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How to Decorate on the Cheap with Vintage Ads

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


retro style home decor with vintage advertisements, old ironing board, 1950s pink barware and vintage deer figurine


Vintage advertisements often include gorgeous artwork. Some are funny or reflect the state of society during that era. They're colorful, unique and really should be displayed! I always buy old magazines when I find them, not only for the reading and inspiration but for decorating.

 Some of my local antique malls sell vintage ad pages for a buck or two per page so I can stock up on a bunch of colorful pieces for less than the cost of a burger and fries. A single magazine or catalog is loaded with beautiful pages so if you can score one online or out shopping, you can decorate the whole house!
This 1940's lingerie ad is my absolute favorite. She adds some color to the bathroom. 

vintage 1940s suspants girdle ad hanging in a vintage bathroom with vintage kitty planter, owl perfume bottle and cold cream

 Trim the ads or if they are already small, lay them out on a background of pretty vintage wallpaper, wrapping paper or scrapbook paper.

vintage I dreamed I was wanted in my maidenform bra ad hanging in vintage bathroom with lucite sea horse wall hanging

 I use garage sale or dollar store frames throughout my house. You can also find really cheap frames at thrift stores. If you don't like the color, a coat or two of spray paint does the trick!

ith bras, girdles and stockings for girls on the homefront in world war II

 Make collages in a single frame or group similar ads together on a wall. Line the kitchen with funny food and drink ads and deck the bathroom with cosmetics and lingerie pages. I hang a few of my favorite makeup and fashion ads in the bedroom for inspiration while I'm getting ready for the day.

1940's green giant war era ad via Va Voom Vintage

vintage ads hanging in a retro kitchen

 Vintage ads bring color and kitsch to a room and those who visit your home will enjoy your gallery of life in the past.

Other Ideas for Vintage Ads

 Mod Podge them to a jewelry or hat box, wooden bangle bracelets, table tops, etc.

Scan them and print on iron-on transfers for tee shirts and tote bags.

Make greeting cards for birthday, baby and wedding showers and holidays

*if an ad is really special, make a color copy so you can save the original for framing*


13 Responses to “How to Decorate on the Cheap with Vintage Ads”

  1. You've gathered and displayed some absolutely beautiful vintage ads. Inspiring indeed - now I just need to find a seller with bundles of ads for such a song, too!

    ♥ Jessica

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  2. I like those ads a lot! How neat! I, too, collect vintage ads and frame them! I have them all over my house! I especially love Maidenform, Revlon, Max Factor, and vintage car advertisements! I have a 1942, intact copy of Ladies Home Companion (which is chock-full of ads) but I do not have the heart to take my exacto knife to it! I think maybe I should in order to properly display and enjoy the illustrations! This post is giving me some fabulous inspiration!

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  3. I also love ads but I'm always reluctant to cut pages in a vintage magazines.... I one day discuss with a seller at flea market who was selling vintage ads for 5 euros per page and I discover that he distroyed french VOGUE from the 50's because he thought that he would earn more money with just a few ads... so destroying a rare and beautiful magazine for just a few ads, I cannot agree... perhaps doing some color copies is something I can do or use magazines in really poor condition.

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  4. I adore vintage ads! They instantly add memories to a room. I have a thing for Hawaii, so I have vintage travel ads for there, all over my kitchen. Thank you for sharing with us!
    ~xoxo, CoriLynn

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  5. Yep! Got one in my craft room. A soda ad with girls quilting. Can't remember off hand if it is Coke or Pepsi.

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  6. Now I know what I will do with the old magazines I have that are falling apart. Thanx for the inspiration!!

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  7. I love the Maidenform bra one! This is a great idea that I hadn't thought of before, they do make really interesting pictures for the walls - thanks for sharing.

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  8. Very good idea, I have several vintage magazines but I feel pitty to tear a sheet of them.

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  9. I love this! My favorite are the Pyrex and Green Giant in the kitchen above your fab Art Deco table!

    Alexa

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  10. I especially love the Green Giant ad for its subscript talking about the bounty of our country during war. Just a slice of what life was like!

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  11. Very charming. I recommend making copies so you don't ruin the vintage magazines.

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  12. These are great ideas; (almost) one of a kind artwork!

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  13. This is too cute. I just love home decorating.

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