How to Put a Modern Spin on Vintage Finds
Using Spraypaint, Rope, and More!

Putting a modern twist on something old has become a very popular trend these days. “Upcycled” vintage finds grace the pages of Pinterest over and over again. Here is how to put a modern spin on vintage finds such as mirrors, accent furniture, and home décor.

What does “vintage” mean anyway? Arguably, “vintage” is anything 50 years or older, while “antique” is anything that is 100 years or older. Besides purchasing items through online resources like eBay or Etsy, you can hunt for old treasures to upcycle at yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores, or flea markets. The key to a good piece is looking at the shape and design, as well as the sturdiness, of the piece. Pay little attention to color and pattern, because that can always be changed. With some cleanup, repair, and paint, what would otherwise trash can be transformed into a treasure that fits your home décor style today.

Mirrors are very easy to find and one of the simplest things to make over, even for a beginning DIY’er. When looking for a mirror, consider these questions: What is the size and shape of your space? Will it fit? Is the condition good? As long as the mirror is not broken, most frames can be repaired. Next, check the back of the mirror. Can the mirror be easily removed? If not, can the glass be easily protected with newspaper and painter’s tape?

Once these questions are answered, it is time to upcycle and modernize it. The easiest way to do that is with a fresh coat of paint. First, sand any scratches and areas with chipped paint. Remove dust and debris with a clean cloth. If the frame is broken, you can use glue and body filler to fill in holes or blemishes. Use a clamp to hold the frame together until the filler hardens. Sand it until it is smooth. Next, remove the mirror or completely cover it with newspaper and painter’s tape to protect it from paint. Prime the frame first or choose a spray paint that combines paint and primer. Two or three light coats will do. Allow the paint to dry for fifteen minutes in between coats.

Repair a Broken Mirror Frame - How to Put a Modern Spin on Vintage Finds

Small accent furniture like dressers and side tables are also great options for transformation. There are several things to consider before purchasing other than size and shape. First, make sure there are no odors. Open the drawers and take a sniff. If the odor is too harsh or musty, move on to the next piece. Some odors are very difficult to eliminate. Second, make sure it can easily be cleaned up. Lastly, check to see if it can be easily disassembled and reassembled or repaired if needed.

To neutralize odors in old furniture, sprinkle baking soda to help absorb any smell. It also helps to air out the piece outside in the sun, if possible. Allow the baking soda to sit for several hours and then vacuum. To clean, use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and wipe it down.

Tips For Cleaning Vintage Furniture - How to Put a Modern Spin on Vintage Finds

The DIY world is known for taking a thrift store find and breathing new life into it with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware. Update accent furniture pieces by painting them with spray paint and replacing the pulls or handles. As with mirrors, sand down any blemishes and scratches. Choose a modern paint color like gray, or any color to match your decor. Primer is necessary if there are several nicks and scratches and/or you are changing the color from dark to light. Measure the existing hardware holes to make sure you buy the correct size handles. Often, vintage pieces can have differently sized handles than the average 3” or 4” handles of today. If this is the case, fill the old holes with putty and sand before you paint. Measure and drill in the new holes for the new hardware. Small accent tables can be spray-painted, while larger items like dressers and side tables can be painted with a paint roller and brush.

With a little creativity, updating vintage home décor and room accents like vases, candleholders, and lamps have limitless transformation possibilities. Floor lamps and table lamps can be changed by painting the base and replacing or covering the lampshade. Sew two vintage handkerchiefs together to make a one-of-a-kind throw pillow for your bedroom or living room.

DIY Wooden Rope Bowl - How to Put a Modern Spin on Vintage Finds

Old wooden bowls can be wrapped in rope to completely change their look. To make this, you will need a bowl, rope, scissors, and a hot glue gun. Start from the bottom up. Begin by gluing the rope as you wind the rope around the bowl. Continue to wrap and glue until you reach the desired height. Cut the rope with scissors and glue the end down to prevent fraying. Fill the bowl with decorative filler. You can change the filler according to the season, like plastic eggs in spring or ornament balls in the winter. The same technique can be used to upcycle glass vases as well.

Some old finds do not necessarily need any DIY at all – just a little imagination. Instead, they can be repurposed into something useful. Vases can be used as succulent garden holders. Vintage milk glasses are a great option for this. Small rugs and other textiles can be turned into instant artwork and make beautiful wall hangings. Place a vintage rug in a modern kitchen mixed with white subway tile and rustic wood finishes.

As you can see, with a good eye and a little DIY, vintage can become modern in just a few easy steps. The hardest part is choosing the right piece. At the same time, the hunt can be one of the most exciting parts. So arm yourself with these tips, create a new piece for your home, and become a part of this fun ongoing trend.

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