Vintage bookshelf decor ideas. Learn how to arrange and rearrange thrifted treasures and create beautifully textured vignettes.

Vintage Bookshelf Decor Ideas

Decorating a vintage bookshelf can infuse a space with character and charm. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Mix Old and New: Combine vintage books with modern decorative pieces like vases or sculptures to create visual interest and balance.
  • Arrange by Color: Organize books by color to create a visually appealing display. This can help tie together the vintage aesthetic with a modern twist. Or, should you like more of an eclectic look, organize books in different color schemes and sizes.
  • Incorporate Antique Items: Display vintage items such as globes, typewriters, or cameras alongside the books to enhance the nostalgic vibe.
  • Use Unique Bookends: Incorporate vintage or antique bookends to add style and keep your books upright. Look for ornate metal designs or vintage figurines for a whimsical touch.
  • Add Greenery: Place potted plants or fresh flowers on the shelves to bring life to the display and soften the vintage look.
  • Include Artwork: Lean vintage-style artwork or framed prints against the back of the shelves to add depth and visual interest.
  • Embrace Patina: Don’t shy away from worn or weathered items. Embrace the patina of vintage pieces to add authenticity and character to your bookshelf.
  • Layer Items: Arrange books both vertically and horizontally to create layers and add dimension to your display.
  • Utilize Unique Containers: Display books in vintage suitcases, crates, or baskets for a quirky and functional storage solution.
  • Personalize with Collectibles: Showcase your personal interests and hobbies by incorporating vintage collectibles or memorabilia onto the shelves.

The key to vintage bookshelf decor is to mix and match items in a way that reflects your personal style and creates a cohesive look that tells a story.

Vintage Bookshelf Decor Living Room

I am so grateful for the living room fireplace built-ins that we have here at our home in here in Vermont. As a decorator, they allow me the pallet to arrange and rearrange all the wonderful treasures I find thrifting. One of my goals for this winter’s vintage bookshelf decor was to add touches of soft blues to our living room bookshelves. I accomplished this with finds such as vintage bottles, pitchers, chamber pots, books, teacups, etc., that I found thrifting over the past year.

Vintage Shelf Decor

Join me as we design vintage bookshelf decor vignettes together that are sure to inspire you.

Old Paintbrushes

Here, I gathered a few old paintbrushes with some collected vintage blue books to create this textured vignette on the white shelving. Now, I found my old paintbrushes at a flea market, but I bet many of you have something like this accessible in your own garage or craft room.

Vintage Bookshelf Decor with old paintbrushes and blue books.

Abraham Lincoln Portrait

I found this Abraham Lincoln portrait while out antiquing last year.

A little history lesson: Robert Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood, became president of the Pullman Company, the largest manufacturing corporation at the turn of the 20th century. Robert and his wife, Mary, built a Georgian Revival mansion in 1905 in the scenic village of Manchester, Vermont, now called Hildene. It became home to only Lincoln descendants until 1975, longer than any other Lincoln residence.

I adore this so much because the LincoIn home, Hildene, is just down the road from us. I love adding local history like this to our home.

Vintage Bookshelf Decor- including Abraham Lincoln Portrait


A favorite of mine to collect is vintage blue bottles of all sizes. They go with everything and can add so much charm to any vintage bookshelf decor. Bottles don’t even need to be vintage; bottles of any kind lighten a space and add beauty to shelving decor.

Large Blue bottle with books on fireplace built-ins

Vintage Books

Decorating with vintage books is the best. This Decorating with Vintage Books: 20+ Ideas to Try post may inspire you more. You may also want to check out this post, Best Vintage Finds for Winter Collections.

Vintage Styled Winter Collections on Bookshelves

Vintage Bookshelf Decor Wall

I decorated the mantel between the bookshelves with a peace sign garland along with collected vintage shoe molds that I found thrifting.

You may also enjoy the post, How to Decorate Bookshelves for a Vintage Christmas.

On the other side of the mantel, a ski lift sign rests with faux greenery.

Ski Lift Sign on Mantel with Peace Garland

Blue and white porcelain pieces that I collected from Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, and one of my favorite antique shops, Stone House Antique Center here in Vermont.

Vintage bowling pins under a glass cloche, an old clock face, and a mirror that hangs between the shelving add depth and character. A jar filled with simple white buttons and an antique brass clock serve as bookends to a collection of old Hardy Boys books.

Can you find my decorating blunder here?

Vintage Bookshelf Decor- Thrifty Vignettes

A glass cloche covers eight vintage bowling game pins that I found thrifting on my way to Maine. Check out one of my readers’ favorite blog series, Thrifting with the Gals.

You may enjoy the Vintage Turkish Rugs: Elevate Your Living Room Design post to see more of the bowling pins, cloche, and other vintage decorating ideas.

Vintage Bookshelf Decor- Thrifty Vignettes

A simple stack of thrifted blue and white teacups, books, and old used paintbrushes in a glass pitcher to offset the bookshelf decorating.

Vintage Bookshelf Decor- Thrifty Vignettes with paintbrushes, tea cups, and books.

Vintage shelf decorating is a popular interior design trend that brings a touch of nostalgia and character to any space. It involves arranging and displaying a collection of vintage items on shelves, creating a curated and eclectic look. I hope you found loads of inspiration here. Here are a few more vintage bookshelf decor ideas you may enjoy, too.

A Vintage Affair

If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with your friends who are also vintage enthusiasts.

Do you have a flair for all things vintage, too? I would love to see and feature you in our Reader’s Showcase Series. A place for you to share and be recognized for your talents and passion for all things thrifting, vintage, and antique decor-related inspired by your time here with Dabbling & Decorating. Email me at

Pin This Image Below
Vintage Bookshelf Decor: Thrifty Vignettes
Ann signature black

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *