8 Creative Ways to Decorate with Heirlooms

Scattered throughout our home are heirlooms and treasures passed down from family. Each item holds special memories, and can’t be replaced. These are the pieces that make a home so specific to you and your family. A house is transformed into a home when those little details are weaved in. The story of those “things” continues by it being in your home, and that’s what makes it so meaningful.

Although heirlooms are full of heart and history, they don’t always fit the style of your home. I’ve gathered some of my favorite tips on how to incorporate old and new pieces in a way that reflects you and your family! Here are 8 creative ways to decorate with heirlooms.

#1

Plates and Dishes

The beautiful plates passed down from grandma don’t need to hide in cabinets or a hutch– why not display the plates in a way you can see them daily?! (Or only use a few plates, instead of the whole set).  Plate gallery walls make for ageless wall decor. My friend Emily over at lecultivateur.com has a blog post on how to beautifully and safely display plates for wall decor.

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Photo Credit: lecultivateur.com

#2

Certificates/ Hymns/ Sheet Music/ Letters:

Use rolled certificates, blueprints, hymnals etc., tie with string and place in a decorative basket. Below is a 1907 Cradle Roll Promotion Certificate that belonged to my husband’s great grandmother. I mixed it in with hymnal pages that were also passed down from family.

The rolled certificate/ hymnals aren’t the only heirlooms in this space- the blanket ladder was the side of a baby crib that was given to us from a family member. It is 92+ years old!

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Fun fact: My husband’s great great uncle wrote the hymn, “In my Heart there Rings a Melody.” What a sweet musical legacy! 

Because that hymn is extra special in our family, I added the song’s music sheet as a part of our entrance decor. (see photo below)

Tip: Display photos/ special paper documents on chicken wire frame/ tobacco basket- use mini clothespins to attach.

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#3

Broaches/ Pins:

If you look closely, you will see a pearl crown tucked under my wedding bouquet. This pin belonged to my grandma, who passed away when I was a baby. Weaved throughout the base of the bouquet are pearls from my mother’s wedding veil. This bouquet is full of treasured heirlooms!  I keep my wedding bouquet displayed on a shelf in our living room, and will forever cherish it.

Note: My mom made this fabric flower bouquet for my wedding. The bridesmaids had fabric bouquets as well. We are hoping to share a tutorial on the blog soon!

flower bouquet 2

flower bouquet

(bouquet photography: http://www.christinesunflowerphotos.com)

#4

Vases/ Jars:

A common way to use vases are on shelves, or to hold flowers– but did you know you can transform a special vase/ jar into a light fixture? My friend Katrin over a kreativk.net,  has a simple DIY on how to make a lamp out of a vase! Click here to see the tutorial

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Photo credit: http://www.kreativk.net

#5

Cards/ Clips:

A family member gave us their old flute clip they used in a marching band. She also gave us the card with the vintage looking mailbox (see photo below).

Tip: Use an empty frame to essentially make a 3-D display of the items you want to make a focal point. Another idea is to frame cards to create meaningful artwork!

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#6

Doilies:

When it comes to decorating with doilies and lace, the options are endless! They can easily be used in centerpieces, on end tables, and even made into unique wall art! Below is an adorable display Sarah at Sadie Seasongoods  created.

Click here  to see her doily wall art tutorial.

vintage doiles

#7

Lace:

This delicate lace belonged to a great aunt who was a Christian missionary in India. I wanted to place it in an area that wasn’t hidden, so I tied it around some vintage books displayed on our bookshelf.

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#8

Clothing:

Last year, my husband’s grandfather passed away and this shirt belonged to him. The pillow shown below was made from one of his shirts, and given as a gift to my husband’s grandmother. It is a functional way to keep special pieces of clothing nearby, and seen daily.

I’m no seasoned seamstress, but this is a simple project that has a lot of heart and love behind it.

Note: I don’t have a tutorial for this pillow, but Pinterest has a lot of great resources and guides. 

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The brown gloves pictured below were passed down from my husband’s grandmother- they were her childhood gloves. I incorporated them in our Christmas and winter decor. I loved the personal touch it added to this space!

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I hope this post sparked some ideas on how to creatively decorate with heirlooms. I would love to hear in the comments below how you decorate with cherished items!

Xoxo,

Maren

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