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Reinventing Vintage as a Statement Piece

By Lee Rennick

Style is about achieving a look that says – WOW! In interior design, the wow factor is created in every room by using lighting, color, texture, and shape to highlight a focal point. Often these elements enhance a single “statement piece” that draws the eye into the room. Vintage pieces, either in their natural state or reimagined, are the perfect item to make that statement, bring out the singularity of the room, and individuality of the family that lives there.

Antiques are one-of-a-kind, and stand out, breaking up the sameness of a room full of modern mass-produced furniture. Often this furniture is also better made – from real wood instead of veneer over fiberboard, which is how a lot of furniture is made today. Antiques also have a story to tell, are a part of history, honor a deceased family member, or come from another place.

Today’s stylists and designers are blending old and new items to create homes that are eclectic, have character, and are totally modern. No matter whether your style is traditional, farmhouse, industrial, contemporary, transitional, minimalist, or totally modern, a vintage piece of furniture or accent piece made from old parts will add charm and make a room shine. Rutherford County has a number of stores that sell antiques, and reinvented furniture and accent pieces, like one-of-a-kind light fixtures. Here are ideas from some of these stores for every room of a home, including your backyard living space.


The first thing people see when they enter your home is your entry hall. While it is best not to have any clutter in this area, placing a bold piece in the entry makes the space memorable and inviting to visitors. It is also a place to do something that is least expected.

Lowry Street Pickers in Smyrna, has an Art Deco chest of drawers that, with a touch of love and a few plants, could be made into a memorable statement piece in the entry hall.

While many people are painting distressed furniture with milk and chalk paint, what makes this particular piece stand out is the woodwork. The marquetry (or inlayed wood veneer) is what distinguishes it from today’s furniture. The faux pink marble detailing on the top handles, and the ornate pulls make it beautiful as is for a more causal home, while some repairs will be necessary in a more formal home.

This piece is very minimalist because it is so ornate in its own right. A simple bowl placed on the top to collect keys so they don’t get lost, and green plants cascading from plastic lined drawers will make it a knock-out.


When looking for a statement piece for the living room, most would think of a remarkable piece of artwork or a colorful couch, but Deneen Glidwell knows how to take a vintage chair and turn it into a piece of art. Owner of dreamingincolor, which is part gift store and part antique store with a twist, Glidwell knows how to turn old and tired pieces of furniture into something new and exciting.

“I had this antique chair for years in storage waiting for the right material to inspire me”, said Glidwell. I happened to find this [patterned fabric] at Hobby Lobby. I wanted a blue velvet but I also wanted to do a coordinating fabric on the back, which I seldom do for a custom designer piece. I felt like these two together were perfect. The wood on the chair wasn’t very good so I decided to use the furniture paint I carry at dreamingincolor to paint all the wood. It is painted in Country Chic Paint in the color Cheesecake, since it looked the best with the background color of the patterned material. I kept the original tufting pattern on the chair and added the silver upholstery tacks to finish it off. It is one of my favorite pieces.”

Another way to make your living room pop is by creating a gallery wall full of unique art.

Funtiques on the square in Murfreesboro carries an assortment of timeless original artwork, prints, and more that can be blended together. Owner Barbara Wall will happily help you pull in a few pieces from new artists when she is open during the Boro Art Crawl.

“Creating an art wall using vintage artwork is a perfect way to give character and add something unique to your space,” said Wall. “You might want to personalize the space by using old photography, postcards, maps, baskets, silver trays, even a favorite building design or landscape drawing. Always use artwork that complements the color and style of your space.”


Some say that the dining room is a thing of the past with our less formal way of entertaining, and yet, there is still nothing like bringing a group of friends around the table for good food and good conversation. Make that table the focus of your dining room by choosing either a one-of a-kind light fixture made from old parts, or a table and chair set that is a juxtaposition of old and new.

ReVintaged Lemon carries some of the most unique light fixtures anywhere because they are created by Pete Silva, husband of co-owner Sylvia. His creations would look amazing over a farmhouse, industrial chic, or totally modern table.

One of his lamps, made from part of an old hay trolley, would look great over a large rustic dining table making the room pop. It is certainly a conversation piece, as is his barn rope and pulley fixture made with Edison bulbs. It would be a unique way to light a smaller dining table, or it could be used as an accent light in a dark corner breakfast nook.

“I try to make each light a statement piece,” said Silva, “unique yet unassuming. Each individual light fixture must have balance in design and detail and flow with its surroundings. Weather I upcycle or repurpose an item, vintage or otherwise, I always try to create that one of a kind piece.

Turning something old or discarded into a functioning work of art is very rewarding,” 

To find the right table to put under one of Silva’s lights, look no further than Antique Centers I & II. The stores are an institution, offering fun and uncommon furniture and housewares. They have an assortment of dining tables and quaint chairs. From rustic farm tables and modern metal chairs to more refined Victorian styles to sleek Mid-Century Modern examples.

Looking for dishes and glassware that is different to give your table setting some zip, they also have tons of really cool vintage dishes and glassware. Whether you are looking for a matched set, or want to blend old and new, you are sure to find pieces you can’t resist here. Be cheeky, mixing multi-colored Fiestaware with fine rose cut glass goblets. Or use old fine china on your farmhouse table with modern glassware. Be creative and develop your own style.


Our homes are reflections of ourselves, and they are also our oasis away from the world when we need to recharge and reflect. The master bedroom and bathroom are the ultimate get away, so they are the perfect place to find unique pieces of furniture that are luxurious and beautiful.

Find a bed that draws the eye to it as the center of the room, and that offers plenty of room to rest and repose. Greenhouse Ministry’s Garden Patch Resale Shop constantly gets one-of-a kind pieces that they offer at very reasonable prices. One such item is a king-sized solid wood and rattan bed frame with a head and footboard. The bed inspires thoughts of a lush mattress with luxury flax linen sheets, a lofty duvet, and lots of down pillows to melt into after a long hard day.

A spa-like bathroom is just as important as a sumptuous bed. Dawn Goodman’s booth at Hylabrook Antique Mall holds the perfect cabinet to store fluffy Egyptian cotton bath sheets, exotic scented oils, and handmade soaps in your spa-like master bathroom.

“It is called a Breton Armoire,” said Goodman, “and it comes from France. It was part of an auction that I went to. I have two additional matching pieces that I could not fit in my booth.” The furniture comes from the French province of Brittany. It is also known as Bretagne, and was an independent Celtic kingdom. It is still considered one of the six Celtic nations that exist in the world today. The carving on the furniture from this region is ornate, using Celtic symbols and characters tied to its maritime economy – like the ship’s wheels seen on this armoire. It is handmade, and was most popular in the 19th century. The designs are also used on storage chests, china cabinets, and tables.


Storage in the kitchen is always needed, and with open concept homes, sometimes that storage needs to be multi-purpose and esthetically pleasing. Re-InVintage, owned by Terry Lea and Sherri Brown, has an interesting piece of Art Deco furniture that was used in kitchens between the1930s and 1950s. It is called a Hoosier Chest.

“Hoosier cabinets were designed to be a compact and portable all-in-one kitchen with storage for flour, sugar, spices and dishes,” said Lea. “The enamel work surface pulled out to become a small table for a quick meal. Even as built-in cabinets and expansive counters became the norm in modern kitchens, cooks were reluctant to part with these family heirlooms. Many modern farmhouse kitchens have a Hoosier Cabinet that is used for rolling out pastries and biscuits, or as a desk or coffee station.”


With the continued interest in extending our living spaces out into the yard, not just in the summer, but year-round, there are more elaborate entertaining areas, as well as He-Sheds and She-Sheds.

Another growing trend is to build a greenhouse for nurturing all those lovely plants that were on the patio during the summer through the winter. Building a greenhouse out of old windows makes it beautiful and uncommon. M & M Thrifty Pieces is the source for old windows. They have and sell tons of them.

“We also have examples of other ways to use old windows in the store,” said Jean Harrison, one of the owners.

Vintage windows can be used to create shelving, a great place to hang coats, or some chalk paint can make a family message board.


Using vintage pieces in your home not only brings out the individuality of your home and personality, but it also helps the environment. Every year tons and tons of well-loved furniture is being thrown into the dump instead of passed from one generation to the next, as in the past. But with a dash of love and imagination, this trash can be made into somebody’s treasure.

An old bar cart can become a plant stand, and a vintage Chinese cabinet can become a place to store art supplies or office supplies for a home office.

If you are looking for totally unique décor, the place to go is Smotherman’s Antiques. They have items you will find nowhere else. Just look for the big blue rooster off Murfreesboro city square. Using vintage décor is also sustainable and statement making, like a collection of old door knobs arranged in artisan made bowls, you’ll find these at Smotherman’s.


Vintage touches will add depth and character to your home, especially if they have meaning to you in the form of a family heirloom with a story, or one out of a slice of time, like a Hoosier or Breton chest.

In the end, however, it is as Nate Berkus says, “Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love.”


Antique Centers I & II
2213 South Church Street, Murfreesboro

504 N. Maney Avenue, Murfreesboro

118 S. Maple Street, Murfreesboro

Greenhouse’s Garden Patch Thrift Shoppe
309 South Spring Street, Murfreesboro

Hylabrook Antique Mall
204 Chaffin Place, Murfreeboro

Lowry Street Pickers
98 N. Lowry Street, Suite 101, Smyrna

Magnolia House Antiques
101 Main Street, Smyrna

M & M Thrifty Pieces
628 N. Walnut Street, Suite B, Murfreesboro

River Rock Boulevard, Murfreesboro

Revintaged Lemon
423 N. Walnut Street, Murfreesboro

Smotherman’s Antiques
316 N. Front Street, Murfreesboro

TJ’s Antiques & Collectibles
14458 S Lowry Street, Smyrna

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