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Summer Decorating with Thrifted Milk Glass

By Rachel

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Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Rachel Granholm

Let’s do some Summer decorating with thrifted milk glass!

This season, I was inspired to use my milk glass collection and combine it with greens, yellows and blues to welcome the warmer months ahead. The white color makes each space feel light and airy, like a calm ocean breeze sweeping through the windows. Come along as I show you some easy ways of Summer decorating with thrifted milk glass!

Vintage Milk Glass

If you have been around here for any length of time, you probably know my deep affection for vintage milk glass. I’ve been collecting it for many years and use it all year round to decorate for each season or holiday.

I can’t quite describe what is is about this old glass that is so intriguing. It just speaks to me in a way that many things don’t, you know?? I’m excited to show you some easy ways of styling it in your home for Summer. There is something for everyone here today, so let’s get into it!

faux Poppy stems in a vintage milk glass vase

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What is Milk Glass?

If you are new to milk glass, let me give you a brief introduction.

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. The Victorians are the ones who coined the term ‘milk glass’.

a thrifted basket styled with vintage milk glass

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

Where and How to Find Vintage Milk Glass

Most of my milk glass collection has come from thrift stores for less than $4 a piece! Secondhand and resale shops usually have an abundance of milk glass to choose from. You will be able to have your pick from styles and sizes that fit your home and the look you are going for.

You can also try looking at vintage shops or antique malls, just know that those pieces are going to be priced a tad higher. I have had success at a few antique stores finding milk glass within my price range. It all depends on the area you are in and how popular it is amongst customers.

Garage sales and estate sales are also gold mines for finding vintage decor, especially milk glass.

Sometimes, estate sales will have entire collections for a very cheap price because they are just trying to get rid of it! You can check out estatesales.net to find estate sales happening in your area if you are interested.

Lastly, online sources such as Facebook Marketplace and Mercari tend to yield good results for milk glass.

vintage enamelware styled for Summer

Summer Decorating with Thrifted Milk Glass

Milk glass is styled in various ways throughout my home this Summer season. With milk glass especially, I believe that less is more.

I let the natural beauty of this old glass speak for itself by simply incorporating green, yellow and blue accents.

Create a Basket Vignette with Vintage Milk Glass

The first way you can decorate with milk glass for the Summer season is to make a small basket vignette.

For mine, I used a thrifted basket, a few vintage books, a linen napkin and some faux greenery stems. I didn’t add much to the two hobnail milk glass pieces because I wanted them to be the stars.

a Summer basket vignette with vintage milk glass

The pretty blue spritzer adds some color to the neutral color palette. Lastly, the Ironstone platter placed in the back gives a sense of balance and cohesion to the basket as a whole.

It’s also helpful for a small space. Try placing it on a credenza, a sideboard, an end table or even a coffee table. If you tire of the location, you can easily pick the whole thing up and move it!

a thrifted basket with milk glass and other vintage decor for Summer

Style a Mantel with Milk Glass

The second way that I used milk glass for Summer is on the mantel!

This vintage banana stand is probably my absolute favorite milk glass piece that I have in my collection. I found it a few years ago at a thrift store for a mere $8! It’s been gracing the mantel for five months now because I love it so much!

a vintage milk glass banana stand styled on a mantel for Summer

Again, I kept it really simple and minimal, only adding a few accent pieces.

The green book ties in with the basket vignette and the yellow stems coordinate with what’s happening in my hutch. To break up all the hard lines, I draped this vintage lace hanky across the top of the book. Isn’t it so pretty?! Another thrift store find!

The un-cluttered and modest look of the mantel is so appealing to me, especially for the hot Summer months. This just goes to show you that, with just a few harmonious decor items, you can create a lovely display!

a vintage milk glass banana stand with faux yellow stems on a Summer mantel

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Design a Shelf Display with Vintage Milk Glass

I styled a few different shelves around my house.

Designing vignettes on shelves is a process that I have come to adore. It’s super creative and puts me in a peaceful state of mind.

vintage decor with milk glass and a fern on a shelf

The first shelf that I styled with milk glass is the wall shelf above my couch.

I placed two larger items on each end to help anchor the shelf. Then, I filled in the middle with vintage books in blue and green hues.

a wall shelf styled with vintage books and other decor for Summer

Pieces of my milk glass collection were filtered in on either side of the books.

I placed the taller, more substantial milk glass in the back and the shorter ones in the front. By varying the heights of the milk glass itself, it helps your eyes to flow nicely from one part of the shelf to the next.

vintage hobnail milk glass displayed on a shelf for Summer

I did use a few pieces of ironstone to fill in gaps. Some people don’t care to mix milk glass and ironstone together but I think they look lovely!

You do what you like, you know?! There aren’t any rules when it comes to decorating!

vintage milk glass styled for Summer

Vintage books work beautifully on a shelf.

I personally think they look extra amazing when paired with milk glass. You can line them up like I did, lay them horizontally, or use a combination of both.

vintage books and vintage milk glass styled on a shelf for Summer

To add life and texture to a shelf vignette, stick some faux greenery stems or faux flowers into a tall vessel.

Tip: If you don’t want to see the stems of faux greenery in glass vase, shove a linen napkin or hanky inside the jar! This helps to hide the fake looking stems in a pretty way.

Without the use of greens on this shelf, the display as a whole would fall flat. The white of the milk glass really makes the green color pop and vice versa!

hobnail milk glass styled for Summer

Decorate an Entryway with Milk Glass

Lastly, the photo below is a tiny little shelf in my entry. The blue, yellow and white theme is continued here to keep the open-concept living decor feeling united.

My tip for a little area such as this one is to choose decor items that have warmth to them such as wood or pottery. Those pieces tend to amp up the weight and impact that these small but mighty spaces bring!

You can put white milk glass on a white shelf. However, so that it doesn’t get lost, be sure to utilize color and texture to surround that piece with.

an entry shelf with a small Summer vignette with milk glass

Closing Tidbits on Summer Decorating with Thrifted Milk Glass

I truly hope that this Summer decorating with thrifted milk glass inspires you for your own home! Find a few inexpensive pieces and try them out. If it’s not it, keep searching for the old thing that is!

That’s the beauty of decorating your home. It’s never really finished and is always a work in progress. I feel that, you know?! I’m forever a work in progress, too. Be encouraged to give yourself grace as you navigate this journey and find moments of joy along the way.

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Leave me a comment! What do you love to use to decorate your home for Summer? I love hearing from you!

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Just click on the red button in the left corner!

a hobnail milk glass dish styled for Summer

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 Thrifty Posts to Enjoy

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Thrifted Home Decor for Summer

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Thrifted Goodies-Volume 11

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A Simple Guide to Finding Antiques at Thrift Stores

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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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