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Vintage Valentine Decor - All You Need To Know

A vintage Valentine handkerchief decorated with ornamental hearts with messages reading ā€˜To my Valentineā€™, ā€˜I love youā€™, ā€˜Be Mineā€™, and more decorative elements such as cupids, doves, and blue bows.

Source: Whispers Of The Heart

In holiday home decorating, I particularly enjoy Valentineā€™s Day: the heart patterns, pink & red accents, and romantic candles are just some of the things I adore. Since I also love retro decorating styles, I decided to write a post aboutĀ vintageĀ Valentine decor.Ā According to Elizabeth Nelson, anĀ expert on 19th-century pop culture,Ā the commercialization of Valentineā€™s Day in the United StatesĀ dates back to the 1840s, so thereā€™s plenty of vintage to go around. Ā 

In this blog post, I will take a look at the key elements of the charming old-fashioned Valentineā€™s Day decorating style and provide some tips on how to incorporate it into your home.

A vintage Valentineā€™s Day party table with punch, a heart garland, pink paper cups, purple paper plates, and cupcakes on a cake stand. Purple, pink, and red streamers in the background.



Key Elements of Vintage Valentine Decor

The main idea of vintage Valentine decor is to evoke a sense of nostalgia and timeless charm. This is achieved through the use of very particular colors, craft techniques, fabrics, and nostalgic (very oftenĀ kitsch) old-time knickknacks.

Source:Ā Paper Moss

The Vintage Valentine Color Palette

First, thinkĀ about theĀ color palette. Traditional Valentineā€™s colors such asĀ red and pinkĀ are always popular choices, but neutral colors such asĀ white, cream, and beigeĀ are also key in achieving a nostalgic vintage vibe.

Vintage Valentine decorations made up of red and white candy sticks with openwork hearts and cut-out rose illustrations.
Vintage Valentine circus decorations made up of old photos and Pierrot cutouts.

Source:Ā Wings Of Whimsy

Remember that vintage Valentineā€™s colors arenā€™t vivid and sparkly. The pinks and reds are more muted, so stick to a toned-down color palette.

Some shades of pink to use when implementing retro Valentineā€™s Day home decor are:

  • Ashes of Roses
  • Dusty Rose
  • Rouge
  • Spanish Pink
  • Cameo Pink
  • Old Rose
  • Charm Pink
  • Solid Pink
  • Rose Pompadour.

While the recommended shades of red for vintage Valentine decor are:

  • Cranberry
  • Madder
  • Crimson Red
  • Cardinal
  • Poppy Red
  • Carmine
  • Rusty Red
  • Rosewood
  • Burgundy.

The above colors can and should also be matched with the previously mentioned beiges and creams for an ultra-vintage feel.

Vintage Valentine Decor Materials

A vintage Valentine heart-shaped decoration made up of a vintage photo of a baby with a sparkly crown and glitter.

Source:Ā Kathy Jacobson

Next, think about the materials you will need to achieve vintage home decor for the holiday of loveā™„ļø. Vintage Valentine decorating often incorporates:

  • lace
  • felt
  • paper (especially paper doilies)
  • wood
  • buttons
  • metalĀ 
  • glass
  • linenĀ 
  • cotton
  • satin
  • velvet.
A vintage red and white French toile pillow featuring a pastoral scene, with a wicker basket of dried flowers next to it, sitting on a distressed white shabby bench.

Source:Ā DĆ©co d’EliseĀ 

Craft Techniques To Achieve Vintage Valentineā€™s Day Decor

A pink vintage Valentine setup featuring a pink satin ribbon heart-shaped candy box in the background and a small porcelain ballet dancer doll in a pink dress sitting on vintage books.

Source:Ā Welch House 1900

When it comes to retro Valentineā€™s Day decorations, the main thing is textures achieved using:

  • knitting
  • beadwork
  • weaving
  • sewing
  • quilting
  • patchwork stitching
  • embroidering
  • couching.

Browse flea markets, antique shops, thrift stores, and online marketplaces to find your favorite gems and incorporate them into your homeā€™s vintage Valentine decor.

An embroidered vintage Valentine linen framed with hearts and floral motifs, spread out on a vintage white tablecloth.
"Back in the 1930s and ā€˜40s,
it was common practiceduring Valentineā€™s Day
for sweethearts to gift each other embroidered cotton and linen handkerchiefs
featuring heart and floral patterns."

Incorporating Vintage Valentine Decor
Into Your Home

With vintage Valentine decor, thereā€™s no limit on retroĀ kitsch, so go for as many over-the-top decorated candy boxes and ornaments as you wish.

Letā€™s talk about how to actually incorporate vintage Valentine decor into your space, going room by room.

Vintage Valentineā€™s Day cards from the 1950s laid out on a flat surface.

The Living Room

In the living room, you can add Valentine-themed patchwork quilted or embroidered throw pillows, or (my favorite) ā€“ red and white French toile pillows.

If you have a mantel, decorate it with a vintage Valentineā€™s garland. If there is no mantel, donā€™t worry, a garland can be used anywhere ā€“ on a shelf, on the wall, around the windows, framing the entry doorway, or any door in your house.

Speaking of a Valentineā€™s Day garland, it can also be made using a piece of string, laundry pegs or clips, and just about any vintage Valentine cards you find (I love the Elvis Valentine down below!).Ā 

Printable wall art is a budget-friendly way to create a DIY vintage Valentineā€™s Day curated gallery in your living room (but it will also work elsewhere in your home). This set of 8 vintage and antique Valentineā€™s Day printables is affordable and features unique love-themed prints, perfect to create a vintage backdrop for your Valentine-themed party.

Place vintage Valentineā€™s Day cards on your living room table, end table, dresser, and other furniture.

Add pink and red vintage books anywhere you can. Stack them on top of one another and top them with vintage candle holders and flower vases with roses. Or pair them with romantic white or gold classical mini sculptures. Ā 

Five vintage books bound in red covers with gold lettering, and a gold mini sculpture of Julius Caesar next to them, all sitting on a shelf with wooden white wall behind.

Source: Etsy

The Bedroom

In the bedroom, vintage Valentine decor will take on more of a romantic side. Add lace and textile accents, and decorate with vintage love-themed art.

A romantic bedroom with white curtains, a gold ornamental frame with cherubs, and pink roses in vintage white vases sitting on two stacks of vintage books.

Another great option is to use vintage Valentineā€™s Day candles and, of course, roses. A bouquet or two of pink and red roses is timeless, and they will look stunning in a vintage flower vase. I am totally obsessed with this antique frame DIY cupid project by Larissa from the Welch House.Ā 

A red and white vintage French toile pillow placed on a distressed shabby rustic surface.

Those willing to go the extra mile can also replace their current curtains or shades with a pair of romantic white or pink lace curtains. Add a vintage three-arm candelabra for an ultra romantic vibe. And, again, red and white French toile patterns are welcome too!

The Kitchen

When it comes to the kitchen, I would utilize the fridge and stick vintage Valentineā€™s Day cards all over it. Both Etsy and Amazon have a huge selection of those.

A closeup of a vintage Valentine wreath made up of vintage Valentine cards, hanging on a vintage kitchen cabinet.

In the kitchen, you can hang up a vintage Valentine wreath on a cabinet or the window and I absolutely love this DIY one by Le Cultivateur!

The Dining Room

Dining room/area decorating is my favorite as we can add Valentine-themed table settings and dinnerware. Itā€™s a great idea to decorate with:

  • pink and white vintage plates
  • romantic utensilsĀ 
  • pink or red vintage glasses
  • romantic white candelabras
  • vintage-style tablecloths, table runners, napkins, and placemats
  • a cage (or cages) with pink & red bouquets
  • vintage-style Valentineā€™s Day centerpieces.

Further down below I will share some vintage Valentineā€™s inspiration from the web, so stick around!šŸ¹

Vintage Valentine Decor ā€“ FAQ

To go even further, letā€™s answer some of the most commonly asked questions regarding vintage Valentine decor.

What is vintage Valentine decor?

Vintage Valentine decor refers to decorations that are inspired by or reminiscent of the styles and designs from past eras, typically from the early to mid-20th century. This type of decor is characterized by a romantic, nostalgic, and charming aesthetic that is perfect for celebrating Valentineā€™s Day.

How do I incorporate vintage elements into my Valentine's Day decor?

To incorporate vintage elements into your Valentineā€™s Day decor, you can use lace doilies, vintage heart garlands, old-fashioned postcards, pink lace curtains, fresh roses, vintage red and white scenery plates, and quilted and embroidered pillowcases. You can also add a vintage Valentineā€™s tablecloth to dress up your dining table. When it comes to textiles, focus on textures: quilts, embroidery, knitted patterns, and patchwork.

What are some popular vintage Valentineā€™s Day symbols and motifs?

Some popular vintage Valentineā€™s Day symbols and motifs include cupids, hearts, roses, doves, and lovebirds. Vintage-inspired typography, images, postcards, and prints are also popular.

How can I add a touch of vintage charm to my Valentineā€™s Day celebration?

To add a touch of vintage charm to your Valentineā€™s Day celebration, you can create a romantic atmosphere with candlelight and play vintage love songs. Set the dinner table with vintage pink glasses, red/pink and white plates, and gold-tone utensils. You can also place rose bouquets in vintage vases and include a vintage brass candelabra. Serve vintage-style treats, such as jam-filled heart-shaped sugar cookies or a classic chocolate fondue.

Where can I find vintage Valentine's Day decorations?

Those who have plenty of time can browse thrift shops and antique stores for Valentine’s Day decorations. However, an easier (and just as good) option is to skim through online marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon. They offer plenty of vintage Valentineā€™s Day decor items.

Vintage Valentine Decor ā€“ Conclusion

There is something so romantic and nostalgic about the vintage Valentineā€™s Day theme. Whether romanticized thanks to movies and 1950s love songs, one thing is for sure ā€“ incorporating vintage-inspired Valentineā€™s Day decorations into your home on February 14th is a foolproof way to set the right mood.Ā 

I hope this post will inspire you to turn your home into a vintage Valentineā€™s Day capsule this year. Happy Valentineā€™s Day!šŸ’Œ

Ā© 2021 Created with Charlotte’s Vintage