durable and repairable—unlike many disposable decor items sold today.
One-of-a-kind vintage pieces are also leaps and bounds more fun for the house. Besides no one likes hosting a dinner party just to hear, “I bought that same throw pillow at Target last week!”
If you’re wondering where to buy vintage home decor, Etsy is the online platform. Selection aside, your sustainable vintage home decor is even greener because Etsy uses carbon-offsets to cover their shipping!
They were the first e-commerce company to do so.
Etsy hosts tons of different vintage home decor brands, but here we’re highlighting our faves. Skip on down to the end of the article to see how we possibly picked.
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- Rust Belt Threads
- A La Modern
- Simply Chi
- Microscope Telescope
- Hedgehog and Owl
- Roger Appleyard
The five-star rated (and woman-owned!) Etsy shop has had over 4,000 customers.
If you join this group of customers, you’ll be among the likes of the creators of the Mad Men TV series(!) to whom Rust Belt Threads has sold some mid-century barware.
The shop’s vintage home decor includes items like mugs, glasses, decanters, decorative items, blankets, bowls, pottery, and cookware.
Expect to find items ranging from the 1920s through the to 1980s.
Because the glassware is vintage, it’s not dishwasher safe. Wash with care by hand with a zero waste dish soap instead.
In the last decade, they’ve been loved by nearly 3,000 customers.
To bridge the gap between modern and vintage, A La Modern specializes in vintage houseware, items from Japan, Scandinavia, in America.
Most options range from the 1950s to the 1980s, although you’ll find some fringe items from different eras and countries.
Decorate your home with their impressive selection of ceramics and pottery, glassware, metalworks, artwork, sculptures, textiles, sustainable fabrics, books, decorative LPs, ephemeral pieces, electronics, and lighting.
Expect to find a variety of materials used like ceramic, glass, clay, wood, metal, aluminum, plastic resin, canvas, and fabrics like cotton and linen.
A La Modern prioritizes mid-century and vintage modern items, but they also sell antiques and non-vintage goodies.
Shop owners Bryan and Linda act as the curators of all their products, most of which are found locally. If you’re in the Southern California area, they might even want to purchase something you have.
Chi is unsurprisingly the owner and consultant behind the brand, Simply Chi.
She and her shop have had nearly 11,000 customers, many of whom have left raving 5-star reviews.
We happen to think Simply Chi is one of the top online vintage home decor stores, and we’re not alone.
This Etsy shop has been featured in Flea Market Decor Magazine, Design Sponge, Antique Archaeology, Martha Stewart Living Magazine, and Own It Network.
Simply Chi prioritizes eclectic items from the 1980s and 1990s, most of which have an earthy, organic, boho feel.
You’ll find hundreds of ever-rotating rustic vintage home decor in all kinds of categories: lighting, furniture, kitchen and barware items, wall art, office items, baskets, planters, toys, and general home decor and trinkets.
So many materials!
Metals (silver, bronze, gold), wood (organic wood, bamboo, rattan), ceramic, glass, porcelain, stoneware, and more. There’s truly a little bit of upcycled everything in this range.
Chi grew up with a family of farmers in Arcata, California which is “basically the biggest hippieville ever” (her words, not ours!). Her background contributes to her taste in organic, rustic, and simple products, but as a self-proclaimed girly-girl, she also likes a little bit of glam.
She sources pretty much everything herself, no doubt using tried and tested thrift shopping tips.
She’s accompanied on her thrifting adventures by her youngest son Charlie, the most adorable Etsy shop assistant you will ever see.
Here’s eco friendly vintage home decor with a little twist.
If you’re looking for something unique and long-since-forgotten by many (ahem, a 1960’s voltmeter or medicine bottles from the early 1900s), this is the upcycled vintage home decor for you.
Beyond some of the fun science products (books, maps, and lab equipment), there are plenty of items for those with a more sophisticated taste in decor.
Hence why you’ll find them in the Switched at Birth TV show, Architectural Digest, and the Kate Spade pop-up, to name just a few famous features.
Check out this Etsy shop for vintage brass, furniture, lighting, clocks, rugs, wall hangings, maps, globes, paintings, cameras, office items, baskets, and kitchen essentials.
Teak, ceramic, Danish wood, Moroccan wool, bohemian wicker, and cast iron—the materials in these upcycled vintage decor items are just as unique as the items themselves!
Most pieces are from thrift stores, estate sales, and surpluses and every item tells a unique story or has an interesting history regaled in the product descriptions.
Although Etsy uses carbon-neutral shipping, Seattleites can schedule a pick-up for even less of an impact.
Owners Bradley (the Owl) and Elizabeth (the Hedgehog) wanted to escape “cubicle land” and do what they love.
After scouring local thrift shops, estate sales, and flea markets, they decided to start the Etsy shop to share unique vintage treasures with everyone (AKA share what wouldn’t fit in their Californian bungalow).
Their selection of vintage and retro home decor includes kitchen and dining items, bar essentials, holiday decorations, accessories, office decor, and games and crafts.
If you’re looking to spice up your consciously curated home with some conversation starters, this shop is a good bet.
If you live in Southern California, you may be able to arrange for a pick-up to avoid shipping emissions altogether.
Have you ever had the thought, “You know what would look nice in my umbrella stand? A crocodile-headed cane!”
If so, Roger Appleyard is your guy (err, Etsy shop).
The shop is actually owned by Stella and managed by Simi, but that just didn’t have the same ring to it. This Atlanta, Georgia-based team travels far and wide to personally source unique vintage decor items.
For more than 40 years (before Etsy, believe it or not), Roger Appleyard has impressed customers with a unique selection of lamps, furniture, pots and vases, books, outdoor items, and general home decor.
They have truly one-of-a-kind vintage pieces for your bar, walls, kitchen table, or nearly any other place in the home.
Vintage home decor is better for our planet simply because it’s making use of things that already exist and might otherwise be thrown away.
While being vintage was obviously the #1 thing we looked for in compiling this list, we still donned our vintage cateye glasses and looked for some of our other sustainable fashion criteria:
As you will have seen with each brand, there are so many different materials contained in these vintage home decor pieces. Normally, we have to devour product descriptions and labels to figure out which materials get the green light and which ones should be avoided.
However, when we’re keeping something out of a landfill, the specific materials are much less of a worry.
Of course, we still prefer antique items made with natural materials like metal, ceramics, or wood.
Notice what isn’t on that list?
Prior to the middle of the 20th century, manmade materials weren’t brought into homes much. Vintage pieces are thus not only better from an environmental standpoint but tend to be more durable and last longer.
That’s why you can find things from nearly 100 years ago still for sale now.
Ask yourself: will the same be said in a hundred years of products made now?
Supply chain and labor practices:
A large portion of the people who make new products are generally involved in dangerous, exploitative, or unfair work conditions.
We know vintage home decor items don’t require new resources to make them, and they also don’t require any further factory work either.
When you’re purchasing a vintage piece, it’s typically just been discovered by a single or few people.
Green business practices:
Not only does Etsy offer shipping that doesn’t cost the planet, but overall, antique pieces generally tend to have less of a shipping impact than new, mass-produced items.
This is largely because the supply chain is massively shorter and, with Etsy, you’re able to shorten it even more by looking for domestic and local sellers.
Creating a sustainable home can be a task. But it can also be a lot of fun.
After you’ve filled your home with beautiful sustainable sofas, eco friendly rugs, and fair trade furniture, it’s time to add the finishing touches and bring it to life.
And all the better if you can do it with items that have a story to tell.
By supporting these brands we can fill our living areas with unique one-of-a-kind items that are far more special than anything we could find at a big box store.
Not only that, but opting for pre-loved and reclaimed is the way to go for our most important house guest: Mother Earth.
Now to you, all you HGTV-watching eco warriors out there. Feel free to share this list with anyone you know who needs to fill their home with a bit of personality (and history).