So, your room is “missing that special something?” I hear this term a lot, but what does that mean? The best way I can put words to this concept is that when you walk in to a room there should be an emotion; a positive feeling that rushes over you and makes you feel welcome. A room should have the power to draw you inside to curl up on the chair, pull up a barstool, or cozy up in the bed. There are several items that can add to this warm and fuzzy feeling—a rug, window treatments, a new light fixture, a change in paint color—but if you can check all of these off the list and you still feel like your space is missing character, I’ll add one more item to your checklist: Something old, with a history and a past that brings your room to life.

I can spend hours walking around a flea market looking at old painted pieces of furniture, antiques, or salvaged architectural elements and thinking of ways to reuse them in a creative, beautiful way. Adding something with history to a room will enhance the feeling of the space. It brings in the uniqueness and character without demanding attention. The best part about that piece (whether it is furniture or simply an architectural feature on a wall) is that when it is noticed, suddenly the room comes to life! I’ve found several innovative ways to place flea market finds, antique furniture, and architectural pieces. Take a look:


- Old chandelier: I had a friend who wanted to throw this beauty away! It was in her home, dating back to 1930, and the beautiful green tint caught my eye.

- Salvaged door: I selected this piece because of the light color and the dark wood that showed through the paint. The dark wood hints bring more depth to the dining table without overpowering the wall. There is no crown molding in this room so the dental molding on the top of this piece adds character and detail to this large wall.

Dining room with vintage chandelier and architectural feature on wall


- Architectural wall feature (above the mirror): an old tin from the ceiling of a home or building.

- Salvaged antique washboards (hung on either side of mirror): The mirror looked lonely on that wall by itself. It needed "that special something." I love how these pieces have a story and used to be used to wash clothes!

- Old ladder: I love using ladders to hang blankets. Another way to use them is in a bathroom to hang towels.

- Antique iron candlesticks: These candlesticks are from my grandfather's British antique collection. I wanted to incorporate them in to this photograph so you can see how even an accessory can add to a room.

Buffet with architectural features


- Salvaged door shutters (on other side off the bench): I found these at a flea market in North Carolina. Their height adds to this wall and I love the way they flank the bench.

- Antique bench: This was must-have for the wall! Not only does this bench add uniqueness and character, it also adds form and function. Benches are also a great thing to add in an entryway.

Kitchen with antique and salvaged elements


- Antique Wood and Iron Sieve: Do you see that round architectural element on the right wall? Well this used to serve a function! It was a sieve. I am not sure exactly what for (perhaps dirt) but the wood is chippy and the iron covering with holes is beginning to turn. Primitive might actually be a better word to describe this gorgeous piece. When you stand in front of it, you can feel the history.

- Antique Clock Pendulum (hanging on the back will behind the lamp).

Breakfast room with antique sieve and clock pendulum

Other ideas include:

- Corbels used as bookends on a bookshelf

- Tobacco basket to dress a wall

- Antique wash stand severing as a side table

- Mirrors, frames, and more mirrors!

Take look at my portfolio for some more ideas. Have fun and get creative!