Vintage décor ideas for your holiday let

Vintage décor ideas for your holiday let

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Creating a vintage style for the interior of your holiday cottage can be an exciting and fun challenge. Eclectic treasures can add an air of nostalgia, warmth, comfort and humour which will make your property stand out from the rest.

So, where to start with vintage home design ideas? Try selecting your favourite style era and then you can enjoy researching the look you wish to create. Combining contemporary style with retro chic can create an original, fresh and inspiring décor at a fraction of the cost by using flea market finds, charity shops and online bargains.

Think of your antique home décor finds as the fashion of the era which can capture the atmosphere you wish to create. Finding an original key piece can be difficult, but copies of some design icons can be easier to source. Try to design your property around your own taste, favourite designer or collecting hobbies.

Look out for authentic accessories

Creating the atmosphere of a certain period needs the relevant decorative accessories and using framed black and white photographs can give a vintage vibe to any room. Or you could showcase your collection of glass or china, or whatever retro home decor takes your fancy.

The key to successful decorating in a vintage style is to create a look that seems to have evolved over the years and offers a relaxed, effortless environment that sits well with a contemporary lifestyle. Enjoy the treasure hunting – your guests are sure to appreciate it!

Find or revive era-appropriate furniture

Holiday cottages require practical, stylish furniture which may have to suffer a few knocks during the course of the season. Vintage decor embraces the idea of giving an old or unwanted piece of furniture a new lease of life - it can be revived simply by the art of painting and distressing it.

You just need a few basic materials, two shades of paint, sandpaper, brushes and paper towels, and a little patience to bring about a transformation, but beware, it can become addictive! You can then seal your handiwork with clear matt varnish or wax to help protect it. 

Vintage style is about making an item look older or more worn than it actually is, and making it look classic.

Choose the right interior style for your chosen era


The Victorian period was an eclectic mix of styles, with interiors filled with objects the owner had collected, and colour choices were placed beside or exactly opposite on the colour wheel. Wallpaper in the style of William Morris reflects the ‘Arts and Crafts' movement of this time.


A striking and bold colour palette of deep yellows, reds, greens, blues and pinks, paired with high-shine silver, chrome or black accents are the style during this Art Deco period. Use the glitz and glamour of The Great Gatsby as inspiration, featuring geometric patterns, round mirrors, exotic prints and jewel tones.


During this industrial era, metals, rustic woods, leather and stainless steel are offset by softer, neutral tones. Reclaimed materials and furnishings add character, along with exposed brick, concrete and repurposed machinery.


Less is more in this period of modernism. This style incorporates glass, steel and neutral tones, with the occasional pop of colour. Interiors are simple, stylish and clutter-free.


Scandinavian chic is born; a Nordic-rooted style that favours simplicity, complemented by pastel shades, muted textiles and light-toned woods to create an inviting and relaxed environment. An American diner look is also popular at this time in kitchens.


Vibrant accent colours, notably yellow, orange and acid green are a fit for this retro era. Combine with bold patterns, plastic or acrylic-based materials, statement walls and textured rugs.


A combination of soft textiles, wood, bright colours and earthy tones create the playful and exotic style of the bohemian period. Make use of upcycled furniture, bamboo, rattan and layered fabrics.


Sticking to a white or cream colour scheme will allow you to add touches of pale grey, lilac or duck egg that will create the relaxed shabby chic look that was coined in this era.

Top tip: Why not create a feature wall with retro wallpaper or bold paint for some real vintage home decor wow factor? Sourcing original wallpapers can be expensive and time-consuming, but many of the well-known wallpaper companies have original retro collections that can be the starting point for your styling ideas.

For more information on décor and colour schemes, take a look at our article 'Decorating your holiday home'. 

Tips and tricks for each room

Vintage living room décor

Antique typewriters, birdcages or cameras can be a talking point as part of your vintage living room accessories. Old leather suitcases can create interesting storage and an old trunk can serve as a coffee table.

Guests sometimes love the more imaginative look, so save money on buying pictures by framing old magazine covers, maps, sheet music or even old tins, vinyl records or spectacles.

Golden Cross FarmhouseGolden Cross Farmhouse, Cotswolds


Vintage kitchen décor  

When it comes to vintage kitchen décor, you can have great fun collecting old enamel bread bins, kitchen scales, tiered cake stands or wicker hampers to display your welcome pack with panache.

Display pretty mugs or a collection of jugs from butcher’s hooks on a rail, or pans from an old clothes airer hung from the ceiling.

Your collection of old china would look perfect on a Welsh dresser or displayed on kitchen shelves, and old binoculars in their leather cases can adorn living rooms with a sea view.

Vintage dining room décor

Invest in a staple gun so that you can cover old seat pads with pretty toile or chintz fabrics to give your dining chairs that vintage chic.

Try to create a focal point in the room such as an original drinks cabinet full of interesting cocktail glasses, but remember to try to keep it uncluttered or your cleaner will have a lot of dusting to do!

Vintage bedroom décor

Rummage around charity shops and boot fairs for old dressing tables that can be accessorised with glass perfume bottles and trinket boxes.

A decorative screen in a bedroom can also give a sense of 1920s elegance.

Vintage bathroom décor

Bathrooms look splendid with a selection of bevelled mirrors in different shapes and styles on the wall and a display of old glass bottles on a shelf. An old ladder can make a fantastic towel rail!

Nothing is quite as decadent as a freestanding roll-top bath if space allows, and a chandelier lends an air of elegance to your vintage bathroom décor.

Looking to start holiday letting?

We’re always on the search for new owners to let their properties, whatever the style and appeal.

With an exceptional team who are dedicated to showcasing your property to help maximise its true potential, you get a simple, stress-free and successful letting experience that delivers you a healthy return.

If you are considering letting your holiday home, then we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch and let us help you on your journey. Call 01237 459991 or send us a message. 

You can also download a free letting guide.

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