New Uses for Vintage Furniture

Beth Rice 02/01/2020

As we ring in the new year, make our lists of resolutions and feel inspired by a clean slate, it’s out with the old and in with the new, right?

Well, maybe not in all cases.

You might share our view on vintage furniture which is this: we love furniture that is built so well it lasts a long time. How long? Well, we mean decades, until it has earned the title “vintage.” Having furniture that long means it has seen a good part of your story, become part of your home, and is enjoyed by family and friends.

If your vintage furniture has been around so long that you are tired of looking at it in the same space, what about trying something new? We’ve taken three of our favorites–the dry sink, the pie safe and the lingerie chest–and come up with ideas on how to take these vintage pieces and use them in new ways.

New Ways to Use Your Vintage Dry Sink

The dry sink was widely used during the late 18th century. Dry sinks were basically indoor sinks without plumbing. They consisted of a wood cabinet with a water pitcher and basin. I remember watching Pa use one on Little House on the Prairie as he washed up before sitting down to one of Ma’s tasty meals. Dry sinks were used in kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms or washrooms. Some models had a bar or hook to hang a towel on for drying. This wash-up station was an important piece of furniture and was also used for washing dishes or vegetables.

How can you put a new twist on your vintage dry sink?

  • Use it as a server.

The dry sink top makes a great mini server for appetizers and snacks. They can be relied on during any party as an extra space to serve food.

  • Use it decoratively.

Dry sinks are perfect for displaying family photos in the hallway, foyer, bedroom or family room. Consider making your dry sink the spot for fresh flowers in your favorite vase. They make an elegant display area when you’re not using them for serving.

  • Set up a mini bar.

There is just the right amount of room for an ice bucket, some glasses, and a few of your favorite bottles of wine. The dry sink adds a chic look to a mini bar guests will love using.

  • Use it for plants and potting.

The dry sink provides a nice spot to display indoor plants. Store pots below and enjoy a surface for potting up those cute succulents as they grow.

  • Turn it into your bathroom vanity.

Picture your collection of perfumes, soaps and candles along with a lighted mirror on a dry sink turned bathroom vanity.

New Ways to Use Your Vintage Pie Safe

Pie safes, also known as pie cabinets, pie safe cupboards or pie chests, never lose their charm. There’s something about a cute, solid wood cabinet that keeps working no matter how much time passes. Pie safes date back to the 1700s when they were used to store pies and other perishable items. Enclosing them helped keep the contents fresh, helped prevent mold and kept out pests. They were popular throughout a good part of the 19th century and were the closest thing to a fridge during that time. Once the icebox came on the scene, pie safes started to fade.  

Some pie safes have doors on the front and include screens or tin with small holes allowing air to circulate that helped prevent mold. Some featured designs punched in the tin, adding to their charm. Other models included a copper front with designs on it with the copper color adding to their warmth.

How can you revive your pie safe in a new way?

  • Use them for storage.

Use a pie safe for storage in the kitchen for baking items, dry goods, and spices, in the dining room for tableware and candles, or in the bathroom for toiletries and linens.

Pie safes make for great toy storage in the nursery, playroom or kid’s bedroom, or in the living room area where the kids play.

Amish Galloway Shaker Pie Safe with Tin Doors
The Amish Galloway Shaker Pie Safe with Tin Doors
  • Use it as a jewelry box.

Tuck away baubles, bands and more using a pie safe for your jewelry. It will look attractive in your bedroom, closet or master bathroom area.

  • Tuck away gift wrap. 

Your pie safe provides a good spot for ribbons, bows, tape, cards and tissue paper for gifts.

New Ways to Use Your Vintage Lingerie Chest

The lingerie chest was made to handle delicate items. Its slim design usually contains four to seven stacking drawers, and it uses more vertical space, allowing it to easily fit in tight spots. It’s a slender dresser that offers storage that’s just right for smaller items. It saves room in your regular dresser and prevents damage to delicate items. Lingerie stored in a lingerie chest will hold its shape better and last longer.

What other ways can you use your vintage lingerie chest?

  • Organize linens.

Move your slender lingerie chest into the dining room or living room and consider storing cloth napkins, tablecloths, napkin rings and other linens.

  • Use it in the bathroom.

The small drawers are perfect for small washcloths and towels, candles and toiletries.

  • For hallway or foyer storage

Let the lingerie chest dress up a hallway and store keys, chargers, mail and more as you come and go. The top of the chest provides room to display some family photos or flowers.

  • Cute for crafting.

The collection of drawers is great for keeping crafting supplies in one place. A drawer for tape and ribbons for wrapping or crafting supplies like yarn, needles, patterns and more can find a new home here.

What other suggestions do you have for new ways to use vintage furniture?

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