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Vintage Art Prints – What to Look For and How to Hang Them

Vintage Art Prints

Are you looking for a way to add some personality to your home, but without spending a fortune? Tastefully chosen vintage art prints are a great way to do just that.

Falling between original art and antique art, vintage art prints can really express your personality, whist being easy to frame, beautiful to look at and easy to move around the home when you feel like a change.

Les Trois Beautes de Mnasidika, 1922. Art deco art print by George Barbier.
Les Trois Beautes de Mnasidika, 1922. Art deco art print by George Barbier.

Needless to say, these prints can be found in a wide range of styles and sizes, so there’s sure to be something that fits your taste. Plus, they’re relatively affordable, so you can fill up your walls without breaking the bank. Ready to get started? Here are a few tips for finding the perfect vintage art print for your home.

What are vintage art prints and where to find them

The word vintage isn’t an industry term with a specific meaning, but we can agree that it generally means something that’s at least two decades old, but newer than antique, so probably not much older than 120 years old. 

So, within that range at the time of writing, we’re in the time zone between about 1880 and 2000. Roughly!

Within this time period fall millions of photos and artworks that express something about the time and place they were created.

Vintage means now, then

One defining factor is that vintage imagery usually depicts what was cutting-edge at the time of production, instead of what was nostalgic, historical, backward-looking or “traditional” at that time. It’s that avant-garde up-to-the-minute feeling that gives vintage an excitement and energy that still shines through today. Vintage really means what was new and contemporary and exciting then.

Because these images are available as art prints, they can be rendered in very high resolution on good quality paper. Combine the print with a high-quality frame and (most importantly) high quality glass, and you have a piece of wall art that will be a conversation starter and a real asset to your interior.

Vintage art prints are becoming increasingly popular among collectors and interior decorators, adding a touch of nostalgia to any home. They are reproductions of old artwork such as paintings, photographs or etchings, printed onto paper or canvas.


Although vintage prints can depict any subject, particularly popular subjects include advertisements (especially film and fashion ads), cars, sports, music, celebrities, and often street photography.

Vintage can mean rural but just as often means urban. Vintage lovers often use place as their subject of choice, seeking out photos, prints or advertisements that are related to the town, city or country they live in. Sometimes even old street signs can be found! 

The other side of the local vintage coin is travel. Posters and advertisements depicting travel to exotic locations for holidays is a forever popular subject for vintage prints. Think: where was your best holiday ever? There’s bound to a classic print showing that country or city available. 

Erotic art
Erotic art is timelessly popular

Types of print

Vintage art prints can be images that are in the public domain – these are images that are out-of-copyright either because they are old enough or because they have been donated to the public domain by the copyright holder. 

They can also be of copyrighted artworks which the printer has a licence to reproduce for you. It’s always worth checking that your print is sufficiently licenced for reproduction. Never take images from the Internet and send them to the printers without first establishing whether you have a right to do so.

Where to find

Today, these pieces can be found for sale at local vintage and antique markets or online second-hand shops and stores. High-end galleries also now have a huge range of vintage-style prints and host online auctions for rare pieces, with prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of pounds depending on their condition and demand.

While finding a genuine vintage print may take some time and research, it is often worth the effort as these one-of-a-kind pieces can truly become family heirlooms that endure for generations. Know that when properly cared for, prints can continue to offer beauty and enjoyment for years to come. If you’re looking to add some timeless classiness to your home décor, consider investing in one of these timeless gems! 

How to incorporate vintage art prints into your home décor

Decorating with vintage art prints can be an exciting way to add a unique style to your home.

Choose pieces that complement the look and feel of your home — muted tones for a neutral palette, vibrant colours for a bold statement — and you’ll quickly end up with inspiring artwork that makes your house come alive. It’s also important to think about placement; the right picture in the right spot can drastically change how it looks and feels. Wall-mounted art prints don’t just need to hang on walls – you could use shelves or ledges to create interesting gallery displays or vignettes. The same goes for framed pictures — adding them in unexpected places near windowsills, above doorways, on doors, in unexpected rooms such as the toilet, creates an interesting narrative between pictures and objects.

Large, floor level images also make an impactful statement, so couple prints with vintage furniture and other smaller knickknacks for a balanced display.

No matter how you decide to incorporate vintage art prints into your home décor, each piece is guaranteed to make your space uniquely yours!

Framed vintage photograph hung with collection of vintage and antique plates
Framed vintage photograph hung with collection of vintage and antique plates

Tips for choosing the right vintage art print for your home

Finding the right artwork for your space can feel like a daunting task – especially when it comes to vintage art prints. 

With so many unique styles, designers, and eras to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. Before you begin browsing for your perfect print, consider some of these tips that will help guide you along the way. First, choose a style that speaks to you – think about how the color scheme complements your home and the atmosphere it creates.

Know what size frame you need – larger frames are typically more expensive.

It’s always a good idea to do a little bit of research into the artist or designer behind the print – discover their process and philosophy may give insight into why this piece of art should mean something special to you.

For example, the famous botanical artist Ernst Haeckl produced some of the most popular drawings of beautiful natural botanicals and sea-creatures, which still sell like crazy today. But you might not like Haeckl’s social Darwinistic views that were co-opted by the Nazi party.

If buying second-hand, look out for condition and quality issues – make sure there is no fading or water damage in order to guarantee that your vintage art print is something that will look perfect in a contemporary home, and not fade further or begin to look shabby.

With these tips in mind, picking the perfect vintage art print for your home can be an enjoyable journey full of surprises. Enjoy the ride!

How to frame and display your vintage art print

If you have a print that looks like it deserves to be hanging on the wall, then congratulations – you have a great piece of décor in the making.

The first step in displaying it is to choose the perfect frame. Depending on the look you’re going for, this can range from a traditional wooden frame’s timeless elegance to something more modern and playful.

Once you’ve made your choice and had the frame attached, you can move onto hanging your artwork up on the wall.

Make sure there’s enough breathable space around it – don’t be tempted to crowd too many pieces together into one area. When deciding where to place your vintage art print, consider its size relative to furniture in the room, as well as how much natural or artificial light it will be receiving during different times of day.

Sizing and positioning are key elements when displaying artwork properly: play around until you find what works best for yours. And voila! You’re now ready to admire your masterpiece of framed vintage art all year round – enjoy!

Ideas for using vintage art prints in other creative ways

Vintage art prints can be so much more than just a piece of wall decor! With a little bit of creativity, you can repurpose them into unique and stunning home accents.

Try framing your prints as a tabletop centrepiece and tucking in some fresh flowers or potted plants to make an eye-catching display. If you’re feeling crafty, transfer your print onto wood blocks to create one-of-a-kind coasters – or better yet, make a set of fabric napkins featuring the image of your favorite print. You could even cut out individual pieces to fashion punches, decals or custom wrapping paper for special gifts. Vintage art prints are surprisingly versatile – no matter how you choose to use them, there’s sure to be some aesthetic delight in store!

Vintage art prints are a popular way to add character and personality to your home décor. They can be found in a variety of styles and colours, so there is sure to be one that matches your personal taste.

  • When choosing a vintage art print for your home, it’s important to consider the style of your space and what you want the print to accomplish. Are you looking for something that will make a bold statement or something more subtle?
  • Framing and displaying your vintage art print is an important part of bringing it together with the rest of your décor. There are many different ways to do this, so take some time to experiment until you find the look that you love.
  • Vintage art prints can also be used in other creative ways. For example, why not use them as part of a themed party or event? Or hang them in a child’s room for added interest and colour?
1940s History Home Kitchen Vintage wallpaper

1940s Kitchen Wallpaper

If you’re a fan of retro style, you’ll love the 1940s kitchen wallpaper patterns that are back in fashion. These colourful designs feature classic motifs like flowers and paisleys, and they add a touch of nostalgia to any room. You can use them to create an accent wall or to dress up a plain backsplash. So if you’re looking for a way to add some vintage flair to your kitchen, check out these stylish wallpaper designs.

In the 40s, Britain underwent total transformation. Every single person was affected by World War II, and almost everybody played an active role. You’ll know about the Land Girls for example, pioneering women who were posted to work on the land to make sure food did not need to be imported, and the UK was self-sufficient.  
Land girls colour photo

Whilst society underwent transformation so did gender roles, with 36% of women in work – many of whom were enlisted into factory and agricultural jobs. 

Not a time to be thinking much about decorating the kitchen wall, you might think. But what never ceases to amaze about WW2 is that folks somehow managed to stay cheerful – and this was reflected in their choices for interiors. 

By the end of the war, austerity was the order of the day and styles were muted. The mood was subdued but resolute. “Make do and mend” was the motto. 

With Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters crooning from the radio, women kept the nation’s spirits up with wholesome, unfussy food and built their families with love and great care, savouring each day as it came, whilst saving every penny and making everthing count. “We Can Do It”, said the poster, and it was right. 

We Can Do It poster
We Can Do It, said Rosie the Riveter – and she was right.

The 1940s kitchen colour palette is one of mint greens, creams and blacks, plain wooden furniture and scrubbed tiles.

Everything needed to be fresh and clean, if not antiseptic.

Kitchens needed to be practical and were used for many purposes, from cooking to washing, ironing, eating and as a central point for the family to gather. 

Fridges were in, but electrical gadgets such as microwaves and air fryers were still a long way off. 

Vintage sugarbowl

This sugar bowl sums up the 40s palette. Greens, dark browns and creams were the palette of the decade. 

The 1940s kitchen colour palette: cream backgrounds, botanical greens, rich reds, browns and duns. 

1940s kitchen

Most kitchens were not wallpapered, but simply painted in single tones or tiled. Partly because kitchens back then were generally steamier places than they are today. There were fewer extractor fans and kettles, boiling vegetables (not microwaved), washing and ironing all produced steam in vast quantities that would run down the wall and condense on cold windows. 

Folks would even boil their knickers on the hob when a washing machine wasn’t available. (“Granny, why are you cooking your pants?”)

But when they were papered, patterns with muted colours were favoured. Small patterns such as botanicals would be favoured over garish patterns. Fruit and flower motifs were especially popular, but in subdued tones and styles. This was a time of humility, not self-indulgence.

1940s wallpaper
Small patterns in minty greens were in, in the 1940s
Vintage 1940s kitchen wallpaper

To get the 1940s look you’ll want to focus on simple practicality and good quality. This was not a throwaway decade and money was tight. Reflect this with high-quality kitchen goods and wallpapers that will last a long time. 

Vintage kitchen wallpaper 1940s

If you’re looking to add some retro flair to your kitchen, consider choosing a 1940s kitchen wallpaper style. This type of wallpaper can be found in a variety of styles and designs, so you’re sure to find something that fits your taste. Plus, it’s a great way to add some unique style to your space.

1950s kitchen

By the end of the decade, the nation’s mood was lifting a little bit. Although rationing did not fully end until 1954, but the 50s it was clear that the UK’s economy was on the up, and wages rose, men went back to work, and new houses were built in bombed-out cities. 

This was reflected in our interiors, with brighter colours coming in and new gadgets cropping up. So if your thing is late 1940s, you’ll want to include some eye-popping colours here and there, whilst retaining the basic sturdy and clean look and feel.

In summary:

  • The 1940s were a time of transformation in Britain. 
  • Gender roles changed during this time, with more women working outside the home.
  • The mood was subdued but resolute, and the motto was “make do and mend.”
  • The kitchen colour palette of the 1940s consisted of mint greens, creams, and blacks.
  • Kitchens were used for many purposes beyond cooking, such as washing and ironing clothes.
  • By the end of the decade, the nation’s mood was lifting a bit as rationing came to an end and wages rose.
  • For wallpaper styles go for small, detailed florals and botanicals with washed out and muted colours such as browns and greens.
1960s Toys

Thunderbirds Lady Penelope’s FAB 1 Car

Do you remember Thunderbirds? If so you might have had one of these very cool pink FAB1 cars from Dinky Toys. It was the must-have toy of Christmas 1966.

It was a beautiful shade of shocking salmony pinky/purple.

It had a rocket launcher at the front, activated by pressing down on the front of the car as well as harpoons firing from the back.

These beauties fetch around £150 in good condition today.

It featured both Lady Penelope and her taciturn driver Parker.
1970s Magazines

First Ever Issue of Jackie Magazine

First even edition of Jackie magazine

First ever issue of Jackie magazine: “Free Twin Heart Ring”, “Perfume Tips for a More Kissable You”, “Dreamy Picture Love Stories”, “Colour Pictures of Outfits to Make You Pretty in the Rain’n’Snow” and CLIFF!

1950s 1960s Clothes Vintage Women's Clothes

Vintage Clothes

Vintage clothes – adventures in imagination

Wearing vintage is grown-up dressing up. It links us to our childhoods. Remember those halycon girlhood days, in and out of the dressing up box, matching shoes (far too big), with scarves, scarves with gloves, gloves with hats? Trying out different make-up styles from the teeny magazines?

Wearing vintage conjures up the same kind of excitement. It’s about trying on another life, for size. Fancy feeling as sexy as 50s pin-up girl? Or want to find out what the Land Girl from the Second World War might have felt like? With vintage, we can inhabit a different life for a day, then move onto another one. Be a film star today, and a factory girl tomorrow.

The clothesmaker’s art

One of the unexpected joys of vintage clothes is in the practical skills of repairs and alterations. Most of us are part of a generation where skills such as seamstressing and sewing were not handed down from our mothers and grandmothers. And probably weren’t taught at school. So, many women today are going out to the high street, or going online, to learn these incredibly useful and absorbing skills.

Knowing how to take in, let out, repair zips and buttons and even patch, are skills that a new generation of stylish women is keen to learn. Learning the art of altering and repairing vintage clothes is about much more than retro-fashion. There’s a practical element to it – these days few of us can afford to throw out great clothes. There’s even (dare I suggest?) a spiritual dimension – learning the basic skills of dressmaking link us to previous generations like no history book ever could. These are creative and absorbing skills, requiring patience, attention to detail and perseverance. The opposite of our day-to-day experience.

Women who wear vintage

Women who love vintage are people with imagination. They won’t succumb to the latest high-street trends. They value great design, excellence in manufacture, and longevity. They aren’t interested in our wasteful culture based on discarding our wardrobes once a year.

Women who love vintage don’t need catwalk-model figures and looks either. They look amazing because their clothes have a unique style, tailor-made for the individual woman. They know how to make the best of their figures – their busts, waists and legs, no matter what the size. They attract admiring looks on the high street because their style says something about them beyond where they choose to shop.

What kind of vintage clothes shopper are you?

Maybe, like me, when you visit a new town the first thing you do is find out where all the charity shops are. Maybe you are a specialist vintage shopaholic, seeking out the best vintage shops in the big cities of Britain. Maybe you’re a charity-shop devotee, hungry for the latest stock. Maybe you’re an online browser, continually searching for that elusive bargain.

I won’t deny that vintage clothes shopping takes time. The best things in life are not free, and when it comes to vintage, clothes might be very cheap in money-terms, but may take a substantial slice of time to find.

A shopping trip that ends empty-handed is disheartening but sometimes it’s the right thing. Women who love vintage won’t spend their money on useless clothes that they’ll never wear. They are not the creators of wardrobes full of unworn brand new clothes. On the contrary, they are the women who recycle the unwanted wardrobes of lesser (although maybe richer) women. Whom do we admire more?

Successfully buying and wearing vintage clothes means becoming something of a connoisseur. After a few missteps, on entering a shop, or visiting a vintage website, you’ll become alert to the key bargains to be had. You’ll understand the different fabrics, you’ll recognise the top designer labels. You’ll be knowledgeable about the clothes-making process. Modern clothes made in sweatshop factories far away will seem like an anathema to you. It all takes time, but the rewards are great.

Vintage clothes-shopping is an act of the imagination. A dream, fulfilled. A life beyond the workaday mundane. Vintage makes a statement about the kind of person you are and the kind of world you would like to live in – a world that is at once stylish, individual and at the same time cares about the past and cares about the future. Dressing-up was never so much fun.

Style is all about finding something new and fresh to wear. Styles quickly go out of fashion but as soon as you know it, they’re back in again – fashion, like life, goes in circles. But invariable, “new” high street styles are actually vintage looks given a modern twist. Take the polka dot dress. First emerged in the 50s, reinvented in the 60s. Part of Top Shop’s latest range today. All the latest designers are continually plagiarising fashion’s back-catalogue for ideas to contemporise. They find the best cuts, the best materials – they cherry-pick what worked from the decades of amazing styles.

Top Shop polka dot dress from their latest range
Top Shop polka dot dress from their latest range


1940s factory girl
1940s factory girl
Classic white sunglasses and bobbed hair
Classic white sunglasses and bobbed hair
Rediscovering dressmaking skills
Rediscovering dressmaking skills



Evacuee Suitcases – Why We Love Them

A past worth respecting

The evacuee suitcase is a reminder of a time in our history when thousands of British children experienced travel, adventure, discovery and growing up. For many kids their case was their only possession apart from the clothes they stood up in. Their life’s most treasured items – clothes, a book or two, some family photos and keepsakes, were packed into the case, and sent with them off an adventure far away from home.

Makes of evacuee suitcase

  • Papworth
  • Rodney
  • Pioneer

From 1939 as many as 3.5 million people were evacuated to the rural “reception” areas of Britain, and some went abroad as far as Canada and Australia, risking extreme danger on their sea journey. For all children it was a bewildering time, full of concern and homesickness, but tinged with some excitement too.

Unforgettable times

Many older people remember their evacuee years as a joyful time. My mother-in-law was evacuated to South Wales, and spent four happy years on a farm being well looked-after, playing in green fields, and discovering how farms and country life worked. She learnt how to milk cows, harvest apples and collect eggs. Unlikely skills for a London schoolgirl!

For many children evacuation was a time of enforced “growing up” and toughening up. Sometimes the new outsiders were bullied at their new schools, placed with families they hated, and generally made to feel unwelcome and burdensome.

Along with the gasmask and identity label, the evacauee suitcase is perhaps the most striking and evocative emblem of those times. It can provide a link to a past we shouldn’t forget. Carrying an evacuee suitcase as you go about your daily business is a kind of dressing-up game, with a slightly serious side. But aside from that, they are super-cool and really incredibly useful and desirable.

Styles and types

Your typical evacuee case is a simple brown leather case of plain, durable and rugged construction. It will have reinforced corner pieces and locking catches. If you buy one make sure the key hasn’t been lost!

Almost invariably the condition bears witness to their interesting history. They tend to be scuffed and marked, with a patina from years of usage or storage. Makes them all the more beautiful and desirable.

The inside is often paper or cardboard-lined and they don’t tend to have masses of compartments for pens and pencils and notebooks like today’s briefcases. If your case happens to have its owner label still intact or a name written inside, treat this as a bonus.

Don’t limit your imagination to using a vintage suitcase as a suitcase! They are frequently used for “shabby chic” storage of linen, sheets or clothes. They can also be upcycled in imaginative ways. Why not install a shelf, and make your suitcase into a bathroom cabinet? Or maybe a fold-down desk, when attached to a wall. They make amazing treasure chests – storage for toys and games. How about using your vintage suitcase to store postcards and birthday cards – or maybe even love letters?

These suitcases are valued today for lots of good reasons. Evacuee suitcases sell from £20 to £100 (average price about £40), depending on quality and condition.

Why we love them

The most obvious use is as a briefcase – perfect for carting about all your office papers and general work stuff. Needless to say they also make superb travel cases. They’re easy to stow in train and aeroplane stowage holders. They look fantastic on train platforms and ship gangways. They generally have comfortable leather handles. Corners are well armoured with tough leather or metal protectors.

Don’t limit your imagination to using a vintage suitcase as a suitcase! They are frequently used for “shabby chic” storage of linen, sheets or clothes. They can also be upcycled in imaginative ways. Why not install a shelf, and make your suitcase into a bathroom cabinet? Or maybe a fold-down desk, when attached to a wall. They make amazing treasure chests – storage for toys and games. How about using your vintage suitcase to store postcards and birthday cards – or maybe even love letters?

These suitcases are valued today for lots of good reasons. Evacuee suitcases sell from £20 to £100 (average price about £40), depending on quality and condition.

1940s 1960s 1970s Home Kitchen

Vintage Kitchenware

Classic simplicity

In the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s is that practicality was the aim of the game; it wasn’t about fancy gadgets that would be used once or twice. In the post-war era, kitchenware was built to last, not be used for a year or two and replaced. Some of those designs were so good they became style icons in their own right.

How many people have been into Grandma’s and found a 1950’s Swan colander? Beats your vulgar plastic version purchased from the local supermarket hands down, right?? And the plastic version probably only has a year or so left on its shelf life, whilst Grandma’s is hitting the mid-sixties age range.

In the grand scheme of good vintage brands, Swan is right up there for quality and reliability, and they produced everything from jelly moulds, jam pans, aluminium kettles, enamel pans and teapot sets amongst other things. Swan is possibly the Daddy of vintage kitchenalia and went on to be some of the first manufacturers to produce the toaster and a kettle containing an element as well as develop the world famous ‘Teasmade’ alongside co-subsidiary, Goblin.

The 1950s kitchen

  • The style: open-plan, fitted kitchens.
  • Brighter colours, greater convenience and great utility were the hallmarks of the 50s kitchen. Rounded “bubble” corners on shelving and doors.
  • The palette: bright pastel greens, blues and oranges.
  • New materials: linoleum, PVC and Formica began trending.
  • Influences: American diners, pop culture
  • The look: chequerboard lino flooring. Open plan. Chrome and plastic stacking chairs. Polka dot curtains.

Another key appliance of vintage kitchenalia that is conjured up in the mind’s eye is the big electric mixer, usually produced by Kenwood and absolutely screams 50’s housewife. The majority of these appliances left on the market are still in good working order, look great and are a hell of a lot cheaper than their modern counterparts.

A set of Salter scales is another great idea for a kitchen going for a throwback look. Known for their accuracy, these scales often sell for more than a brand new set from a department store, but their look and resilience to last through the decades makes the benefits of owning a vintage set of Salter scales far outweigh the pros for buying a new set, pardon the pun …

To demonstrate the style of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, Sadler is a brand to certainly look into. Their teapots, creamers, storage jars and sugar basins amongst other things certainly span the decades. Whether it be the somewhat brash colourings of the 60’s, the fun look of the 50’s or that smidge of chintz that the 40’s offered, a Sadler piece will be out there somewhere.

Unlike many moons ago, in this day and age, people can afford to spend money without worrying whether what they are buying has a practical implication, so opting to spend a few pounds on vintage tea tins such as Twinings, Tetley, Lyons and Typhoo is another option for a proper vintage look.

The key to combining vintage kitchenalia with a modern kitchen is playing around and choosing the right things, so that the overall look doesn’t become tacky or gimmicky but still manages to throw in some great nostalgia.

Alumnium Swan colander
Alumnium Swan colander
1950s kitchen
The 50s kitchen – bright colours, rounded corners, checkerboard flooring.
Vintage Salter scales
Vintage Salter scales

You can’t have missed the trend for injecting vintage chic with kitchenalia that throws back to the golden years of classic design. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so it’s well worth putting some thought into getting it just right. It’s easier than you might think. Any kitchen can be transformed using a few well-chosen vintage/retro objects. You don’t have to pay the earth – second-hand or refurbished items are just as good as brand new. It’s all about what you choose.

What To Look For In Vintage Kitchenware