Upcycling and Decorating with Vintage Brass

Upcycling and Decorating with Vintage Brass

You may have noticed in recent years that vintage brass has made a comeback in a very big way. What had once been banished to the back of thrift store shelves is now front and center in vintage boutiques. Vintage brass candle holders, lamps, mirrors, and more are once again in vogue. But what to do with all of it? Well, let’s go through a few ways to decorate with or upcycle it all together.

Vintage Brass Light Fixtures

Firefly lantern with a brass light as upcycled lighting

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Even though brass is back, it’s still not the look for everyone- especially when it comes to light fixtures. But the good news is that old brass pendant lights like this are easy to repurpose into magical firefly lights to use outside on a warm summer night.

Brass Candle Holders

decorating the fireplace and mantel in modern fall decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Vintage brass candle sticks and holders used to be a dime a dozen at thrift shops. But collecting them has become a new obsession- and not just for use with candles. Check out how these vintage brass candlesticks and this folding candelabra were used to display pumpkins for Fall. Stylish, unique, and not a candle in sight.

Serving Stands

serving stands with vintage brass candlesticks

Image credit: Petticoat Junktion.

Speaking of vintage brass candle sticks and not using them for candles. They’re easy to upcycle as decorative bases for serving stands like these. Paired with pretty plates and saucers from the thrift store, they’re ideal for any number of uses: jewelry, soap, or just elevated decor around your home.

Vintage Brass Lamps

painting a brass lamp

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Admittedly, a brass lamp is a LOT of brass all at once- which can be off-putting if the hue isn’t quite right. Vintage brass can be too gold or too green, depending on the circumstances and your own preferences. Thank goodness you can paint it if you dare, and it’ll fit into your decor more seamlessly, like this vintage brass lamp.

Vintage Hardware

decorating the entryway with keyhole covers

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Those of us who love architectural salvage are very familiar with the amount of vintage brass hardware that’s out there. Hinges, door knobs, key plates, and more- and there are reuse ideas for all of them. In this case, old key plates covered in chippy cheery paint colors are displayed on an old cabinet door. Too on-the-nose as entryway decor? Or just right? 

Brass Tray Table

diy brass tray table

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

You may not think of vintage brass in terms of furniture, but larger trays as table tops is a favorite for mid-century modern collectors. But the real vintage tables are hard to come by and sometimes quite pricey. However, with the right thrift store finds- a vintage brass tray and a beat up side table- you can recreate the look for a lot less cash.

Christmas Decorations

vintage christmas decor ideas and inspiration

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Vintage brass candlesticks aren’t normally considered something to use as Christmas decor. But they’re the perfect base to display a few of your favorite (or perhaps most delicate) ornaments. Imagine a Christmas mantel filled with these ornament-topped candle holders; wouldn’t that be absolutely stunning?

DIY Candles in Vintage Brass

vintage brass as a boho candle holder

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Irony of ironies is me using brass candlesticks for anything BUT candles and me upcycling a bowl into a candle. But that’s beside the point! Small brass bowls and cauldrons like this are so easy to upcycle into candles. And to top it off, this tutorial has an amazing trick/hack for polishing your brass in a very safe and chemical-free way.

Geometric Decor

plant cloche from a geometric pendant light

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Geometric decor is quite popular these days and comes in lots of forms. And in this case, a salvaged light fixture from the thrift store was quickly and easily repurposed into a geometric cloche. Perfect for displaying small faux plants or really anything you want to showcase but protect.

DIY Birdbath

diy birdbath that was made from a vintage lamp and a glass dish

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Find a vintage brass lamp that doesn’t work but you don’t feel like rewiring it? Well, if it’s heavy and sturdy, then you can upcycle it into this DIY birdbath base for the back yard. No electrical skills required, other than pulling out all the wired components, of course.

Brass Hinges

hinge butterfly project

Image credit: Salvaged Living.

Ok, how cool is this upcycle idea? A vintage brass hinge has been painted to resemble a monarch butterfly to use in the garden or a porch vignette for summer! As someone who LOVES raising caterpillars to chrysalis to butterfly, this is such a charming project for the otherwise humdrum hinges you find at Habitat ReStores.

Upcycled Trivet

thanksgiving door decor from thrift store finds

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Normally, you might not look at a brass trivet and see potential door decor, but here we are. This one just happened to be next to the wreath base on the same thrift store shelf, and a unique wreath project idea was born! It works perfectly, though, doesn’t it?

Vintage Horse Brass

tablecloth weights with horse brass

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Vintage horse brass medallions are usually displayed on bridles, but not if they’re found at a thrift store. In fact, this collection of horse brass medallions was upcycled into unique but effective tablecloth weightsAnd nothing is permanent, so they can still be used for their original purpose later on.

Vintage Brass in Lake House Decor

lake house decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

From trays to bookends and everything in between, vintage brass is a subtle metallic touch in lots of decor styles. Here, it’s used in a vintage lake house style vignette, but there are plenty of other styles where it works brilliantly, as well.

Hanging Brass Scale

decorative scale makeover

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A hanging scale is the unexpected decorative object that you never knew you needed. But it’s such a fun way to display faux succulents or other items in a unique and curious way. This vintage brass scale had been used and abused in a previous life, but a paint job sealed away its ugly past.

Candlestick Birdbath

vintage brass candle holder as a bird bath base

Image credit: My Repurposed Life.

Not only can a vintage brass lamp be upcycled into a bird bath base, but so can an oversized candlestick. And the bowl? Another thrift store find from the housewares aisle: a cooking pot lid.

Mid-Century Modern Decor

mid century modern decor from the thrift store

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Vintage brass is often paired up with mid-century modern decor, as well. And for good reason- it’s a fantastic complement to all the walnut furniture associated with that era and style. Whether its the brass hardware, a decorative figurine, or faux brass in the form of a vase or frame, brass and MCM are a match made in secondhand heaven.

Vintage Brass Buttons

diy boho decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Small but mighty, brass buttons (or metal buttons in general) are pretty common at thrift stores. And if you don’t need them for clothing, you can create “coin” charms with them to add to bottles for Bohemian flair. 

Or even “coin” jewelry, which is pretty awesome, too…

Vintage Brass Door Knobs

upcycle idea for vintage brass door knobs

Image credit: Robb Restyle.

Vintage brass door knobs have all sorts of potential when it comes to upcycling. Using them as coat hooks…turning them into photo holders…and in this case, displaying bottlebrush trees at Christmastime. I just love this idea and might have to do it myself.

“Floating” Halloween Ghosts

How to make a floating ghost with a metal candlestick

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

These friendly little ghosts appear to float, but there are no strings attached. That’s because they have a secret underneath– brass (or other metal) candlesticks!

Upcycling and Decorating Ideas for All That Vintage Brass

vintage brass at thrift stores

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Whether you’ve already been bitten by the brass bug or not, there clearly are a lot of ways to repurpose it and incorporate into your decor. I hope you’ve found some inspiring new ideas here for all that vintage brass you find while thrifting. Because as popular as it is, I still see a LOT of it out there, just waiting for someone to give it new life.

Craft on!


Want to be notified when I publish my next upcycling project tutorial?

Please subscribe here.

Join me on Social Media:

please follow sadie seasongoods on facebookplease follow sadie seasongoods on instagramfollow sadie seasongoods on pinterest






upcycle ideas for vintage brass lamp, candle holders, and more

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Website | + posts

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.

Have a question or like what you see? Please let me know!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.