Decorating With Architectural Salvage

There is a big trend in decorating right now to make things look old and distressed. To get this look a little easier, why not collect some vintage architecture to incorporate into your design. Decorating with architectural salvage is a great way to add character and vintage charm into your home. Whether you are remodeling an old home or you just want to incorporate some vintage architecture into your design style, collecting architectural salvage can be easier than you think.

Where To Find Architectural Salvage

decorating with architectural salvage

SOURCE: Architectural Artifacts

There are stores popping up all over offering architectural artifacts.  I have been to one in Toledo, OH a couple of times that is simply called Architectural Artifacts. They have a huge inventory on two floors. I have picked up pillars, old hardware and windows from this store. There is basically everything you need to start decorating with architectural salvage.

decorating with architectural salvage

SOURCE: Materials Unlimited

There is another one I really  like in Ypsilanti, MI called Materials Unlimited.  This one is extremely organized and clean and actually has their material set up by room of a house making it easier to shop and design one particular room. Not only can you find salvaged materials but there are also items that have already been repurposed.

Now, before you go shopping, you probably would like some inspiration for how to use some of this salvaged architecture!  Besides just replacing doors, knobs or fireplace surrounds to bring an old home back to its original glory, there are fun ways to simply add the salvaged material for unique decorating.

How To Use Architectural Salvage In Decorating

Incorporate Vintage Corbels In Your Design

decorating with architectural salvage - vintage corbels

SOURCE: Pretty Handy Girl

There are about as many designs and there are uses for rustic vintage corbels. They can be found in a variety of sizes, colors and designs. Corbels are fantastic for anchoring shelves, countertops and mantels. If you don’t want to use them structurally, they can also be used as bookends or as part of a vignette.

decorating with architectural salvage

Make Use Of Old Doors When Decorating With Architectural Salvage

Vintage doors are great as a replacement to modern doors. Or, instead of replacing a door, just use pieces of salvaged architecture in your own door design. You don’t have to use an old door as a door though. The doors can be used to make furniture as well.

decorating with architectural salvage- vintage doors

SOURCE: Down To Earth Style

Replacing a modern door with a vintage one gives so much character to a home. The sheer behind the door softens the look and adds some chic. Other ideas for glass pane doors are to paint the glass with chalkboard paint or frost the doors.

decorating with architectural salvage - sliding vintage door

Instead of hanging a barn style door, consider using a vintage door to create an interesting sliding door.


SOURCE: Young House Love

These doors cover a washer and dryer and were made to look old with a paint technique and some architectural salvage.  The iron grates, handles and ornate corner pieces are all antique pieces that were added to give the doors character.  This shows how you can incorporate some of those interesting smaller pieces into your decorating.

Find A Place For An Interesting Window

decorating with architectural salvage - vintage windows

Write on the glass with a chalkboard marker to personalize a window. You could also paint the panes of windows with chalkboard paint for a decorative chalkboard. There are so many ways to decorate with windows. Just like doors, windows can also be made into furniture pieces. Add legs and use one for a tabletop. Salvaged fence posts or small pillars might make good table legs.

decorating with architectural salvage - salvaged windows

Don’t Forget About The Shutters

Old shutters are wonderful to use in decorating. They make such a nice backdrop to a vignette. And, not surprising, you can also use shutters to build unique furniture or shelving.

decorating with architectural salvage - vintage shutters

SOURCE: Beach Comber 26

Not only do these shutters make a fun backdrop to the desk but they also add function. The shutters make a great clipboard. Just attach small clothespins to the louvers.

decorating with architectural salvage - vintage shutters

Sometimes a set of old shutters fit perfectly inside an interior window for a fun window covering.

decorating with architectural salvage - vintage shutters

Add shutters wherever you need more height. Shutters work well on furniture, mantels and even the floor.

Think Outside The Box When Decorating With Architectural Salvage

Decorating with architectural salvage may require a bit more of an imagination in some cases. The following ideas are unique and stylish.

Old Fencing

decorating with architectural salvage - old fencing


Sections of fencing are another popular item to find at architectural salvage shops.  Here is a creative way to use it both for function and decoratively.

 Salvaged Door Plates

architectural salvage - vintage door plates

SOURCE: Salvaged Grace

Maybe you don’t have any doors that need salvaged door plates on them but you just love the look.  Well, here is a creative way to use them.  Just attach them to a lamp that needs some interest and you have a new and unique piece.

Other Architecture To Use In Decorating

  • Mantels – Old mantels make great shelves or can even be us in place of a modern mantel.
  • Pillars – Tall pillars work well as plant stands. They could also be used to support a small table or desk.
  • Old Light Fixtures – You can reuse an old light fixture by adding new wiring. However, there are also plenty of ideas on how to repurpose light fixtures for other uses in your home.
  • Vintage Hooks and Hardware – Add some vintage styling to furniture by replacing the knobs with salvaged ones that add character.
  • Salvaged Screens – You may be surprised at what you can make with an old screen! Jewelry holders or a laundry hamper are just a couple of ideas.

Have you done any decorating with architectural salvage in your home?  If so, what types of items have you used?

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Creating rustic styling on a budget by giving new life to old things and using the beauty that is already found in nature. Read more about me.
  1. I just LOVE your site! In this particular posting, the shutters are the ones that catch my eye the most. Maybe it’s a flashback to childhood as my mother used shutters on her windows even in the 60’s.

    1. I have a hard time passing up any shutters when I see them. There is just something about them that feels warm and fuzzy!

  2. I love the look of shutters inside. Now, have to convince my hubby that it should be done? Good ideas, thank you.

    1. Thank you and good luck convincing hubby!

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