Antique Table Decorations: Finding and Choosing the Right Ones

Updated September 29, 2021
Bouquet and Antique Silver on Living Room Table

Antique table decorations make a great addition to any vintage-themed room. Decorations for a table can include lamps, books, pottery pieces, or collectible items. Whether you are decorating a castle or cottage, there are many beautiful decorating options for you to choose from.

Creative Table Decoration Ideas Featuring Antiques

Decorating with antiques can be an enjoyable hobby, and you can use any table to create a gorgeous display. Try one of these fun ideas.

Display Your Favorite Collection

If you collect antiques, such a sterling silver vases, Depression glass, or pottery, you can group these pieces together to create a beautiful table display. This is perfect for an end table near a sofa or chair, and it also works well for a table in your entryway or foyer. To keep it from looking cluttered, make sure everything in the display has something in common.

Show Off Big Heirlooms

Everyone has a few precious objects passed down through the generations, and these can be the perfect things to display on a table. This is ideal for big family gatherings, when everyone will be charmed to see Grandma's silver candelabras or the vase Aunt Sarah bought on her honeymoon many years ago. The key to making this work is using larger pieces, especially if you're decorating a long table.

Laid table in large dining room with red and gold design wallpaper

Think Small Scale Too

You can make a gorgeous Victorian centerpiece by using a simple hobnail vase or other little item and filling it with a spray of flowers. This is ideal if your decorating a small table or setting up for an intimate dinner for two. Try rotating various pieces of your collection, so you have a chance to show off every little treasure.

vase purple flowers

Repurpose Antiques as Table Decorations

Even though an old crock or canning jar wasn't made to display flowers, it can look just as lovely as the fanciest vase in your china cabinet. In fact, repurposing antiques this way is a great way to draw attention to them, since people won't expect to see this item used as a centerpiece. All you need is a pretty bouquet. You can use everything from vintage cannisters to antique teapots to create a charming tabletop display.

Pink Flowers Vase On Table

Let Your Room Décor Style Help Determine Your Options

When choosing antique table decorations for your room, the décor can help point you in the right direction. Keep a room's colors in mind and match the antique table decorations to the wall color or furnishings. Also consider the era. If you are decorating a table in a Victorian parlor, embellishments could include oil lamps, paperweights, stereopticons, and vases on lace doilies.

Blue Rooms on Main Floor of Traditional Home

Allow Your Favorite Era to Inspire You

If you love a certain era, such as the Art Deco period, allow it to inspire your table decoration. Rooms with 1920's flair look beautiful decorated with Art Deco decor like lacquered boxes, Japanese accents, or lamps from this exciting period in design. This antique table decoration idea works especially well on side tables or console tables, since you can create a little grouping of items from this period.

antique table decor

Don't Forget to Use Antique Decorations Outside Too

If you're having a garden party or simply want to make an outdoor meal feel special, you can use antiques to decorate outdoor tables too. One great way to do this is to gather lots of antique bottles and place a few flowers in each one. This way, your bottle collection becomes the real centerpiece, but it still feels casual and fun.

Antique Decorations Outside with flowers in a farmhouse

Use Antiques to Create Seasonal Table Decorations

Decorate your table for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any other holiday using antique items from your collection. If you have a bunny-shaped figurine, let it become your antique Easter centerpiece. For smaller pieces, create a more substantial display by grouping several together or using a vintage serving tray or dish to add more visual weight.

Spring or Easter dining room table centerpiece

Stack Antique Books as Table Decor

One great way to show off a few antique books and add a sense of history to your home decor is to stack several books on an end table. This gives your home a cozy feeling, and it's also a great way to display old books that might not get the attention they deserve in a bookcase. Only use books that are not especially valuable or rare, since people are likely to handle them.

whiskey tumbler on antique books

Show Off a Collection of Figurines

Collectible figurines can make a gorgeous table display, especially if you group several similar ones together. Choose a spot that's not likely to get bumped, such as a table in a corner or less used area of the room. Place at least three figurines in a group for maximum impact.

Collection of Figurines

Don't Forget the Vintage Tablecloth

Vintage and antique linens can be amazing table decorations for your home, especially if you pair them with simpler china or vases. Allow the beauty of your antique tablecloth to show by minimizing the distractions on the table. If you are concerned about staining, use the tablecloth on a side table or console table instead of on your dining table. You can fold it to make it the appropriate size.

18th century country home

Consider the Size of the Table

Decorations should always take the size of the table into consideration. The items on the table should be in scale with the size of the table. Basically, large table decorations belong on large tables or should be the only decoration on a table. For example, a large vase full of flowers would normally be the only item on a drum table in the center of a foyer. Smaller decorations can be placed in a collection on a large table or be the focal point on a smaller table.

Arrangement made in a Chinese vase which is sat on a marble table

Use What You Love

Your treasures won't get any attention tucked away in a china cabinet or stored in a box. Bring out the things you love, such as antique paperweights, special trophies, and other unique pieces. Then create a table display around these items.

Antique blue glass paperweight

Where to Find Antique Table Decorations

Half of the fun of beautifying a home is shopping for the decorations. If you are shopping for antiques, you may need to do a little more hunting to find the perfect accents for your home. Antique malls offer a wide variety of items, whereas specialty stores can help you find great items for a particular décor. If you're still not sure where to start, try one of the following places that sell antique table decorations for your home:

  • Thrift stores - Your local thrift store is a great place to look for vintage table decor, especially antique containers you can fill with flowers to create a centerpiece.
  • Online antique retailers - Online antique malls like Tias or Ruby Lane can be great for finding specific items like antique seasonal decorations. Shop here and use the search function on the site to find the perfect antique decoration for your table.
  • Estate sales and garage sales - If you aren't looking for something specific, you can find some great deals at local sales. Try to get to estate sales and garage sales early in the day for the best selection of items to decorate your table.
  • Online auctions - eBay is a popular place to find antiques for your table. Be sure to check the cost of shipping, especially if you're purchasing something heavy, large, or very fragile.

Pulling the Entire Look Together

Decorating with antiques can be an enjoyable hobby. Remember to take into account the scale of your items when adding accent pieces to an antique table. Collections shouldn't take up more than one-third of the space on the entire table, and the items should somehow be related to each other. However, these are just guidelines. As long as you choose antique table decorations you love, you'll create a display of collectibles or vintage treasures that reflects your home and personality.

Antique Table Decorations: Finding and Choosing the Right Ones