Blast From the Past

Vintage reproductions lend a sense of history to the home
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Vintage decorations add a touch of nostalgia to spaces. Photography by Kate Benjamin Photography

Whether you live on the water or are surrounded by land, unique pieces create a welcoming environment, especially those that offer a trip down memory lane. While authentic relics like antiques add character, quality imitations can be more affordable and easier to find. As many iconic replicas have begun to resurface, from record players to Polaroid cameras, the undeniable charm of the originals carries through to the newer designs.

Major retailers often carry these familiar gems, including Urban Outfitters, Kirkland’s and Pottery Barn Teen where you can see an assortment of alluring remakes from days gone by. The nostalgic selection includes throwbacks such as beanbag chairs, vintage posters and prints, and other retroinspired finds with a sense of innocence.

“With vintage reproductions, there is more availability. You can filter through a large selection and land on what you think is appropriate.”
TERRY ELLIS

Functional varieties can encourage a slower pace and some quiet reflection, like listening to vinyl records that were all the rage before iTunes came along, or sitting in a wicker egg chair to peruse the pages of a paperback instead of a tablet. Others evoke a particular setting like those that take on a maritime tone in the form of nautical telescopes, lanterns and maps.

Looking Back

For a client in Shelby Township, Terry Ellis, interior designer and owner of Room Service Interior Design in Troy, selected a variety of convincing vintage reproductions like sepia-tone photos that feature a transportation theme. “They have a little bit of warmth and more nostalgia,” said Ellis, who staggered the images to fill a wall horizontally.

A retrostyled bedroom creates its own unique ambiance. Photography by Kate Benjamin Photography

The handsome arrangement includes a bridge, a boat and a plane that take on a slightly more masculine tone for the homeowner who was a bachelor at the time. “I put a theme together and the sepia tone really warms the space,” said Ellis. “With vintage reproductions, there is more availability. You can filter through a large selection and land on what you think is appropriate.”

Surrounding your replicas with more valuable elements can elevate them even more. “People perceive them to be high quality when there are other high-quality pieces in the room, when they might just be posters and prints,” she said.

Industrial elements and sepia photographs add nostalgia. Photography courtesy Kirkland’s

Other notable knockoffs appear in the son’s bedroom, like a fun chair with a mid-century feel that provides a nifty place to sit. Vintage-inspired components also include the sign letters on the wall that spell RELAX. The accent pillows on the bed with a geometric print have a bit of a retro vibe as well.

Some reproductions have an industrial feel like the lighting on the lower level that was inspired by earlier styles. Vintage fixtures like these reminiscent of old factory varieties support the trend for functional re-creations like the Edison bulbs that are still going strong.

Copies of old advertising signage create a fun focal point on the lower level that serves as a multifunctional space. “They have a road trip feel and hanging them collage-style gets a lot of attention,” Ellis said. A series of vintage hangers displayed on the same wall are authentic, showing an effortless blend between real pieces and remakes.

Nostalgic accents also can reinforce the designation of the space like the vintage movie posters that decorate the lower level entertaining area. Still, as Ellis demonstrates, you don’t need much to punctuate a space. “You can overdo it. You want to make one statement,” she said.

An old style phonogarph can be used for decoration. Photography courtesy Pottery Barn Teen

For a future project, Ellis has a set of vintage reproduction posters depicting national parks from the WPA era. Whatever pieces from the past speak to you, the benefits of these classic replicas are many. “They add warmth and character and sometimes whimsy,” she said. ≈


Jeanine Matlow is a Detroit-based writer and BLUE’s Home Décor columnist.

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