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15 Ways To Add Cozy Vintage Charm By Decorating with Antique Quilts

Are you looking to add some unique character and charm to your home decor this year? You should consider decorating with antique quilts to instantly create the popular cottagecore aesthetic. Antique quilts are more than just beautiful fabrics; they are works of art, each stitch telling a story of the hands that made it. The craftsmanship, attention to detail, and designs are amazing. Antique quilts are incredibly versatile decorating tools. They can be used in countless ways, from bedding and blankets to wall hangings and tablecloths. They add instant color and pattern, and their unique textures can soften even the most modern space. Check out these 15 ways to decorate with antique patchwork quilts that will instantly add cozy vintage charm to your home.

If you are fortunate enough to have inherited heirloom quilts, I hope you are displaying them. Many are hidden away in closets and cupboards; however, today, we are going to bring them out of hiding.

Vintage quilts handing on a pegboard rack. with an old sifter and shiplap walls.

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My Personal Quilting Experience

I’m a huge quilt fan and took a lap quilting class in the ’80s. I made one quilt and several pillows but never had the time to complete a second quilt. It was a very labor-intensive project, and my time was limited with a small daughter.

DIY lap quilt made in 1983 with pink and blue with white ruffle edge.

I just realized that this quilt is now VINTAGE! What???? Here is my favorite square on my vintage quilt. Notice I traced my daughter’s hand and stitched the date in the corner. It’s hard to read, but it’s 1/2/84. The upper corner has her name and date of birth stitched in the square.

I admire all the hard work and creativity that goes into these once-utilitarian blankets. Although I love and will never part with my quilt, I prefer the antique quilts because I love the unique patterns and recycled fabrics used to create these art pieces.

I was inspired to create scrap fabric pillows after decorating our guest bed with a family quilt. You can see links at the end of this post for my scrap fabric pillow creations.

Lifestyle of Love

I’m so thankful that Cindy at County Road 407 invited me to share about decorating with quilts. It’s been fun looking back and reimagining these family treasures. If you are joining me from Cindy’s blog, I’m so glad you stopped by.

What Were Antique Quilts Used For?

Most antique quilts were made of patchwork fabrics. Early settlers in America made patchwork quilts from old clothes, feed sacks, and any materials they could find. The purpose of the quilts was for warmth, and many were not of a decorative design.

However, many considered their quilts a memory book using scrap fabrics from children’s clothing, wedding dresses, etc. Quilts became popular with many patterns of patchwork fabrics.

The log cabin quilt pattern was very popular as pioneers traveled west. The quilt represented home and security. Some early Antique patchwork quilt patterns include Hole in the Barn Door, Old Maid Puzzle, Flower Basket, and Double Wedding Ring.

I have my great-grandmother’s Star quilt, and although it’s very fragile, I like to display it, especially during the winter months. Adding the antique quilt to a vintage ladder is one way to display a fragile antique safely. The quilt and old wooden spool garland add a cozy feel to this corner of the living room.

Another way to display quilt art is to hang it on the wall. You can use a quilt hanger to keep the quilt from sagging when hung. A hanger will also help protect a fragile quilt from tearing.

Family heirloom antique quilt hanging on a vintage ladder with wooden spool tassel garland.

Where To Find Old Quilts?

If you are looking to create a curated, cottagecore aesthetic for your home, a great way is to add vintage and antique quilts. But where can you find the artesian treasures?

First, keep your eyes open at thrift stores and consignment shops. Other than my family heirlooms, all of my collection was found while thrifting and for a minimal cost. Antique malls and stores will usually have a hefty price tag.

You can shop online at Etsy and eBay for vintage quilts and repurposed quilt accessories.

Insider Tip

Don’t look for perfection with antique quilts. It’s hard to find a perfect antique quilt; if you do, the price will most likely be prohibitive.

If the damage is minimal, you can still decorate your home with the quilt, or if you are crafty, it can be repurposed.

Decorating with Vintage Quilts

One of my favorite ways to showcase vintage quilts is by adding them to a pegboard rack or old ladder. However, they look lovely displayed on an old bed, folded at the foot of the bed, or draped on a chair or sofa.

Vintage Quilt Bedding

I often add a quilt to my guest bed. Most old quilts are too small to cover a king-size bed, but our guest bedroom is a double. With the ruffled bedspread underneath, the quilt fits perfectly over the top.

Family heirloom quilt used a bedspread on antique iron bed in guest room.

Using the ruffled bedspread as a dust ruffle allows the quilts to be changed seasonally. If your bed is too large to accommodate the quilt as a cover, fold the quilt at the foot for a splash of color.

Yard sale antique quilt used a bedspread on antique iron bed in guest room.

Quilts for Tablecloths

Another fun way to decorate with a vintage quilt is to use them for a tablecloth or spread them on the ground for a picnic.

To warm up the dining table for winter, this fun pink and brown yard sale quilt makes a stunning Valentine’s table display. The colors coordinate well with the Paper Rose Valentine’s Wreath.

Patchwork Vintage Quilt used as a cozy tablecloth.  Yard Sale antique quilt.

I love using this brightly colored quilt for outdoor summer and fall dining. Although Rudy doesn’t look very impressed. LOL

Patchwork Thrifted Quilt used as a tablecloth for outdoor dinner party.  Red chairs and feastive colored patchwork quilt.

Display Quilts In Baskets, Chairs, etc.

When we removed our Christmas tree from this corner, the empty copper cauldron looked lonely. Instead of hiding it until next Christmas, I quickly filled it with a few vintage quilts.

If you don’t have an oversized cauldron, look for a large basket, galvanized tub, or other containers to display these splashes of color.

Add vintage quilts to an antique copper cauldron to display cottagecore cozy home decor.

Another option is to cozy up the deconstructed chair with one of the vintage quilts. Add a quilt to the back of your sofa, side chair, or porch rockers to use as a throw blanket.

Drape a deconstructed chair with an antique quilt and add folk art pillows.

How To Repurpose Vintage Quilts

What if the quilt is really damaged? Don’t despair if you find a damaged quilt for a great price. If you are crafty, you can always find ways to repurpose vintage quilts.

I have several hearts made from old quilts, and I love adding them to our guest room bedding.

Repurposed Antique Quits into decorative hearts for Valentines Day.

You can fill a bowl or hang them on a garland. They can be cut into other shapes, such as snowmen, rag dolls, etc.

Repurposed old quilts into unique decor like puffy hearts.

You can also frame sections of antique quilts, add pieces to a pillow cover, or make a cute pig-shaped pillow with a well-worn old quilt. This one was a thrift store find, and he looks cute, nestled with other pillows on our porch.

Display Folded Quilts a Cupboard

Finally, when all else fails, fold your quilts and display them in an open front cabinet or one with a glass door. My dad’s old gun cabinet has been repurposed to hold family photos and vintage finds.

Antique and Vintage Quilts in Old Gun Cabinet.  Ways to Display old quilts.

When looking to cozy up your home, authentic vintage quilts are a perfect solution. So, let’s pull our family heirlooms out of the closet or get to the thrift stores and find some. LOL. Good Luck!

Scrap Fabric Pillows

Here are the no-sew scrap fabric pillow cover tutorials that are inspired by vintage quilts.

Want to see some more creative quilt decorating ideas? Hop over and pick up some tips on folding and displaying vintage quilts from Ann at Dabbling and Decorating. You can click the links below to see all the inspiration.

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Pin It To Remember It

Did you find some great ideas you’d like to save for future reference? Hover over the images you’d like to save and pin to your favorite Pinterest Boards when you see the PIN button.

Vintage Quilts for Cottagecore and Vintage Charm in a Modern Farmhouse, traditional home and more.


Sunday 21st of January 2024

My story is a little different. I have always loved quilts, even as a young girl. I was fortunate enough to end up with my grandmother's quilts...she was a beautiful quilter and the mother to 11 children. One thing you hope never happens is your home catches fire as our 5 year old house did. (A bird built her nest on our chimney and when we started up our fireplace, the nest caught on fire, etc.) So my hubby gets our 5 children, dogs, cats, rabbit into our car and gets it away from the house and gets important papers, etc. So...he thinks about me and what I really would like to keep. Thankfully, my quilts were upstairs, being displayed, so he threw them out the window. One of my friends scooped them up and took them to her house to be washed as the firemen had already stomped on them. I still have them and they are always displayed and since my hubby is now in a nursing home, provides me with fond memories of what he did for me. Also, this might have been mentioned, but never store your quilts in plastic, always in pillowcases, sheets or something cotton. Plastic weakens the fabric. Thank you for reading my post and blessings to each of you.


Monday 22nd of January 2024

Rose, That is an amazing story and thank you for sharing. Sound like you have a very thoughtful husband. Yes, I don't store in plastic.

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Saturday 20th of January 2024

There are so many great ways to show off your vintage quilts. I always love using quilts as tablecloths.


Sunday 21st of January 2024

Kim, Thanks for stopping by. Yes, they are so cozy as tablecloths.

Lora Bloomquist

Friday 19th of January 2024

Your copper cauldron looks awesome filled with quilts! You have a beautiful collection, Rachel; loved seeing them used in so many ways throughout your home.


Friday 19th of January 2024

Lora, I really appreciate your comments. Collecting is fun.

Janet Finley

Thursday 18th of January 2024

I can't make myself cut up a damaged quilt, so I use old doilies to applique over holes. I like finding ways to salvage all the hours of work our ancestors put in.


Thursday 18th of January 2024

Janet, That is a great tip for repairing damaged quilts. Thank you for sharing.


Wednesday 17th of January 2024

You have a wonderful collection, Rachel. Love how you use them so many ways. My MIL was a quilting "artist" and I have several of hers. I made a quilt top once about 30 years ago and like you, realized I just didn't have the time or patience to stick with it. My actual quilting stitches were horrible. Love the small stuffed hearts for Valentine's Day.


Wednesday 17th of January 2024

Debra, Yes, I admire those who stick with it. Thanks for stopping by.