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Repurpose, Reuse, & Restore: A Vintage and Antique Lover’s Perspective

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CWU chapter.

For as long as I could remember, I have loved antiques and vintage pieces. I look at something old and rusty and I know it has a story behind it.  Something rusty, dented, or just completely phased out of our world that once was a shiny new item intrigues me. My mind goes to the creative. I know how I can turn something that is beaten up into a useful, decorative, wow-factor piece. In this article, I encourage you to start getting out there and exploring your antique and vintage shops. I also encourage you to explore parts of history that you did not know existed. You may surprise yourself on how much your creative side was waiting to burst out. 


What are you interested in? Are there certain things you like to collect? For me, it is salt and pepper shakers and barware. You would not believe the interesting bar glasses you could find, it’s so different from what you would find in today’s bars. It’s all about starting a collection. There are millions of different things you can start collecting!

Get Inspired

Whenever I am searching for inspiration on decorating, antique and vintage shops is where I go! I always find something that I can use in a creative way, clean up and make unique, or just leave on its own. If you are wanting to go into a project with a plan, Pinterest is full of ideas. The site is super helpful for easy crafting and DIY projects.

Make the Unconventional, Conventional

You might think there are some pieces you cannot change up, but thinking outside the box can help. My Mom and I started redoing our office and craft room and were looking for all kinds of different storage options that were out of the norm. We wanted to stick with the antique route, so we were looking for boxes or cabinets made of metal. We came across two shop hanging cabinets that were once used for oil seals and used them to store all our craft paints. We also found toolboxes and smaller metal boxes to store our paintbrushes and sponges.  Another one of my favorite finds is science beakers and graduated cylinders. I use these as pencil holders on my desk and organizers for paper clips, pens, and highlighters. 

Find a Purpose for Your Piece

For anything I find, I want it to have a purpose. Even if it is decorative, make sure it has the perfect space. If it is something you created from unconventional to conventional, make sure it has a use in your life. Try to eliminate clutter or things that will just collect dust. It’s good to have a collection, but make sure it is not invading your everyday life or minimizing your space. 

Vintage and antique hunting can be such a thrill. Diving through history and exploring the past is always fun. The best part is when your parents or even grandparents give you perspectives on items they used in their days. Everything has a story. Take time to learn about antiques. One day we might get to the point where everyday items will just be a thing in the past. Keep the old, rusted, and unique alive with a twist of today.   

My name is Katelyn Richardson. I am 29 years old. I am currently attending Central Washington University studying for my Master's in food and sciences to become a nutritionist and later a diabetes educator for kids. I've been personally battling type 1 diabetes since I was six years old. I love being outside, vintage shopping, watching movies, and going to stock car races! I love being a Her Campus Contributor because it gives me a platform to talk about current issues, topics I'm passionate about & real-life relatable experiences.