How To Incorporate Vintage Furniture Into Your Outdoor Decor

Vintage Table And Bench


Vintage decor, in lieu of recognizable pieces from popular catalogs, adds the kind of wow factor to a yard that is completely unique to the person or people who live there.

We asked local experts Chris and Jenny Stanchack to chime in with tips for how to incorporate vintage into outdoor decor because may people want to do it but they don’t know how to get started or select the the right piece(s).

The husband and wife team created the Loveseat App, an online marketplace of vintage and stylish used furniture, after finding out how difficult it was to buy and sell furniture in conjunction with their move to San Diego.


What Does Vintage Mean?


First, there’s no hard and fast rule about the exact definition of vintage. Experts suggest the term refers to furniture between 30 – 100 years old, as older than 100 years is considered antique. Furniture younger than 30 years is typically marketed as used though some fans shrink the vintage age requirement to 10 years. Truthfully, most furniture that is 10 years old probably looks similar to new retail store offerings unless it was manufactured with a vintage look.

Calling a piece vintage typically means that it represents the style of a period. A vintage piece from the 1950s, for example, probably has a mid-century modern vibe. However, just because a piece of furniture is 30 years old, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily vintage. Sometimes, furniture is just old.


What Is Trending in Vintage Outdoor Furniture?



​An outdoor trend that has stood out to the Stanchacks involves incorporating pieces with a retro flair into the backyard. “Mid-century modern pieces with stark lines and surprising patterns are being used as indoor/outdoor sets,” notes Jenny Stanchack.

The homeowner in the photo above chose a mint green 1960s refrigerator to contrast against a newer high tech barbecue. This combo plays into another trend of incorporating rustic designs with pieces that are sleek and modern looking.

Jenny has also seen a lot of new outdoor furniture being made out of recycled materials like bar or pallet wood. Bulky rustic pieces that are well made from solid wood are being brought back to stand the test of time.

It also isn’t unheard of to find an awesome piece of vintage furniture or decor and reconfigure them to have another use. Carts turn into planters, chests are transformed into sink vanities, etc.


Get Started With Vintage



Taking the first step toward incorporating vintage in the yard can be daunting, but multiple pieces work well, too. The Stanchaks suggest narrowing down the possibilities by selecting one color or theme.

Spreading out ​two ​or ​three pieces that are loosely related in the backyard brings a cohesiveness and depth to your outdoor space. Although your vintage pieces may not all be from the same manufacturer, maybe the​y​ share the same type and color of wood frame, or are all super curvy.

“You can feel like king of your own backyard with just two pieces of furniture,” advises Jenny. “Creating an inviting place to sit either on your own chair or a glider chair with friends and family is super important in making your outdoor space livable.”


Vintage Fits With Eco-Friendly Design


vintage iron furniture

The beauty of vintage furniture is that it’s one of the most eco-friendly ways to shop as giving furniture a new life keeps it out of the landfills. The Stanchacks believe that going green outdoors is also about living cooperatively with your environment and they, like many San Diegans, face the challenges of harsh salt air. They also use native plants and succulents in their yard to stay water-wise.

Jenny adds, “We use artificial turf to soften the feel of our backyard while staying sustainable.”


How to Select Vintage Furniture


Be mindful that a full set of vintage furniture–a dining table and chairs, for example–will set you back a pretty penny because they are typically hard to find. However, mixing and matching is both financially rewarding and can evoke a more personalized look.

Vintage furniture may also show signs of wear. Light wear adds to character and can usually be repairs or overlooked. Plenty of places around San Diego can reupholster for a reasonable price if fabric is looking shoddy. In fact, defects may provide leverage for lowering the price paid.

Every era has well-made and poorly-made furniture. Be sure you can spot the difference.

Practice patience. It may take a while to find the perfect piece but it will be worth it.


Other Tips for Decorating Outdoors


Don’t be afraid to do it yourself in the backyard! You can add a new look to your yard using some of the furniture you already own, or a couple unfinished pieces you can pick up pretty cheaply. Find a bright color of paint that speaks to you, and pick two or three pieces throughout the yard to paint that color. Guests will be surprised by a pop of color that is uniquely you as they walk throughout your yard.


Where to Find Vintage Furniture in San Diego


Keep an eye out for estate sales and garage sales in neighborhoods with older homes you suspect might house the finds you’re looking for. If a sale like this piques your interest, be sure to arrive early to beat the competition–estate sale enthusiasts are infamous for early picking.

Check resellers like Girard Avenue in La Jolla—who also maintains an online presence on Loveseat—and if you know what you’re looking for and it’s not in the shop, let them know. Developing relationships can often be rewarding.

And, you can shop vintage from the comfort of your own home (or on the go via mobile) using Loveseat.


About the Loveseat App


Loveseat is a simpler and safer way to sell and browse indoor and outdoor furniture in your own market and is an easy way to increase the visibility of your furniture, and we have payments, communication between buyers and sellers and delivery all built in. Thanks for Jenny and Chris for the helpful advice.

jenny and chris stanchack

Your Turn…


How do you incorporate vintage into your outdoor decor?