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25 + Repurposed Architectural Salvage Ideas: Budget Vintage Decor & More

Looking to add a touch of character to your home decor? Salvage architecture is a budget-friendly way to add unique style with easy DIY options. Repurposed architectural salvage can be incorporated into your home design and used for many vintage decorating ideas. These 25 + architectural decorating ideas will unleash your creativity and help you to transform architectural salvage into conversation-starting pieces for your one-of-a-kind home!

Reclaimed Beach Cottage Windows repurposed as a outdoor kitchen cabinet.

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What is Vintage Architectural Salvage?

Inject history and character into your living space with vintage architectural salvage! Architectural salvage refers to reclaimed building materials and decorative elements that are given a second life as stunning home decor. From weathered corbels to ornate fretwork and unique doors, architectural salvage offers a wealth of possibilities for adding a touch of vintage charm, industrial vibes, or rustic warmth to your home.

Legacy Salvage Architectural Salvage.  Old doors, large wooden vent cover, and more.

Examples of Architectural Salvage

Here are some examples of architectural salvage to look for.

  • Old Windows
  • Porch Columns, railings, posts
  • Moldings
  • Fretwork
  • Mantels
  • Shutter
  • Ceiling tins
  • Corbels
  • Pediments
  • Banisters
  • Old Doors
  • Wooden Vents or Gabel Vents
  • Reclaimed Flooring
  • Shiplap, beadboard, or other rescued wooden wall and ceiling materials
  • Light Fixtures
Architectural Salvage Decorating ideas with old shutter, corbel and reclaimed window.
Reclaimed old window, shutter, and corbel are stacked together for a vintage vignette.

How To Incorporate Salvage Architecture Into Your Home Design

If you are looking to boast the character of your home, incorporating salvaged architecture into your design will ensure your home is anything but ordinary.

In addition, architectural salvage can offer a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to build or remodel your home. Repurposing materials reduces environmental impact compared to purchasing new materials.

Vintage old door and glass door knob in powder room with gallery wall

What Design Styles Are Best For Using Architectural Salvage?

Architectural salvage offers so many options. Many vintage pieces are antiques and mid-century designs. These salvaged elements can be incorporated into various design styles, from modern minimalist to industrial chic to farmhouse to cottage style.

Whether incorporated into your home design or displayed on a wall, these vintage treasures can serve as one-of-a-kind art.

Antique Metal Ceiling Tiles reclaimed from an old furniture store in Wilmington, NC, create a unique art display above the farmhouse front doors.

Architectural Salvage Wall Decor using antique metal Ceiling tiles over front french doors.

Thrifting with the Gals

Today’s post is part of our monthly series, Thrifting with the Gals.

If you are new to our series, we are friends who share a love for vintage and thrifted decorating.

We all live in different parts of the country, but we come together once a month to share thrift store shopping ideas and tips on decorating with your treasures.

Here are the Gals:

  • Ann from Dabbling and Decorating finds her treasures as she travels between Vermont and Maine. She decorates both homes with so many vintage treasures.
  • Kristin from White Arrows Home loves thrifting in Minnesota and adds some of her finds to her vintage store.
  • Robyn from Robyn’s French Nest loves to travel and bring her vintage treasure to her lovely Florida Home.
  • Lora from Lora Bloomquist Create and Ponder is joining us as a permanent addition to Thrifting with the Gals. We are so happy to have another vintage lover among us.
  • I am from North Carolina, and I love filling my farmhouse and beach cottage with thrift store finds. I focus on budget-friendly decorating and DIY projects.
  • This month, our guest host is the talented Joanna Anastasia. Joanna is the mom of three littles but still finds time for thrifting.

How To Repurpose And Decorate With Architectural Salvage

Let’s begin with ways to repurpose and decorate with architectural salvage. Many of the reclaimed vintage pieces can be used in various ways around your home. These tips will help you determine ways to use pieces you own and help you look for your next treasure.

How To Use Reclaimed Old Windows

Old reclaimed windows can be incorporated into a home design or used as decorative decor. Here are a few examples.

  1. Create a gallery wall using old windows for architectural salvage wall decor. This gallery began with one window to disguise an unsightly vent. The glass was removed and replaced with chicken wire. It looked lonely all by itself, so I added a few more to fill the stairway wall.
  2. Another resourceful use for windows is to disguise the ugly air exchange that is beside the wine bar.

3. Stack windows on a table or shelf to create a backdrop for decorating. Allow the windows to rest against the wall or hang them. These windows were rescued from beside a dumpster at a recycling drop spot.

Stacked old windows for architectural salvage decorating on chippy old cabinet in screened porch.

4. Repurpose old salvaged windows into a mirror. This unique window was found at Antique Tobacco Barn in Asheville, NC.

Vintage Salvage architecture mirror made from antique window frame in guest bathroom with repurposed vanity.

5. For more ambitious projects, you can repurpose windows into a kitchen cabinet.

These windows were salvaged from our 1940s Beach Cottage, and Brad repurposed them into an outdoor kitchen storage cabinet.

Reclaimed old windows from 1940's beach cottage upcycled into an outdoor kitchen cabinet.

Insider Tip

If you plan to incorporate old windows into your home design, you will most likely need to replace the weather striping or caulk around the panes. With age, the weather stripping becomes brittle and breaks away.

As a precaution, check the stripping before hanging an old window. You don’t want a piece of glass to accidentally fall out.

Architectural Salvage Porch Posts and Columns

Old porch posts, spindles, columns, fretwork, and railings offer a multitude of options for upcycling and reusing.

I have several porch posts that I’ve used for architectural decorating and repurposing.

I found 4 posts at Collectors Antique Mall in Asheboro, NC. We used two and built a potting table for the greenhouse with old windows for the top. The other two salvaged architecture framed the TV in the living room for a few years.

Then, last fall, inspiration struck, and they were repurposed to create a Faux Fireplace Mantel and completely transformed the space. All pieces of the porch post were utilized to create the shabby chic mantel.

Architectural Salvage old porch posts repurposed into a shabby chic faux fireplace mantel.

In the dining area, a chippy salvaged porch column fills a tiny corner next to the church pew. Then, next to the column is the DIY Wall Plate Rack, which was enhanced with old porch spindles.

Old porch column with chippy church pew next to a DIY wall Plate Rack with architectural salvage spindles for sides.

Another old chippy porch post adds to the front porch decor and can be easily moved to work with different displays.

Vintage architectural salvage porch post and old shutters on farmhouse front porch.

Old Shutter Salvage Architecture

Another popular piece of salvage architecture is old shutters. The tall door shutters are actually repurposed window shutters. You can see the DIY tutorial at The Best Ideas To Make Door Shutters.

Vintage Architectural Salvage Window Shutters repurposed into Black Door Shutters with DIY metal Wreath

In addition, shutters make great architectural salvage wall decor. You can add hooks or pegs to hang items in an entry area or decorate with wreaths or even milk glass vases to enhance the architectural salvage decorating in your home.

Another vintage shutter was a yard sale score and has been repurposed into a rustic headboard.

Yard Sale vintage shutter repurposed as a headboard in guest cottage.

Old Vintage Doors

If you are looking for old vintage doors to incorporate into your home design, they are fairly easy to find.

I recently shared How To Repurpose Antique Doors For Farmhouse Charm. We used many old doors when building our new farmhouse.

Adding barn door hardware is a fun and easy way to repurpose doors. The unique door was found at an antique store while we were building the farmhouse. It is topped with more architectural salvage fretwork, which we found at a barn sale.

Unique barn door using an antique door and reclaimed vintage fretwork for architectural salvage decorating.

Another huge project using reclaimed doors is the DIY greenhouse, or she shed. We built the greenhouse using french glass doors rescued from the coast after a hurricane. In addition, the salvage architecture shiplap siding helped to make the project budget-friendly.

DIY Greenhouse with reclaimed old french doors

Old doors can also be used as headboards or hung on the wall for visual interest when decorating with salvage architecture.

Old Mantels

I’ve seen many old mantels used to create faux fireplaces, headboards, and TV stands. We had one that was used as a faux fireplace mantel in our previous home. When we moved to the farmhouse, we repurposed it into a shelf above our bed. The mantel was flipped upside down to create a unique design.

The legs of the mantel were then used to create a cabinet over the toilet in our guest bathroom.

Salvaged Corbels, Pediments, Capitals

Next, here are some of the most interesting items for architectural salvage decorating.

Architectural salvage pediments make a statement over doorways, wall art, etc. Here, an old pediment is used to top the TV in our living room. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the DIY fireplace mantel.

Vintage salvaged pediment over TV with shabby chic faux fireplace mantel.

I love using corbels to create vignettes on shelves and tables. They are also great for supporting shelving. You can make lamps and wall scones using old corbels for architectural salvage decorating.

Salvaged Barnwood, Flooring, Shiplap

When we were building the farmhouse, I wanted to use reclaimed or salvaged flooring. However, the cost and accessibility put this dream out of reach.

However, we have used some old salvaged barn wood and shiplap around the house.

Although we didn’t build it ourselves, the coffee table top is made from old barn wood.

reclaimed old barn wood made into a industrial style coffee table.

My dad had a stack of salvaged shiplap and we used several pieces in the construction of our greenhouse. It was also used for many smaller projects, such as the DIY address sign above our front door.

Architectural salvage shiplap boards used to create a one of a kind DIY Address Sign.

Vintage Light Fixtures For Architectural Salvage Decorating

Antique light fixtures pulled from old homes and businesses create a unique touch and character to a home. Although they may require updated wiring, they will certainly add unmatched charm to your decor.

For industrial architectural salvage decorating, vintage gas station lights were used over the kitchen island. The enamelware lights were purchased from Collector’s Antique Mall, Asheboro, NC.

Two similar enamelware fixtures were found at a barn sale and were also used in the new farmhouse.

Kitchen Light fixtures.  Vintage enamelware gas station lights for vintage architectural salvage decorating.

Where To Shop For Vintage Architectural Salvage?

You can find vintage architectural salvage at vintage and antique shops, yard sales, flea markets, barn sales, and thrift stores.

If you are looking for unique pieces, check with architectural salvage shops, demolition companies, and other online resources, such as Etsy, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace.

Insider Tip – Trash To Treasure

Keep your eyes open for roadside and dumpster finds especially around remodeling projects for salvage architecture. I find that one man’s trash is truly another’s treasure in these situations.

I’ve seen great cast iron sinks, old cabinets, and more by the roadside of remodeling projects.

You can also get great windows to decorate with if you see window replacement in progress. It saves the company from paying to dump the old windows and they are happy for you to take them.

Note: You can expect to pay more at businesses specializing in reselling architectural salvage. However, there are still deals to be found.

More From Thrifting With The Gals

Joanna – Fun, Colorful Thrifted Spring Decor / Kirstin – Beautiful Vintage Cake Plates & Carriers

Robyn – 15 Ideas To Decorate Your Home For Nearly Free/ Lora –Vintage Style Church Themed Collection

Ann – Vintage Bedroom Inspiring Ideas / Rachel – 25 Repurposed Architectural Salvage Ideas

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.

Budget-Friendly Decorating ideas using repurposed architectural salvage and reclaimed materials.

Cheryl Atkinson

Monday 25th of March 2024

Hi Rachel! So many great pieces and things you and your husbnand have made with old architectural pieces. I love all of the photos. So inspirational. Thank you!


Tuesday 26th of March 2024

Cheryl, Thank you so much. We love it thrill of the hunt and project challenges. Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday 24th of March 2024

So inspiring and fun to see how you use salvaged pieces! You have such a gift!


Monday 25th of March 2024

Kristin, I'm so glad you found this interesting. Thanks for stopping by.

Lora Bloomquist

Saturday 23rd of March 2024

It was so fun to see your awesome architectural salvage finds repurposed throughout your beautiful home, Rachel. You've got great finds; I know we both share the love for the old junk!


Sunday 24th of March 2024

Lora, I really appreciate this. Yes! Especially roadside finds. LOL

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Saturday 23rd of March 2024

It's so fun to see how you have incorporated your repurposed architectural salvage pieces, Rachel. I love that greenhouse you built with reclaimed doors!


Sunday 24th of March 2024

Kim, You were the inspiration for that greenhouse.


Thursday 21st of March 2024

So much eye candy in that post! I love your tips- especially to keep our eyes on roadside and dumpster finds - I always stop when I see some and ppl always laugh at me! But I know that's where treasures hide!


Thursday 21st of March 2024

Joanna, Absolutely. Some of my favorite pieces are roadside finds.