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How To Style A Picture Rail Using Vintage Finds

By Rachel

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Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by Rachel Granholm

Today you are going to learn how to style a picture rail using vintage finds!

Picture rails are one of my favorite ways to display vintage art and decor. Using picture rails in your home allows creativity and expression, creating a display that is one-of-a-kind and can be re-arranged easily. Find inspiration here today on how to style a picture rail using vintage finds!

Affiliate Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Photowall. All photos, opinions, and ideas are my own.

What’s the Point of a Picture Rail?

Picture rails originated in the 15th century as a way to display tapestries or other heavy textiles onto walls without damaging the plaster. But, picture rails today serve a more modern purpose.

Sometimes, in a home, you need a unique way to display pieces. Regular old shelves or side tables might feel too stuffy, mundane, or just plain boring. When trying to create a home that is distinct to you and your definition of home, think about how you could use things in a different way. Incorporating the use of picture rails on a large wall may be able to help you achieve that distinctive look.

Picture rails also tend to be on the modern side in terms of how they look. Typically you will see very clean, simple lines in basic colors such as black, white, or stained wood. Using picture rails is an easy way to blend modern and vintage in your home.

Purpose Of Picture Rails

Simply put, picture rails allow you to display many pieces in a creative way without sacrificing floor space.

Think of how an actual gallery wall looks in space. There is usually a plethora of art, pictures, macrame, and a host of other pretty pieces. Picture rails allow you to not only display art but decor and vintage pieces as well.

a picture rail displayed with vintage art

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Styling A Picture Rail Using Vintage Finds

When it comes to styling a picture rail, the beauty about it is that are no rules. My suggestion would be to lay out all the pieces on the floor that you would like to use on the picture rail and then just start arranging. Keep moving your decor around until you are happy with how it looks.

There are three different picture rails in my house and they are all completely different.
Below are some creative ideas to try with your picture rail.

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Use Vintage Art on a Picture Rail

If you have collected many vintage art pieces over the years, picture rails are a fantastic way to display those. It doesn’t matter if the art is all different styles or color schemes or frames or sizes because the rail itself will make all of the art feel cohesive. As you can see above, there is a vintage needlework next to an oil painting which is next to a fancy gold frame.

Having variety is what makes the rail interesting to look at and will, more often than not, become a statement in your home. Sometimes you might want a change and picture rails make it simple to switch out your art, which I often do, especially seasonally.
various art displayed on a picture rail

Style Vintage Decor on a Picture Rail

Collected vintage home decor pieces look stunning on a picture rail. Whether you have a collection of one specific style or various decor pieces, picture rails allow you to display these in a cohesive way.
hobnail glass collection on a picture rail
I have devoted one of the picture rails in my house to displaying my vintage milk glass and jadeite collections. Those two colors combined together paired with the vintage look of the glass adds so much character to the living room.

If you are looking to add texture and height, try incorporating faux greenery by sticking branches into small jars or vases.

For another option, instead of taking up floor space with a side table, you can utilize a small part of the rail to hold a light or lamp. This not only helps with lighting in your space but also emphasizes the vintage decor.
a picture rail displayed with vintage glass

Utilize a Combination of Art and Decor on a Picture Rail

You can absolutely mix art and decor together on a picture rail! That’s what adds interest and gives your home character.

There is a vintage water spritzer displayed amongst my vintage art, adding color and texture to the display. You could try using half art and half decor or more decor and a couple of art pieces.
vintage art and decor displayed on a picture rail

Play around with what you have and eventually you will land on a combination that speaks to you.

Items that hold special meaning to you work beautifully as well, such as these fishing lures that my husband has on his picture rail.
home decor displayed on a dark stained picture rail


This company reached out to me and wanted to help my readers be inspired to create a beautiful home through the use of art. Photowall is an online company based in Sweden. They sell beautiful wallpaper, canvas prints, and posters. You guys, I have NEVER seen such a collection of art as this website offers. It’s completely incredible. You will be able to find a piece that fits into any type of decor or design style.

Go to their website and check it out BECAUSE they are giving you 25% off your purchase plus free shipping! At checkout, enter the code antiquedjourney25. This code is valid for three months…what a fantastic time to stock up on Christmas gifts!

Thank you to Photowall for sponsoring this post!

an image from Photowall.com

Image courtesy of Photowall.com

Closing Tidbits on How to Style a Picture Rail Using Vintage Finds

Finally, I just wanted to point out the wood stains of the picture rails shown in this post. If you look at the grey stain, it feels light and airy. The darker stained rail feels moody and heavier.

My point is to pay attention to the color of the picture rail besides what you are putting on it because that really sets the tone for the whole piece.

I hope you found inspiration here today on how to style a picture rail using vintage finds! May it be a source of encouragement for you and your home.

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Comment below and let me know if you would like to try this and what you would display!

an image for pinning

a picture rail styled with art and decor

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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