Chapter 1 – Entrance
Obviously the entrance to your home is the first thing anyone sees, so there’s no reason why you can’t make an instant impact. Whether your home has a porch or you just go straight into the hallway, you can make the most of your home’s entrance way. From adding a lick of paint to your front door, to making sure the lighting in your hallway is just right, we’ll help you inject some chic, vintage style into an often forgotten part of the home.
1.1 – Front Door
Greet your guests in style by sprucing up your front door with some of our vintage styling tips. It can be as simple as hanging a decorative wreath or you can go all out and go salvage hunting for the perfect front door!
The door itself
If this is a possibility, sourcing an old style or actual vintage door is a superb way to start your journey into vintage chic. Visiting vintage fairs is a great first port of call, here you can find a plethora of furniture items, clothes, decorative accessories and even old fairground ride memorabilia! So even if you don’t find the door of your dreams, you’re sure to unearth some other treasures.
Look for doors with panelling or intricate carving. You will instantly create a vintage look if you choose a door with some sort of detailing.
Great colours to create a vintage vibe are shades of cream, soft grey and of course duck egg blue. We love Farrow and Ball colours, and if you approach your local paint shop, they will be able to mix you the perfect shade, so there’s no need to splash out on expensive paints!
Prepare your door by sanding it down; making the surface more paint friendly will avoid peeling (painting on top of gloss doesn’t get a clean finish). Apply two coats to get the best results; two coats of paint on an average door will need about 1.6 litres of paint, however, always check the coverage on the side of the tin before buying.
Including a bespoke designed piece or even an existing piece of stained glass can add even more vintage-vibe to the entrance to your home. Many towns have local glass-works, so just pop in for a visit to discuss your design or a window they already have. As this is a bespoke artisan craft, prices will vary dependent on the complexity.
If you’re lucky enough to already have decorative glass in your door, then just make sure you keep it nice and clean to make the most of this amazing design feature. White vinegar and water with a soft cloth or even newspaper will make your window shine in no time!
Extras – (Plants, Brass Numbers/Knockers & Fairy-lights)
Outside of the hotel entrance, we have varied plants and some fabulous topiary bushes which really create a welcoming look, perfect for a hotel and for a home. To make the topiary and trees even more of a feature, we give them life at night! By simply adding fairy-lights to the entranceway, you too can make sure your entrance looks welcoming all day, every day!
If you imagine a door leading to a fabulous vintage home; can you picture a big number and maybe even an elaborate brass knocker? We love the way this looks and sourcing brass features for your door is really easy and can be quite cheap if you’re willing to clean up an old piece. It sounds crazy, but you can use regular ketchup to clean up brass! Alternatively you can use lemon, baking soda and a soft cloth. Depending upon how much elbow grease you use, you can achieve a really bright finish, if that is the look you’re after.
If you can find a decorative letterbox too, then your door will be fit for royalty!
Wreaths can really increase the vintage feel as there are so many options to choose from. Florals are obviously a great choice and dusky shades of pink, blue and cream are perfect. You could keep it seasonal and have pretty meadow flowers for Spring, sunflowers in Summer, stunning coloured leaves in Autumn and pine cones, holly and berries for Winter. We definitely recommend having a go at making them yourself, as it can be so much fun, as well as cheaper than buying one!
Other ideas may be better suited to indoors, which is perfect if you live in a block of flats or you have an internal front door in your porch. Distressed musical paper or pages from old books can be fashioned into roses or scrolls and glued onto a Styrofoam ring. For a more intricate look, lace and old brooches can be used to create a visually stunning wreath. Try making your own wreath to really add some finesse to your front door. You can find some amazing inspiration on sites such as Pinterest, and many of these pins have links to tutorials. Here’s a great tutorial from The Magic Brush Inc. to create a paper wreath, with added glitter!
1.2 – Porch
If you are lucky enough to have a porch, big or small, you can bring a hint of vintage charm as well as intrigue, to your porch. The porch is technically the first room in your home, or second if you count the front garden (which we do!), so it’s a great idea to think about how you can style it.
In the hotel, we have the fabulous original tiles on the porch floor, which were simply cleaned up. But do not fret if your home did not come with it’s own feature flooring; there are plenty of alternatives. Finding tiles in reclamation yards or vintage fairs is a great alternative and you can even get replica vintage tiles specially made.
Old or reclaimed tiles can often need a bit of attention involving a fair amount of elbow grease and effort, but the results will be totally worth it when you see the reaction you get from your guests. Following these 3 steps will ensure you get the best from your tiled floor:
Deep clean the tiles with acid/alkali cleaner, making sure to scrub them with a decent scrubbing brush and then rinse them off with lots of water. Then allow the tiles to dry for several days, keeping them covered with dust-sheets.
Seal the tiles to keep them looking great. You MUST remove excess sealant remaining on the surface of the tiles after the specified time; otherwise it goes sticky and attracts dirt! We don’t want all that elbow grease to go to waste now do we?
Apply a polish to your tiles. The amount of polish you use will result in different levels of sheen, depending on how sparkling you want your floor to be.
Although tiles are the best for a hard-wearing, easy-clean, outside-to-inside transition, there are other options for a statement floor. Linoleum or vinyl flooring can be purchased in a whole manner of different styles and colour ways. Again, lino and vinyl are easy to clean and if good quality, can last for years! Sourcing from local flooring shops can be the best option as you may be able to get a good deal on ‘end of line’ ranges.
Repurposing and upcycling are the buzzwords of the moment and we think that the porch is the perfect place to add a bit of fun to your home. Turn any object or piece of furniture lying around your house into a quirky feature piece for your entranceway, to store coats and everyday items.
Ensure the first thing guests see on entering your home is filled with personality, your personality. We love old metal buckets as umbrella stands and vintage suitcases or ladders as shoe storage. All of which can be painted or covered to match your colour scheme!
If you have a high enough ceiling, adding a chandelier to your porch adds instant vintage chic and glamour. If space is limited and you still love the idea of a chandelier, try finding some crystal wall sconces. They are just as beautiful but take up way less space when you are limited by size. Look in your local antiques shop and if you can get to a vintage fair then definitely do, as you’ll be spoilt for choice!
1.3 – Hallway
If you don’t have a porch, the hallway will be the first impression of the interior of your home. Make sure the oohs and aahs of your guests don’t stop after the front door by making a feature out of your hallway. Use soft colours or quirky flooring and enhance the light, airy feeling to make the space appear larger. The key to making a space feel larger than it is, is to not over-clutter, keep things simple (but that doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on beauty!)
Continuing the flooring from the porch can marry up the two spaces and really create a statement. However, simple flooring in a hallway, such as wood-look laminate, or, if your floorboards are in good nick, can be the perfect option. Painting the floor a lovely soft colour can be a great way to add a vintage chic vibe to a room, letting the details come from the dressing of the room. Floorboards may need sanding before painting, so it is best to decide on your flooring choice before starting other decorating. You never know, you may like the look of your floor as is after a quick clean!
If you’re worried about the warmth in an uncarpeted room, then opt for a rug or a really simple carpet in a soft colour. The lighter the carpet though, the more adamant you’ll have to be that people remove their shoes at the door!
Runner carpets are great if you have a narrow space, and circular rugs work really well in quite an open space. If plain and simple isn’t your thing, you can afford to have a bit of pattern in your chosen rug.
Mirrors are a great way to create the illusion of space, in The Rosebery, we have lots of mirrors bouncing light around, making areas feel more spacious.
If you have a long, narrow hallway, using a large mirror will create the illusion of more space and also help with lighting as hallways often don’t have any windows. Shop around for mirrors and even empty frames. Your local glazier will be able to make a new piece of glass to fit your chosen frame perfectly!
We love large gilt mirrors and fabulous Venetian glass framed mirrors, shopping at fairs and car boot sales will mean you can haggle your way to a price that suits you.
Give your guests something to look at by hanging multiple mirrors on the wall leading upstairs. Choose a variation of shapes and sizes to add a bit of quirk to your vintage chic interiors!
If you have the space, a console table can be a great way to bring some character to your hallway. These fabulous half-styled tables are a great place for any knick-knacks you want to display or even just as a place to put your keys down as you come in. Adding a bit of interest to a space will distract from the size, which is perfect for narrow hallways.
Even the simplest of stairways can become a perfectly pretty, vintage chic passageway. As we mentioned, using an array of different mirrors will not only look great, but it will bring light to your stairway during the day. Another great idea for the wall, is to add half height panelling in a light colour.
Now, there are so many ways to make a feature out of your staircase, starting with the actual steps. A really great way to liven up the stairs is to paste wallpaper on the vertical part of the step, and either leave the wooden tread or paint it, maybe colour picking from the wallpaper.
Creating a feminine vintage look? Floral paper in subdued, pastel hues will look stunning. If you’re after something that’s a bit friendlier to both feminine and masculine, paint the vertical a slightly darker hue than the tread (or vice-versa).
If you have an old house with a fabulous original stairway and a banister, you are already one step (excuse the pun!) closer to the vintage dream. Having intricate or carved balustrades really enhances a staircase and adds detail without any sort of clutter. Having bespoke spindles made by a carpenter or blacksmith can be a little on the pricey side, so salvage hunting is definitely a great idea.
In the hotel we have been lucky enough to salvage some stunning railings from a building which was being demolished. To get them looking smart, we had them sand blasted and powder coated at a local industrial painters. If there are any demolition works in your area it’s definitely worth contacting the right people to see if you can get a bargain. Sourcing railings which have been outdoors, does mean there is a bit of work involved in getting them spruced up for use in your home, but if you’re willing to spend the time on it, you will reap the rewards. Just keep picturing the finished result and you will stay motivated!
We love chandeliers and there are so many different levels of opulence, depending on your tastes, you can go crystal crazy on an eight armed chandelier, or just have a decorative brass 3 armed chandelier. To us at The Rosebery, the bigger the better!!!
So, add this to your checklist when you head to the vintage fair, as you will spot loads of gorgeous lighting. Another thing you’ll get from here are chandelier crystals and if you are buying a few, you can usually barter a better price (but without being offensive to the dealer). Local antique shops will probably have some options, but most of the time the price will be a bit higher than at a trade fair.