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Decorating with architectural salvage

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Ideas for using architectural salvage as home decor

antique wooden corbel and iron fence section

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Decorating with architectural salvage

Let’s talk about architectural salvage and how I never met any that I didn’t love. Well, there was that one time….  No really, it’s one of my favorite things to use as decor and you’ll see it sprinkled all throughout my house.

Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way! My pal Cindy at County Road 407 also has a weakness for architectural salvage and has organized a group of bloggers to share some ways to use it in your home.

If you’re coming over from Cindy’s, welcome! She always has the best decorating ideas!

Where to find Architectural Salvage

Whenever we travel, I enjoy visiting antique shops. I also love our local shops, vintage markets, barn sales, estate sales, and the Nashville Flea Market. I think you get the idea. 😅 They’re all great places to find interesting architectural salvage.

You can save gas and time and find all kinds of fun vintage pieces online at etsy. And you can always find great reproduction pieces here → Antique Farmhouse and here → Decor Steals.

There are so many types of interesting architectural salvage pieces to decorate with and I’m going to show you a few ways I’ve used them in our home, plus a few dreamy favorites that I’ve spied in shops.

Ideas for Decorating with Architectural Salvage

Saving these items from the landfill is just one of the perks of using them. They’re always a conversation piece and give your home a unique personality.

1. Mantels

Do you ever find an item that you love but don’t know exactly what you’re going to do with it? It definitely happens to me and this old rustic mantel was one of those things.

outdoor mantel with blue and white accents

I found it for $40 at an estate sale and couldn’t pass it up. Did I know where it was going? Nope. But I knew it was coming with me.

See the details of this spring deck decor here: Ideas for Blue and White Deck Decor

salvaged wood mantel on deck with fall decor

I had it attached to our shed, exposed to the weather for a couple of years. Then one day I had an “AHA!” moment and knew exactly where it belonged. It’s been out on our deck for almost 2 years now and is one of my favorite spaces.

Get the details on the fall decor on the deck here: Cozy Rustic Mantel and Fall Decor

My advice: If you love a piece you’ll find a place for it in your home. It may take a while, but if it speaks to you then bring it home.

2. Corbels and Brackets


Large or small, corbels make interesting decor. I have some reproduction corbel bookends from my shop that I’ve used in various places around the house. They look pretty and are great at keeping my old books from falling over.

salvaged brackets corbels used as bookends

I snagged the old large wooden corbel shown on our hearth at a local Vintage Market Days show. I wasn’t really looking for it but loved the shape and size and the price wasn’t horrible. And now It’s one of my favorite pieces.

blue pitcher with peach blossoms and salvaged spindles and corbel

See more of this spring mantel and fireplace decor here: Spring Mantel with Flowers and Vintage Finds

I saw these huge red and white corbels or porch brackets at the “World’s Longest Yard Sale” a few years ago. They’re massive but would really make a statement in any home. And they would be a really cool base for a table.

large salvaged antique wooden corbels

3. Spindles

Spindles, anyone?  This pile was in one of my favorite antique shops in Asheville that has tons of architectural salvage. I love the green and pink ones.

pile of salvaged antique wooden spindles

Look at all of those chunky spindles, corbels, and columns!! When we moved my oldest daughter to Austin a couple of years ago I got to visit the Olde World Antieks shop in nearby LaGrange.

salvage antique wood columns and posts

Oh my goodness. It was packed to the rafters with all kinds of architectural salvage. And my husband was lucky that I didn’t get a moving van to bring stuff home with me.

These old chippy wooden rails would make an awesome console table base. Or you could just mount them to the wall and use them as art.

salvaged antique wooden balusters

Spindles and bedposts are perfect for candleholders. I have some similar ones in my garage that I will make into pillar holders one of these days.

salvaged antique balusters made into candlesticks

These rustic candle holders have been all over our house and have such character and patina.

rustic reclaimed wooden candlesticks

4. Tin Ceiling Tiles

There are lots of things you can do with reclaimed tin ceiling tiles. The two stacks above were at The Tobacco Barn antique shop in Asheville one time when I visited there. It has so many ideas for decorating with architectural salvage.

salvaged antique tin ceiling tiles

These old white ones were at the “World’s Longest Yard Sale” a few years ago. You could hang antique tiles like these on the wall just as they are for some rustic, chippy wall art.

salvaged antique tin ceiling tiles

I have some reproduction tin ceiling tiles from my shop that I’ve used over our living room mantel. They add a nice texture to the space and are a fun backdrop for the little boxwood wreaths. See more of this spring mantel decor here: Spring Mantel Ideas

mantel with vintage decor and boxwood wreaths

The small tin tile plaques were found at the Knoxville Vintage Market Days a few years ago. It’s a great way to use scrap pieces. And I love the different colors on these. Also, more of this fall mantel decor and the free leaf printable art is found here: Rustic Green and Copper Fall Mantel

fall mantel with salvaged materials and vintage decor

The green ones look great with my spring decor. You can get these free vintage botanical printables and see more of this spring mantel here: Spring Entry and Living Room Decor with Free Printable Botanical Art

spring mantel with vintage botanical art and architectural salvage

They can be hung straight or diagonally. More of this fall mantel decor is found here: Fall Fireplace with Warm Muted Colors

salvaged antique wooden corbel and fence section on white fireplace

5. Wrought Iron Fence Sections

The chippy, rusty fence pieces were found at a local antique shop a few years ago. They’re usually on the hearth in our living room or family room and add height and texture to the area.

salvaged rusty iron fence section and antique wooden corbel

6. Salvaged Windows

Stained glass windows are a great way to add pattern and color as well as a little privacy to your windows. I’ve seen them installed over bathtubs to offer privacy while still allowing light to come into the room.

salvaged stained glass windows

The old doctor’s office window came from a building not too far from our home. It’s over 100 years old and is a little fragile. I took it down from here earlier this year and haven’t hung it back up yet. Stay tuned to see where it ends up.

living room with salvaged doctor's office window
living room with salvaged antique doctor's office window

7. Wooden Shutters

Old shutters are fun to hang over a mantel or used as a room divider or privacy screen. See more of this cozy fall look here: 5 Ways to Create a Cozy and Inviting Room

fall mantel with reclaimed shutters and vintage decor

When we bought our 1964 house, two of the bathrooms had these wooden shutters. I replaced them with blinds and hung them over the family room fireplace for a few years as a unique wall hanging.

blue mantel with salvaged shutters and vintage decor

8. Rosettes, Plinths, and Other Detailed Salvaged Architectural Pieces Used for Decor

Little items like vintage wood plinths and rosettes can be tucked into shelves or hung together on the wall in groups. I’ve seen hooks added to these and they look really cute. More of this fall mantel decor can be seen here: Vintage and Natural Fall Decor

architectural salvage and vintage decor on fall mantel

Who would have thought that wall grates could be used for decorative purposes? We visited a friends’ house in Nashville when we lived there and they had a large collection of these that were painted white and hanging on a wall. And I thought it was one of the coolest, most clever things ever.

Look at these dreamy pieces!! I have no idea where they could go in our house but they’re amazing. I saw them at an antique shop in Asheville. What would you do with these?

salvaged antique wood carved church gable

Ceiling medallions are another thing you can use in your decor. On the top right shelf of my craft room I have a new one that looks old.

white shelves with ceiling medallion and cottage decor

Old interesting window frames can be turned into stunning mirrors. Don’t you love the design of this one I saw in Texas?

salvaged quatrefoil window made into a mirror

And here’s another piece that’s stunning. It would look amazing hanging on a wall above a fireplace in a large room. Or it would be an incredible headboard.

carved wooden salvaged cathedral window

9. Reproduction Architectural Salvage Decor Pieces

Since you can’t always find an original, old architectural piece that suits your needs, thankfully there are lots of good reproductions like the arched window frame over our family room fireplace. (Did you also notice the spindles and iron fence section?)

See more of this area here: Simple Spring Mantel with Milk Glass Vases and Flowers

In our guest bedroom, I had a mirror added to second-hand piece of wall decor. I took it to a local glass company and I think it cost about $30 to have the mirror cut and attached. I’ve seen new ones like it here: Petal Circle Mirror. See the details of this room here: Guest Bedroom Update

cozy bedroom with cedar trunk and architectural salvage mirro
salvage window made into a mirror

In our master bedroom I hung a couple of reproduction cathedral windows from my shop for interest. I like to hang wreaths on them during the holidays.

fall bedroom with cathedral window frame on wall

I don’t actually have any old doors at our house besides the one that came with it, lol. But aren’t these dreamy? And would it be wrong to build a house around one of these beauties?

More of our fall bedroom decor is in this post: A Touch of Fall in the Master Bedroom

antique salvaged wood door
salvaged antique door with fretwork
salvaged antique wooden doors with aqua paint

That does it for my favorite finds and ideas for architectural salvage.

What’s your favorite architectural salvage find or something you’re on the hunt for?
And who’s ready to go junking with me after seeing all of these goodies?

architectural salvage pieces

Next up is one of my favorite vintage bloggers, Michelle at The Painted Hinge. You’ll love her style!

And here are all of the bloggers who are sharing ideas for using architectural salvage in your home. Be sure to visit everyone for some amazing inspiration!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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  1. I so much enjoyed every single picture that you shared. You have beautifully decorated your home with architectural salvage pieces and it looks so good.

  2. I love how you've incoporated so many beautiful pieces of salvage into your home and throughout the seasons too, Angie. They're all amazing! I've definitely marked a few places to visit for our next treasure hunting trip. Hope your summer has been a fun one so far, CoCo

    1. Thanks, CoCo. Treasure hunting is always so much fun even if you don't find anything! Hope you're having a great summer as well.

  3. Hi Angie, wow, I love seeing all your amazing pieces of salvage. That doctor's office window is such a fabulous ooak find. Love your mantel out on the deck too. Sounds like you have some great resources for vintage pieces there. Loved your post!

    1. Thank you, Debra! I love the old doctor's office window too. And the mantel was a lucky find.

  4. So many lovely and inspirational images. I wish I had had a chance to visit the Nashville Flea Market but it never seemed to occur when I was visiting.

    1. Thank you! The Nashville Flea Market is only open one weekend of the month. Hopefully you can make it there someday because it's huge and has so much good stuff.

  5. Angie,
    You have some spectacular pieces and such a gift for using them in your home. I can't believe that I've never been to the place in Asheville in that we are just a short hour drive there. It's on my list now!

    1. Thanks so much, Christy! There are a couple of great antique shops in Asheville that I like to check out whenever I'm visiting town. Screendoor is another one that I love. You should definitely make the trip!

  6. So I loved every. single. piece! Did you end up getting those triangle wood pieces? As soon as you asked what to do with them I knew. Add a leg and turn them into Christmas trees! Oh how I wish I had them. They are magnificent! Thank you so much for joining in. I love this post and it's given me things to look out for during my next treasure hunt. pinned

    1. Thanks so much, Cindy! No, I didn't get the big triangle wood pieces. I was traveling and didn't have space for them, plus they were over my budget. They would make awesome Christmas trees, though! Thanks so much for hosting this fun hop!

  7. I love all the pictures from the salvage shops and your ideas on how to incorporate them in decor. I also love all the salvage pieces in your home and how you've incorporated them through the seasons. Your fireplace mantel on your porch has always been a favorite of mine!

    1. Thanks, Michelle! I'm addicted to old pretty salvage pieces and can't resist them when I find a good one. The mantel was a lucky find at a local estate sale and it really makes our covered deck area so cozy.

  8. Wonderful list of architectural elements, Angie! I seriously want to visit some of the stores in your area! I did visit the Nashville flea market and the shops in Franklin when I was there, but that Ashville shop looks so fun! Loved seeing how you use many vintage and repro finds in your home, too. The shutters over the mantel is a favorite:)

  9. Love your ideas with all those beautiful salvage pieces❤️
    I always enjoy your blog, you are truly creative 🥰

  10. This is such a great post full of so many ideas for using architectural salvage in creative ways and reproduction pieces too! I love how you have styled the corbels, salvage mantel (what a steal) and oher finds in your home. All the photos with the great antiques and salvage pieces make me want to take a junkin' road trip asap! I plan to visit Asheville this fall so I am going to hit up that shop your shared for sure!

    Pinning lots of inspo here. So fun hopping with you!

  11. you have such great pieces!!! Absolutely beautiful! I love using old architectural pieces in my home too! thank you so much for giving me so much inspo!!! definitely pinning! So pretty!!!

  12. I love antique and vintage stuff too. But southeast Florida doesn’t have a huge selection available. I did find an old iron grate/vent like the ones you asked “what would you to do with these?” I was going to use it as a lamp base but it is way too heavy. Eventually we used it as a stepping stone to where we keep our garbage cans. We were forever tracking sand and dirt into the house after dropping garbage into the can so my husband dug in the back of the grate and when we step on the open front of it all the dirt falls through.

  13. I love architectural salvage, I made some lamps out of two old posts. I have used old windows, one I got from my grandmother’s old house, where my mom was raised. Made it into a mirror. Thanks for all the ideas.

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