Decorating With Coat Racks And Vintage Clothing For A Unique Accent
To Your Home
By Mark Scott
When most people think of coat racks, they think strictly of hanging
coats, hats, and scarves. But coat racks can be a lot more than just a
place to keep clutter off the floor. They can also provide you with an
opportunity to display your own, unique decorating tastes.
One of my favorite ways to decorate with coat racks is to display
vintage clothing on them. Wall-mounted coat racks work particularly well
for displaying vintage hats and bonnets. And floor-mounted coat racks
are a natural for cloaks, gowns, shawls and scarves.
Don't go cheap when using coat racks as a decorating accent. True, you
can pick up a generic wall-mounted coat rack for under $10 and a
floor-standing one for under $30. But if your goal is to create an
eye-catching accent, don't expect a cheap one to have the effect you
Bent wood, rattan, wrought iron, or brass give you the best eye appeal
in a floor-standing coat rack. And look for furniture-quality solid
hardwood in wall-mounted coat racks. Don't settle for generic,
dime-store coat hooks on your coat rack when you can easily combine the
beauty of brass and porcelain or get the rustic strength of wrought
You can find wall-mounted coat racks with rosemaling, or other styles of
decorative painting. These always add to your accent, as do such
features as a plate rack or decorative shelf on top that allows you to
display other collectibles.
And a mirror, whether etched or plain, on your wall-mounted coat rack is
always a big plus. Not only does it enhance the beauty of your accent,
but it provides a much appreciated service to your guests of letting
them check their appearance after coming in from outdoors.
As for finding vintage hats or clothing for your coat rack, here are
some places to try.
Most larger cities have at least one vintage clothing store available.
You can also find vintage clothing in many estate sales. And more and
more second-hand stores gather vintage clothing donated to them into a
Or you can look for reproduction vintage clothing and hats from
merchants who specialize in supplying the participants of living history
events with clothing and items from daily life of the eras these
I've found Renaissance festivals and Civil War Reenactments to be
especially rich sources of quality reproduction vintage clothing (and
many other interesting items useful for decorating).Both events attract a
large number or merchants who specialize in reproduction vintage
clothing and other items of those times. And you can find many of these
merchants on the Internet, as well.
Be aware, though, that while you can usually find a greater variety of
items through these merchants in brand new condition, the prices for
reproductions can be expensive because of the amount of labor involved
in faithfully reproducing construction techniques from a pre-mass
In looking for vintage hats to display on a wall-mounted coat rack, you
can either go for a single era, or go eclectic with vintage hats from a
number of eras and styles. And don't forget the eye appeal of including
one hat in your collection that drapes a ribbon down beneath. Or
consider dangling a vintage umbrella or cane from one hook to create
various lengths of items hung from your coat rack.
And the hats you use don't necessarily need to be formal. Some of the
most effective hats I've found for decorating have been the well-worn,
but extremely unique, vintage hats of everyday laborers.
For a floor-standing coat rack, avoid reproduction or vintage clothing
that really needs a hanger for it to look its best. Look instead for
drapey items such as cloaks, gowns, shawls, and scarves. Experiment with
interweaving a colorful scarf or shawl among dark and elegant formal
Or try hanging a coat or gown by the shoulder instead of by the collar
for a casual, asymmetrical look. Include a vintage purse. Or, depending
on the effect you want to create, consider the effect that draping some
vintage silk stockings or lingerie could add to the accent you create.
The options are endless when it comes to combining coat racks and
vintage clothing. Just use a quality coat rack that does justice to what
you display and let your imagination, and your decorating taste, be
your guide in selecting items to display on it.
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