What’s Old is New Again: Seven Creative Uses for Family Heirlooms

By: VGFS
Friday, December 17, 2021

Many of us have had to clear out a large family home and determine what to do with all the contents.

What should become of your uncle’s massive grandfather clock or your great grandmother’s wedding china? We often store these treasures away because we think they are too precious for everyday use or they don’t fit in with our existing décor.

In this article, we have compiled seven ingenious ways to keep (and use!) these beloved items without compromising your taste and style preferences.

Introduce old to new.

‘Modern vintage’ involves combining pieces from a bygone era into contemporary living spaces. The great news is that mixing vintage and modern is very on-trend these days. It’s all about finding the right balance when contrasting heirloom pieces with contemporary elements. For example, you might place your aunt’s sewing table in the hallway surrounded by contemporary art. The key is to bring the things you love into your living space and create interesting focal points along the way.

Cook up some creativity.

The kitchen is a room that’s ripe for the display of an eclectic collection of heirlooms. Place an old mixer atop a cabinet and adorn an empty wall shelf with vintage metal lunchboxes once used by your parents. Those beloved tea towels embroidered by your great aunt can become lovely cafe curtains simply by mounting them with curtain rod clips. Handwritten family recipes and favorite recipes from vintage cookbooks are easily transformed into charming framed artwork.

What makes you tick?

Grandad’s clock needn’t be relegated to storage when there are a number of ways to incorporate it into your modern decor. Place the clock at the end of a hallway or on the landing of a stairwell. The warmth of the wood against contemporary paint finishes can help to soften the sometimes harsh feel of a modern home.

Transform outdated jewelry into luxurious new wearables.

There are many ways to convert period pieces into attention-getting new baubles. ‘Conversion jewelry’ is a hot trend that involves fashioning jewelry from the past into a sleek modern interpretation that’s suited for the present. While it’s not as collectible as unaltered antique jewelry, creatively reimagined pieces can be a practical choice that offers more use. For example, a single earring can become a pendant, a brooch might become a ring, or a cuff bracelet could be transformed into several smaller items.

Add a contemporary new flair to old pieces.

You can revive a vintage chair by reupholstering it with more fashionable fabric. Be bold and modernize antique furnishings with something bright and unconventional. You can also give pieces a new paint job with a contemporary finish.

Take a shine to silver.

Silver serving pieces are incredibly functional and look wonderful in both formal settings and casual environments. Do something a little unexpected with them. You might cluster several serving pieces on a fireplace mantle or repurpose them as vases. Display ornate silver trays as artwork in a hallway or dining room.

Mix it up and add pizzazz.

Use your inherited pieces in surprising ways—crystal glasses or vases as candleholders, teapots as planters, clock housings as storage pieces, or antique frames holding contemporary art. Traditional elements often seem less frilly when blended into contemporary spaces and can add softness to an otherwise sterile modern setting.

Inheriting vintage pieces can present the dilemma of what is trash or treasure, but the items you keep can add a unique personality to your home. If you would like more information about repurposing family heirlooms or need additional resources, our helpful professionals are here to assist you. Please contact us anytime. 

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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