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Decorating Ideas and Collecting Tips for Milk Glass

By Rachel

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Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Rachel Granholm

On the hunt for lovely vintage glassware? Find what you need to know with these decorating ideas and collecting tips for milk glass!

I love decorating with milk glass. The simple white glass looks stunning against any backdrop, it’s super versatile, and each piece is unique. Join me as I give you a brief history of what vintage milk glass is as well as decorating ideas and collecting tips for milk glass!

History of Vintage Milk Glass

This opaque glass originated in Venice in the 16th century.

Not only does it come in white but in pink, blue, yellow, and brown as well. The white color that is most loved today became popular during the Victorian era and the Victorians are the ones who coined the term ‘milk glass’.

Companies such as Westmoreland, Fenton, and Anchor Hocking are most noted for producing this popular glass, making it in abundance!

vintage enamelware and milk glass in a vignette

How to Identify Vintage Milk Glass

How can you tell if milk glass is actually vintage and not a reproduction?

As you are perusing milk glass and want to know if it is a genuine vintage piece, meaning 1960’s and prior, hold it up to the light and look for the “Ring of Fire” imprint. It is characterized by iridescent reds, blues and greens.

Here is what the “Ring of Fire” looks like.

If you see this characteristic present on a piece of milk glass, it is real and worth purchasing!

Milk Glass Ring of Fire

Where to Find Vintage Milk Glass

I have slowly collected my milk glass over many years, sourcing each piece from:

Thrifting for milk glass or buying it secondhand is my ‘go-to’ method for finding the pieces that I’m most interested in.

This also ensures you will be able to purchase the vintage glass that is within your budget!

vintage thrifted Christmas decor antique postcard with ornaments

Shop the Look

Decorating Ideas and Collecting Tips for Milk Glass

Below are some types of milk glass that you can find in antique and thrift stores as well as some ideas for how to use those pieces in your home.

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Milk Glass Vases

Large and small vases can be found for less than $5 and come in a variety of styles like hobnail or ‘Stars and Bars’. Cute vessels like these add a beautiful vintage touch to your home.

Try clustering them on a kitchen or dining table for a pretty centerpiece or adding one with faux greenery in it to your bathroom counter!vintage milk glass and ironstone styled in a hutch for Fall

Milk Glass Candlesticks

Candlesticks have such a romantic feel to them, don’t they?!

Vintage candlesticks are especially pretty when styled into a hutch, placed within a shelf vignette, or used on a dining table.

Whether you choose to use faux or real candles in them, old candlesticks bring nostalgic appeal to your home!

vintage hobnail milk glass candlesticks used for winter decorating

Milk Glass Banana Stands

The Victorians were known for wanting to have a dish for everything, hence a banana stand. You could use this type of milk glass for just that; to hold bananas or other fruits.

Banana stands are versatile for other purposes as well such as to hold keys on an entryway table or as a simple centerpiece.
a milk glass banana stand with gold faux Fall stems

Milk Glass Pitchers

Milk glass pitchers can be incorporated into your home in many different ways.

You can use them in ways such as:

  • hold fresh flowers on the kitchen table
  • as a pen holder on a desk
  • kitchen utensil holder
  • a decorative piece on a shelf.

vintage milk glass on Christmas mantel

Milk Glass Cake Stands

These are quite popular right now with milk glass collectors. You can find cake stands with wavy, lacy, and hobnail edges, making them versatile for all decor styles.

Cake stands are good pieces for layering or adding height to shelf displays.

Milk Glass Cruets

These little pieces were made to hold oil and vinegar during the Victorian era.

I have a hobnail pourer in my collection that is one of my favorites. They make beautiful display pieces on a side table or countertop.

vintage milk glass used on a bathroom shelf as decor

Milk Glass Tableware

Milk glass dinnerware was never produced. However, plates were used as either serving platters or as home decor.

A pretty way to display milk glass plates is by creating a gallery wall using plate hangers and mixing in other colored antique plates such as Flow Blue or Jadeite!

decorating with vintage milk glass milk glass plate

Milk Glass Candy or Lidded Dishes

Lidded dishes include decorative sugar bowls and candy dishes. These types of glass are also very versatile pieces for your  space.

They can be used in the kitchen to hold spices or loose leaf teas. You can also utilize them as a holder for jewelry, such as to hold rings by the kitchen sink!

a hobnail milk glass lidded dish with vintage green books

Milk Glass Lighting

Vintage lamps, specifically of the milk glass variety, are endlessly useful.

I have thrifted many milk glass lamps over the years and, even though they have been in my home for many years, I don’t grow tired of them!

This vintage Fenton hobnail milk glass lamp, which I picked up for just $10, sits on a credenza in my living room and serves as one of the main sources of light in that area.

If you are in need of another lamp for your home, might I suggest purchasing one secondhand! Milk glass lamps are fairly easy to find. It will save you so much money as well as add lovely character to your space.

a thrifted hobnail milk glass lamp on a credenza

Creative Uses for Vintage Milk Glass In Your Home

Milk glass, due to its white coloring, blends well with any style that may be already present.

Vintage glass is a timeless classic that can work with any type of home decor and is always a conversation starter.

vintage amber bottles used for a Fall shelf display

Closing Tidbits on Decorating Ideas and Collecting Tips for Milk Glass

It is my hope that these decorating ideas and collecting tips for milk glass are a help to you! Styling this vintage glass is an excellent way to add an interesting and unique flair to your home decor. It’s one of those items that can’t help but bring an old-fashioned charm to your home and it’s never going out of style.

Be encouraged to find the special nostalgia of the past and give these pieces new life, however that is for you.

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Leave me a comment! Do you love milk glass, too? I love hearing from you!

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collecting tips and decorating ideas for milk glass

If you are new here, I’m Rachel, the writer and content creator here at The Antiqued Journey. I’m so happy to have you! I encourage you to stop by the ‘about me’ page to get to know me a little more. Here on the blog, you will find loads of inspiration for decorating with vintage and antique decor, simple DIY crafts and many thrifting adventures. If that interests you, I invite you to sign up for my e-mail. You will receive a free digital download as a thank you!

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Rachel from The Antiqued Journey blog

Hey! I’m Rachel!

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

Here on the blog I love to share my excitement, knowledge, and ideas about all things antique, vintage, and thrifted. Let’s journey together!

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