Decoratinginterior design

14 Rooms Where Vintage Portraits Shine

by Grace Bonney


When I rented my first apartment, one of the first things I did was start visiting thrift stores and flea markets to look for vintage paintings. I found myself drawn to portraits and inspired by the way that one of my favorite shops, Fishs Eddy, used masses of vintage portraits to decorate their space. I’m always wondering who these people are, what their backstories are, and who painted them: Were they friends? Family? Did they sit for the painter in an art class? I may never know the answers, but I do know that vintage portraits are always in style in my book. They add such a wonderful sense of texture, history and interest to a room. So today I’m sharing 15 of my favorite rooms that celebrate vintage portraits in a big way. Enjoy! xo, grace

Image above: Paige Morse’s “feral shed makeover” highlights a beautiful collection of vintage portraits of women throughout the space. 


Image above: This adorable southern cottage transforms a tiny space with a striking collection of vintage and antique portraits that add a historic/nautical feel. 


This collection of vintage paintings in Benjamin’s home is given special significance in the entryway with a dedicated art lamp above.


This San Francisco home uses portraits to draw attention to a quiet corner.


Heather and Bobby’s home uses vintage portraits in almost every room — embracing them framed and unframed to decorate walls and stairways (above and below).





This Detroit home uses a mix of vintage and modern portraiture to create a dramatic gallery wall in the living room.


Gabriel and Olivier use a mix of vintage portraits in elegant frames to accent their entryway wall.


This Seattle home uses a green half-wall to set off the green in the collection of vintage and antique portraits hanging above.


This Tennessee home uses peach and green accents above the mantel to set the tone in the room. The crowning glory is this stunning vintage portrait of a woman in a peach jacket.


David and Rumaan’s Brooklyn home uses an impressive collection of George Washington portraits to make a bold statement in the family’s dining room (below).


Suggested For You


  • I love the look of vintage portraits, although I must admit I feel a bit strange about displaying people who are strangers to me. I think it can work really well if there’s a theme, like the George Washington collection or all oil paintings done in a certain style. I’ve accidentally started a collection of Beethoven portraits which I think could work out well if I get enough together!

  • It could be a great way to teach your children their “family tree” by using old family portraits reproduced in different ways. My children were bless to have my Aunt Lodi who loved geneology and shared with them. When we lived in Holland and children were ask about their heritage my children knew more than anyone in their classrooms.

Leave a Reply

Design*Droits-Humains reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.