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How to Use Thrifted Art for Fall Decorating

By Rachel

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Last Updated on December 6, 2023 by Rachel Granholm

Learn how to use thrifted art for Fall decorating to effortlessly transform your home!

As the leaves transform and temperatures drop, the urge to give our homes a cozy Fall makeover is in the air. But you don’t need to break the bank to decorate for the season! With thrifted art, you can infuse your home with unique, on-trend style—while staying savvy with your budget. Join me as I show you how to use thrifted art for Fall decorating to create stunning and one-of-a-kind seasonal displays!

How to Thrift for Vintage Art

Thrifting for old artwork is one of my very favorite past times. I refuse to purchase art from large retail stores anymore because they just don’t give me that vintage, patina-d look that I adore. There’s nothing better than art that is slightly worn and faded, showing signs of age with it’s chipped paint or wrinkled paper.

My advice for thrifting artwork that speaks to you is to thrift often. Try and get out at least once a week to see what your local thrift stores have on the shelves.

When initially searching for thrifted art to use in your home, notice what themes, colors or subject matters you are drawn to. This will help train and develop your eyes to hone in on art pieces that might be of interest to you.

As an example, I collect vintage country landscapes with old barns in them. Because I’ve practiced doing this for many years and know what colors and characteristics are present in these pieces, I can usually spot the art treasures amongst the others fairly quickly, even if just a corner is sticking out.

Other places to shop secondhand for artwork include estate sales, garage sales, Mercari, and Facebook marketplace.

What to Pay for Thrifted Artwork

This all depends on what an art piece is worth to you. There are thrift stores and other secondhand shops that know what they have and, as such, will price the art accordingly.

My stance on this is that all of their inventory is donated, meaning these shops don’t have to pay a dime to stock their stores. So, I personally won’t pay more than $15 for a piece of art from a thrift store, even if it’s a fantastic piece from a well-known artist.

That being said, if you find art that you simply love and can’t see your home without it, then it’s probably worth purchasing.

a vintage floral oil painting in a gilded frame

How to Use Thrifted Art for Fall Decorating

Thrifted art is versatile, allowing for each piece to be used in multiple ways.

When I style thrifted art for Fall, my go-to colors are oranges, browns, tans and deep reds. These are tones that pair well with my Fall decor as well as other artwork that I may have around the house.

Below are three different ways of decorating with secondhand artwork!

Styled In a Vignette.

Thrifted art, or any artwork in general, offers interest and depth to shelves, mantels, hutches and the like.

Larger pieces of artwork, like the one seen below, are fantastic pieces to incorporate into seasonal displays.

a vintage barn painting displayed as part of a mantel vignette for Fall

Vignettes can be as simple or as detailed as you would like. Through the use of just a few pieces of Fall decor on my mantel, the thrifted oil painting with coordinating colors ties the whole space together.

When thinking about thrifted art, don’t box yourself in to looking at only framed or canvas pieces. Art can also include postcards or simple sketches!

The antique car sketch below was drawn by my very talented husband. This was for a class he took when we went back to school for graphic design years ago. While cleaning out a closet earlier this month, I came across a whole folder full of these postcards. I couldn’t bear to throw them out so I kept them, knowing I could use them for something.

Then, when I started decorating for Fall, I instantly realized how lovely these charcoal sketches would look within vignettes, especially for the Autumn season! I simply tucked this car sketch in between some milk glass and amber bottles. It’s an unexpected decor piece that really catches your eye when walking past the shelf.

an antique car sketch used in a fall vignette

This barn sketch was another one that I found in the stack. I mean…how did I not know about these?! They are so good. 

You know I love a good old barn…it doesn’t matter if I see an actual barn out in a field or in a vintage painting! Doesn’t this postcard look lovely tucked in amongst my vintage decor?! It’s amazing how the sketch depicts a barn in the late Fall, which is perfect subject matter for the season.

old barn sketch with charcoal used for Fall decor

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When thrifting, it’s more common to come across smaller scale pieces of art such as this vintage barn on a wooden plaque. These are wonderful items to purchase because they can be used in many areas of your home, especially those little nooks where you don’t know what to put in it but need something small!

This type of art decor will also be priced much lower. I paid $1.00 for this item a few years ago. This Fall, I have it styled on a skinny shelf in my entryway with other small decor items like a velvet pumpkin and a faux maroon stem.

thrifted country artwork on a shelf in an entry for Fall decor

On a Picture Rail.

Another idea for displaying thrifted art is to utilize a picture rail. Simply put, picture rails allow you to display many pieces in a creative way without sacrificing floor space.

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.

This thrifted barn painting, which you might have seen in my last Thrifted Goodies post, is one of the Fall art pieces that I have displayed on the picture rail this season. There’s a cool story behind this art piece so go check out that post if you haven’t read it yet!

a vintage thrifted barn painting for Fall decorating

The next piece of art on the rail is a vintage watercolor painting. This is one of my favorite barn scenes in my collection and, as you can see, is a quintessential scene of Fall in the country.

a vintage watercolor painting with a barn and fields styled for Fall

On the other end of the rail is another large thrifted painting featuring not only a barn but a river, too!

I rarely come across art that has rounded corners so this one was super neat to bring home.

a thrifted watercolor painting with a barn and a river

As you can see, all three thrifted pieces of art are extremely different and don’t necessarily ‘go’ together.

However, I liken a picture rail to a gallery wall. It doesn’t matter if the art is all different styles, color schemes, frames or sizes. The rail itself will make all of the art feel cohesive.

a trio of thrifted Fall artwork on a picture rail

In a Hutch.

My favorite way to decorate with vintage or thrifted art is by styling it in my hutch. This is an unexpected decor idea and creates an extremely unique display. Like I said above, don’t limit your art to just framed pieces. Old books can also be used as art, especially in small spaces.

This recently acquired antique German birthday book from the 1800’s is, in my opinion, the epitome of old books. I mean…it’s SO cool! Side Story: There are names and dates in here from 1840. And, as I was flipping through the pages the other day, I came across last names of ‘Schmidt’, which is my mom’s maiden name. So, who knows if these people could be related to me…I would like to do some more digging to find out.

Anyways, I digress. I have the book open to one of the October pages and simply leaned it up against the ironstone platter. Voila! Instant art.

So, if you have some old books laying around your house, flip through it and see if there are any pages that catch your eye. Many times old books contain beautiful illustrations that you can prop open.

an antique German birthday book styled in a hutch for Fall artwork

You can also place small scale art on the shelf of a hutch. This helps create dimension and warmth, especially when placed amongst dishes or other more utilitarian items.

This little vignette was created within the hutch itself, helping to tell a story of sorts. That’s what art does, right? It tells a story which is different for each person that looks at it.

I think that’s why I’m so drawn to old pieces of art. There is not a right or wrong way to look at it. Art doesn’t judge you…it welcomes you with open arms, inviting you to be the next part of it’s ages-old story.

vintage barn artwork displayed in a hutch for Fall

Closing Tidbits

As you re-arrange your home for the new season, I truly hope that these ideas for how to use thrifted art for Fall decorating are helpful. Decorating your home with secondhand finds, especially art, brings such life and movement to each space.

Thrifted art is a great way to spice up your home decor for the Fall season. Whether you opt for vintage art, upcycled artwork, or a unique DIY project, thrifting is a great way to add a touch of character to your decor while on a budget.

Be encouraged to search high and low for that perfect art piece, finding renewed perspective along the way.

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Leave me a comment! How do you decorate with vintage art? I love hearing from you!

an image for pinning

various art pieces styled into vignettes for Fall

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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Other Fall Posts to Enjoy

vintage thrifted dishes styled for Fall
Thrifted Goodies Volume 15- Fall Edition

a vintage copper pot used in a Fall vignette with faux leaves
Styling Tips for Fall Faux Stems

a vintage Fall vignette with Amber colored bottles, milk glass and vintage thread spools
Fall Decor Ideas Without Using Pumpkins

29 Comments. Leave new

  • Tanya Derrey Bingham
    October 12, 2023 10:00 am

    I love your collection Rachel! I recently found two little pictures both with barns, I was so excited 🙂 Hugs- Tanya @twelveOeight

  • […] is such a thoughtful gift. In my opinion, one can never have too many art pieces. I change out my art about every other month to keep things looking and feeling […]

  • These are all such beautiful pieces and fabulous ways to display them in your home too, Rachel. I totally forget to stop by this section when I’m shopping unless I’m looking for frames so thanks for inspiring me to give it a second chance. You really just never know what you’re going to find which always makes the hunt so much fun! Hugs, CoCo

  • MaryJo Materazo
    October 13, 2023 2:45 pm

    I love, love your collection of thrifted artwork Rachel and you have so many great tips. But first, can we talk about those sketches??? Wow, I am so glad you found them. I would use them all the time and how fantastic that your husband created them. You always amaze me on all the fabulous artwork you find thrifting. That’s one thing I don’t have luck with. I think I need to spend more time looking. The one with rounded corners really did it for me. Have a great weekend friend. XO- MaryJo

    • Rachel Granholm
      October 13, 2023 7:51 pm

      Thank you! I know!! I am so happy they didn’t get thrown out! About every fifth or sixth time I go thrifting is when I find good art. It’s hard to come by!! Have a lovely weekend!

  • Debra @CommonGround
    October 15, 2023 11:20 am

    Rachel, you have some wonderful pieces of vintage art. I too love barns (and castles) and always try to imagine how I would display and incorporate a piece into my decor. About books; My family’s idea of a fun weekend jaunt would be to hit antique stores and flea markets long before this was trendy. I remember my mother just happened to be browsing a box of old books when she found her great aunt’s Bible and other family journals. Little miracle. Have a great week, friend!

    • Rachel Granholm
      October 15, 2023 9:03 pm

      Hey, Debra!
      Thank you!! Wow!! That’s SUCH a cool story!! How crazy and serendipitous is that?! Thanks for stopping by!! Enjoy the week ahead!

  • If there is anything I especially love, it’s vintage amateur art. I think it adds so much character to a space, and these pieces you found are perfect for the fall season 🙂

  • Thanks for the tips, Rachel! I have not had very good luck finding vintage art, but sometimes I skip over that section. I will be more attentive to it from now on! I love all your pictures of old barns! Take care, Donna

  • I love all of your thrifted pieces, Rachel. So pretty and perfect for fall!

  • Lots of good info in your post! I really enjoyed it. I have a collection of Monet prints–mostly in my small robin’s egg blue bathroom. Yep, it’s unusual and it spills over into my bedroom, but his use of sunshine moves me! One problem I have is that my house is open concept–I don’t have enough walls to hang pictures!!!

    • Rachel Granholm
      October 21, 2023 9:48 pm

      Hi Kathy!
      Thanks so much!! Unusual or not, I always say to decorate with what you love and what makes you happy!!

  • Hi Rachel – I am just reading the links for our HILP and saw you shared this one. Thought I would hop over and let you know how much I enjoyed this post. Hope you are having a great vacation!

  • Cara ~ Vintage Style Gal
    October 25, 2023 3:11 pm

    You have some really amazing pieces Rachel! I love when you share the cost. I used to find items from the thrift stores in our area for decent prices, but I was astounded with a recent visit, and thought wow, I cannot even afford the thrift store these days! $50 for bookends nearly made me fall over… Recently, I have been making over items I have had for years and found in our attic which is like it is all new to me! I will have to venture out and see what I can find at the thrift stores again and see if there is anything new and hopefully more budget friendly! Thank you for sharing your inspirations!!

    • Rachel Granholm
      October 25, 2023 5:05 pm

      Hey, Cara!!
      Thanks so much!! 50?!? That’s insane!! I don’t understand it. I have seen some thrift stores in my area increasing prices drastically, especially on clothing. But, I hope they go back down again soon.
      I love how you are giving old things that you already have new life…that’s such a sustainable way to live!! I’m all for that!
      I appreciate you stopping by today. Hope you have a lovely rest of the week!

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  • […] green striped creamer below is paired with three vintage vases and vessels of varying heights and a vintage barn print, making a grouping of five decor pieces. Can you kind of see how that looks more pleasing to the […]

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  • […] proudly hung this thrifted art to the left of the mantel and placed some flocked trees underneath it. The picture fits perfectly […]

  • […] in my head for this Valentine tablescape that included pale pink and cream mixed with a set of thrifted transferware. I wanted it to feel whimsical and romantic. With the help of the delicate features on […]

  • […] vintage art is an incredible way to add charm to your bathroom. Art can include anything from vintage oil […]

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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.

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