Old World Decor Inspired by Indiana Jones

Old World Decor Inspired by Indiana Jones

With the new Indiana Jones movie about to drop, my husband and I have been re-watching the original movies. I forgot how much I enjoyed them- the treasure hunting, the global adventures, a young Harrison Ford (wink). But it also dawned on me how much I love the Old World Decor throughout the films- and how much I wish I could see all the prop-antiquities they used.

And so, I had a VERY sudden idea to tinker with all of my own thrifted “props” and create a vignette that is a nod to both old world charm and Indy himself. And while I’m not using an inspiration photo, per se, I decided to do an impromptu “Thrift the Look” post in honor of the new movie. 

Here’s the thing about my approach to blogging- yes, I go thrifting a lot, and much of it is the search for future projects. But I’m also always looking for interesting “props” to use in my blog photos. So, I have a house FULL of curiosities and home decor pieces that aren’t out and on display. But rather, they live in cabinets and closets- and a LOT of them harken to the Old World Decor seen in the Indiana Jones movies (in my opinion).

Such as the props used for my Thrift the Look: Dark Academia Decor post…

dark academia decor that comes from thrift stores and upcycling

But also the photo props I’ve used in project photos; my Faux Cloisonné vases project, for example.

Cloisonne vase for thrift home decor

And even props (some as small as old coins) that I used in the photos for my book

project photos from "crafting with flannel"

I started filing through my memory for all the “old world” pieces I had in my collection. And anything that could maybe-sort of pass as an antiquity. Anything that could be Indiana Jones-y enough to cobble into a vignette. But I was short on time and had to tear my house apart looking for things! So, let’s get right to it.

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Inspiration from Indiana Jones

First, I began making a list in my head. The list, more or less, served as my inspiration photo. Because, I needed to gather any of my photo props that could evoke the following Indiana Jones-esque themes:

  • Antiquities (treasures that should be in a museum- of the faux variety, of course)
  • Exploratory (things you’d take on an adventure)
  • Academic (Indiana Jones was Dr. Jones and a professor, after all); and
  • Eccentric/Legends (elements of mythology/religion, far away lands, or honoring the ancestors).

I wasn’t sure how close I could come with my thrifted treasures. But this is a “Thrift the Look” post, so I can take quite a bit of poetic license!

Anyway, I started gathering some of my treasures. And for whatever reason, I am always drawn to somewhat exotic metal pitchers, so I hunted them down.

vintage metal pitchers

You’ve actually seen the large copper fella before, in this Thanksgiving project post (of all things). And the pretty brass one in my hand? You *just* saw him in my latest post about thrifting for our home decor. But the trio of pitchers from Pakistan (hurray for the stickers on the bottoms) have been hiding in my storage unit for a couple of years.

Next, I selected a vintage camera from my collection. These are all that I have, but I only needed one for my Indiana Jones vignette.

decorating with vintage cameras

Vintage cameras…definitely something you’d take on an adventure to far away lands.

Now, in the Indiana Jones movies, there are a lot of “faces” that appear- whether it’s a skull, a sarcophagus, or something else like hieroglyphics. So, I needed to have a few faces in my vignette.

indiana jones inspired decor

The glass skull bottle had a staring role in my Dark Academia Decor post- I think he’s an empty vodka bottle, if I’m not mistaken. But thrifted, either way. And the canopic jar you saw in my Junkin’ Journey: Fort Myers post. As for the faux tribal decor, well…I gave myself a chance to thrift a few more things a couple of days ago, and he was the only thing I found.

Next, I gathered a few more things. Namely, a copper platter that’s been waiting patiently to be used. And some geode rocks that I collected as a child on the shores of Lake Michigan! I’d honestly forgotten that I had them- what a nostalgic find for me to unearth.

thrifting for old world decor

And of course, I haven’t photographed every prop I’ve found over the years. But I’ve used them in project photos, such as my DIY Pirate Sign (vintage Tasco spyglass, craft rope, and the driftwood) and my Blueprint-decoupaged tray makeover (extra blueprints that were leftover, letter opener, and magnifying glass).

thrift store makeovers with photo props

Lastly, I decided that a project of mine could even play a role: this brass hanging scale, in particular.

decorative scale makeover

Once I’d gathered everything I could think of, it was time to cobble them into an Indiana Jones-inspired vignette of Old World Decor. Ready to see how it came together?

Old World Decor Inspired by Indiana Jones

I used an antique steamer trunk as the base for my vignette. It was used by my mother’s grandparents when they’d travel to England- and when we cleaned out her mother’s house when I was a teenager, I kept it for myself.

Anyway, I also used a couple of old antique wooden boxes as my “lifts” on top of the trunk. And from there, I layered as many pieces as I could fit.

decor that looks like indiana jones

Well, what do you think? Can you hear the Indiana Jones theme music in your head yet? Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but I sure had fun putting this together.

explorer decor with antiques and thrift store pieces

There are a few other pieces I haven’t mentioned yet. The little green bottle (thrift store find) reminded me of an inkwell, so I added one of my feathers from this project. The leather-bound notebook is from a craft fair; the tall wooden jug (holding the blueprints and rope) was from Z. Gallerie about 20 years ago; and the crumbling leather case is for my great-grandfather’s binoculars.

indiana jones meets old world decor

Rocks and faces and faux antiquities, oh my!

Thank you for coming along with me on this last-minute idea adventure of mine. I certainly had fun exploring the concept of Old World Decor, taking a bit of inspiration from Indy. And even though I made a mess looking through all my photo prop hiding spots, it was absolutely worth it for this little blogging adventure.

Craft on!


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antiques and thrift store treasures for old world decor

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Karen McGuire says

    I had the theme song running in my head while reading the whole post! You did an awesome job on it!!

  2. I’m not a fan of Indiana Jones, but I love your vignette! All kinds of gems in one place!

  3. Toni Geering says

    Hi, Sadie! I think you did a great job of cobbling together your thrifted finds into a wonderful reminder of Indiana Jones movies. I’m really enjoying your website and projects in general. Thanks for sharing your creative efforts.

  4. A tribute to Indiana Jones to a T. You have a eye for pieces that many people overlook. Fantastic display of your finds.

  5. Great job! Very Indiana Jones.

  6. Lynnette nolan says

    Spot on! I loved the theme!

  7. Looks great! I’ll admit, I had a hard time envisioning this one and I never could have pulled it off as quickly as you did, but it turned out SO GOOD!


  8. LOVE this!! I have quite a few of the pieces you shared her including a vintage camera….Thanks so much for sharing!!

  9. Erica Smith says

    OH MY GOODNESS Sarah you DEFINITELY nailed “Inddy” for sure!! You definitely have the greatest luck finding such great treasures!! I’m excited for the new movie! I’ve always loved all the Indiana Jones movies. They always made me feel like I wanted to share his adventures & travel for the ruins! I guess being a Thrift Store Fanatic like me & you we could call ourselves Modern Day Archeologists! 🤣 I’d truly love to be lucky enough to do a dig on some of our NC Historical sites and find the old blue cobalt & precious things from long long ago! Oh a true second handers dream! Lol
    Happy 4th of July! Come join me at Southport, would love to have you!!
    Erica Smith

    • We are definitely treasure hunters, that’s for sure! And probably why we enjoy Indy movies so much!! And I looked up Southport, you have a LOT of shops in that part of the state- I definitely have to make my way to our coast sometime!

  10. Sarah, Your design sense and ability to pull a themed vignette together are astounding! This is one of my favorite posts of yours of all time. Keep up the great work!!

  11. Mary Loveland says

    I enjoyed going on the journey with you, what fun! You did a great job! Just wanted to mention I am very envious of your geodes…..

    • Thank you, Mary! Aren’t they amazing?? I completely forgot about them- but we picked up SO MANY lake treasures in St. Joseph, MI when I was a little kid. Crinoids, geodes, Petoskey stones- you name it. It was a treasure trove for fossil hunters.

  12. I did the same type of thing for my daughter’s wedding but with Pirates of the Caribbean! I kept picturing scenes from the movies and the ride and put together vignettes on each table. Guests kept telling me they felt like they were in the movies, so I guess it worked! I love the Indy theme!!!

  13. What a great vignette! How nice to be able to put your hands on all those treasures to make such a focal point. And so different from the usual red,white, blue stuff we do for the 4th of July!

  14. Nancy Walls says

    This is such a fun idea! I hardly ever change any decor in my house but do have things “waiting” to be used. Seems I need to have a good look at them😄

  15. This was so much fun to see how you created your Indiana Jones inspired display. I totally sang along in my head as I saw how it unfolded, lol!

  16. Omgosh! I love love this. We just saw the latest movie at my son’s request and we rewatched all of them afterwards since it got us in an Indy mood. This post is fabulous and your vignette is fantastic. The song has been going thru my head for days lol. Best. XO- MaryJo

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