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Decorating
Colorful Vintage Cottage Style
See how to create vibrant cottage spaces that are perfect for gathering in.
Some people’s travels inspire their décor; others recreate childhood memories through their collections. Sharon Brandt simply focused on her family to find special ways to turn her new house into a home through colorful spaces. Scroll down to see more of this colorful vintage cottage filled with antique treasures! Cozy Comfort The dining area, kitchen... Keep Scrolling
Written by Meryl Schoenbaum
Photography by Bret Gum
Styling by Jickie Torres


Some people’s travels inspire their décor; others recreate childhood memories through their collections. Sharon Brandt simply focused on her family to find special ways to turn her new house into a home through colorful spaces. Scroll down to see more of this colorful vintage cottage filled with antique treasures!

Found and repurposed vintage bench in an entryway, decorated with bright red pillows.
Repurposed Shelf. Sharon found the top of an organ at a thrift shop. She painted and distressed it, then hung it on the wall and made a floral arrangement for it. The bench underneath is from an antiques store. Sharon painted and distressed it with sandpaper and stain, and rubbed the edges and carvings to get the distressed look she wanted.

Cozy Comfort

The dining area, kitchen and family room compose what Sharon calls the home’s great room. She wanted it to look warm, inviting and “put-your-feet-up comfortable.” She used gray as a neutral color in the family room area. Sharon likes to decorate a shelf for the seasons, holidays and parties by changing accessories.

Vibrant teal microsuede sectional with a pedastal coffee table to match. Vintage and thrifted treasures in the background.
Style Reinvented. The architectural pediment gives the room its standout vintage style. Other elements are the result of simple reinvention: Sharon made the floral pillow from curtain panels she bought at World Market.

With a large
family, it was very important to me that everyone had a comfortable place to sit
together.

Cozy living room with window light comfy chairs and vintage coffee table.
Second-Life Furnishings. The front living room has many interesting elements, including an architectural pediment: a headboard from Eastlake furniture. It was dark, so Sharon stripped it and painted it to look timeworn. She also painted the little buffet gray-green (she mixed colors together) and white, leaving the top stained. The coffee table was found in a dumpster. The trestle table was $40 at a thrift store. Sharon painted the bottom and left the top stained. Roses from her garden are on the coffee table in a vintage milk glass from a thrift store. Sharon stacked baskets from thrift stores and made the draperies with a cream-colored linen.

From White to Bright

When Sharon and her husband moved into their newly built four-bedroom house in Redlands, California, the walls were white and the floors were carpet and linoleum. “We installed travertine stone on the kitchen floor and engineered plank wood floors in place of the carpeting throughout the rest of the house,” Sharon says.

Light and bright dining room with mixed and matched treasures all around, accented with wood and teal glass.
|Opposite| Vintage Dining. Sharon, a fan of typography, frequently makes her own wall art. The dining room includes a FRUIT STAND sign she made to capture the summer spirit. The sideboard with lamps is a midcentury piece Sharon found at a thrift store for $50. The 7-Up caddy was a $10 thrift-store find. The sconces are from a yard sale, and she painted them white. Sharon found the stained-glass window 25 years ago at an antiques store for $40.

“I wanted a streamlined, simple look in the kitchen with plain farmhouse Shaker cabinets that have glass inserts. My son, Clayton, installed beadboard, base and crown moldings and mantels. We changed the granite countertops to quartz and painted the walls robin’s-egg blue to add color.”

French bistro set in the kitchen, centered by the window in place of an island.
Writing on the Wall. Sharon made the BAKERY sign in the kitchen using a Cameo electronic cutting tool, a font machine that cuts vinyl to look like a stencil.

“Every Sunday we all have dinner in the kitchen together: my husband, our four boys, their spouses and our grandkids. We talk about the week and enjoy each other’s company,” Sharon says. “My daughters-in-law help with the cooking. In addition to the food, we make wonderful memories together. There’s always laughter and children running around. I needed a big kitchen where all that could happen and everyone would feel comfortable.”

Shaker cabinets with glass panels filled decoratively with fresh flowers and milk glass.
Innovative Upgrade. Sharon gave her builder cabinets a style boost by replacing the shelves with wood stained with a richer finish. Because she removed the doors, these cabinets are now decorative focal points.

Lofty Goals

This loft houses children’s chairs that Sharon collected for their cute architectural design. The massive wood piece is a Hoosier cabinet (they were often used as pantries when they were designed many years ago). She purchased it in the 1980s at an antiques mall. The gumball machine was her mother’s. Her mom used to fill it with candy for her grandkids. She hung architectural-salvage pieces on the large wall. “It’s more interesting to have architectural-salvage elements rather than one big picture on the wall,” Sharon says. She found the architectural pieces at thrift and antiques stores.

Tan microsuede sectional, brown wooden antique secretary desk covered with vibrantly colored wooden child chairs and featuring an heirloom bubblegum machine.
Bright colors tie the house together as a whole and this vintage gumball machine is loved by all.

Sharon explained her decorating approach when faced with a large wall in her colorful vintage cottage. “I like to have one main focal point and leave space on either side of it,” she says. “Start from the center [and move] out, and don’t try to fill up the entire space, because then the eye doesn’t have a place to focus on.” Sharon loves to decorate for Christmas, so she opted for a neutral background so she could change out accessories for the seasons. “Old windows and high-quality silk florals are my favorite things to decorate with,” she says.

Yard sale find dresser, given a new life and placed as a focal point under a statement mirror and framed family photos on the wall.
Bedroom Heirloom. This spare bedroom is a blend of old and new. Sharon made over this yard-sale dresser with paint and new knobs.

Lovely Layers

Sharon painted the white master-bedroom walls a more relaxing blue. She sewed curtains and lined them with blackout fabric. She also fashioned the shelf above the bed with corbels she found at an antiques store. To create the shelf, she bought a piece of lumber, distressed it and put a wash on it. Then she hung a transom window over the shelf as an architectural detail. The room features the old windows and silk florals that Sharon loves to decorate with. She uses coral colors to brighten it up for spring and summer, and cream and white for Christmas.

Bright and colorful bedroom with robin's egg blue walls and coral accents.
Looking Glass. Windows are one of Sharon’s favorite things to decorate with because of their versatility and architectural interest. She likes to mix old windows with newer ones.

“I like to have one main focal point and leave space on either side of it,” she says. “Start from the center [and move] out, and don’t try to fill up the entire space, because then the eye doesn’t have a place to focus on.”

lovely and relaxing bathroom images with bright white and blue accents.
Sharon loves to relax by taking baths, so she designed her master bath with spa colors. The guest bathroom features Thibault wallpaper. The mirror is from Hobby Lobby, and Sharon placed Mason jars for added interest.

Rooms with a Story

The house has two guest rooms. Sharon calls one of them “the pink room,” with its pink and gray color palette. It was also inspired by a family event. When her son, Derek, and his wife, Kailey, got married, their wedding colors were blush and cream.

Charming light minty green walls with pink and cream accents and refurbished display cabinet.
The “pink room” accented appropriately with hues of pink and cream.

Sharon put the leftover wedding accessories—which included a mirror, chandelier and pink cabinet that held paper goods—in that room.

Warm and cozy bed with fuzzy gray throw at the end of the bed. Pink accents and a lovely statement piece above the bed with a small crystal chandelier hanging over the bedside table.
Leftover lovely accessories from Sharon’s son’s wedding found a home in this bedroom.

Old windows and
silk florals are my favorite things to decorate with.

The pink cupboard was a thrift-store purchase for the wedding, which now houses ironstone and milk glass.
Pink Room. When Sharon’s son got married, the wedding colors included lots of pink. The pink cupboard was a thrift-store purchase for the wedding, which now houses ironstone and milk glass.

Repurposing with a Purpose

Sharon shares her tips on giving flea-market finds a second life.

• Think outside the box. Consider different ways to use an item in your décor besides its original intended purpose.

• Look for thrift-store finds that can be repainted or stripped. Incorporate them into your décor rather than using furniture off the showroom floor.

• Find the best place for your finds. Don’t be afraid to arrange a room, stand back and take a good look at it—and rearrange it multiple times if it doesn’t feel right.

Want more simply beautiful ideas? Check out this post on another fun and color-filled home. 

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