Architectural Salvage Decorating Ideas

Kimberly Snyder
by Kimberly Snyder

–Use Salvaged Materials For A Unique Look In Your Home!

If you’re looking for a way to add texture and interest to your home decor, you will love these Architectural Salvage Decorating Ideas!

Corbel on the fireplace

I recently spent a few days in Waco, Texas. I stayed at a home that incorporated a lot of architectural salvage elements into the decor. I will share some photos from my stay there as well as some photos and ideas from my own home. I hope you will enjoy seeing these ideas! Hopefully it will spark your creativity!

What is Architectural Salvage?

Architectural salvage refers to items that have been rescued from old homes or other buildings that are in the process of being demolished.

Instead of simply throwing everything away, someone has taken the time to painstakingly save the doors, windows, hardware, decorative trim and even the flooring. Even old farmhouse sinks can be saved!

Reusing these items keeps them out of landfills.

Why am I drawn to Architectural Salvage items?

Farmhouse Summer Porch

Pictured above is the house that I grew up in. This American Foursquare Farmhouse was built in the late 1800s. I loved the high ceilings, the woodwork and the gingerbread on the front porch.

Where Can You Find Architectural Salvage Items?

These items can be found at local salvage yards, antique stores, yard sales or online through sites like eBay and Etsy. One of my favorite places to find architectural Salvage items is at a brocante! Brocante is the french term for flea market!

Look what I found at Round Top!

What in the World is Brocante?

Once you have found them, you can begin using them to make some beautiful additions to your home.

Architectural Salvage Decorating Ideas


Display of old doors

Old doors have so many uses! They can be used for their actual purpose, turned into a table or used as a backdrop for a wreath or flower arrangement. If you happen to find a pair of doors, you can even use them as sliding doors. Pictured below is on of the ways they were used in the house I stayed in in Waco, Texas.

pair of old European Doors

I would love to find a matching pair of doors like those! I would use them next to our sliding door out to the lanai. I just love the weathered finish!

For more ideas on how to use salvaged doors, please see this post:

Curious About How To Use An Old Door?

Speaking of doors, look at the patina of this door in the Waco house. And the crystal door knob! Swoon!

glass doorknob on an old panel door

I had doors and knobs similar to the one pictured below in my Cincinnati Ohio home. Of course, I brought them with me when I moved back to Illinois! The door knobs, not the doors.

old wooden door with a glass door knob

Old Windows

Pictured below is an old window without its glass. Leslie, the owner of the home in Waco, hung it over a salvaged door. It makes a beautiful accent piece.

Old wooden window without glass displayed over an old door

When we still lived in the farmhouse in Illinois, I had a window hanging above the fireplace. The window was originally in the parsonage of the Bement United Methodist Church. When it was replaced with a newer style window, the pastor’s wife gave it to me. Since she was a close friend of mine, she knew that I would give it a good home!

Architectural Salvage Window over the Farmhouse Fireplace

The window is currently waiting to be hung in the Florida house. I am thinking about hanging it above our bed. Because the glass is still in it, it is very heavy.

The long piece in the center of the display is now on top of my cabinet in the office.

Architectural Salvage piece on top of cabinet

Adding Garden Style Touches to the Shabby Chic Home Office

Roof of conservatory decorated with gingerbread garland

Old windows can be hinged together to make a “conservatory” like the one pictured above. My Dad made if for me when I still had my flower shop. He made it so I could use it as a display.

display from petals & porch posts

Finding The Perfect Spot for the Conservatory My Dad Made


In architecture & design, gingerbread refers to detailed embellishment like the painted lady style of architecture that is famous in San Francisco. It was quite prevalent in the late 1860s and 1870s in America.

I found these large pieces of gingerbread when I (ok my helpers were doing the actual work) was cleaning out the barn on our family homestead in Illinois. All the details of what else we found in the barn can be found here: Look What We Found in The Barn

Architectural Salvage - matching pieces
Architectural Salvage - Triangle piece
Vintage gingerbread

The piece of gingerbread in the front was a bit smaller than the one it is leaning on. I did let my cousin’s granddaughter give it a new home. She used it for a headboard for her bed! Doesn’t it look great?

Architectural Salvage used as headboard

She did amazing things with the barnwood she bought from me as well. You can read more about her barnwood walls here: F rom A Pile of Barnwood to A Beautiful Wall

Barnwood covered wall

Back to the gingerbread:

The longer linear one was approximately 88 inches long. I didn’t measure it before proceeding with my project. I didn’t get a picture of it either. Since I was concerned that it was too long to fit in the van with everything else that I needed to take to Florida, I called a contractor friend. He was able to quickly turn the long piece into three pieces for me! The two end pieces resemble brackets when placed on either side of the framed print.

Early Fall Display on the Farmhouse Fireplace mantel
architectural salvage piece

Now the centerpiece looks like angel wings , doesn’t it?

My contractor friend was amazed that this task was so simple! He thought it would be more complicated!

Here is one of the ways I used the two pieces of gingerbread in our Florida home.

Vintage child's sailor shirt

This wonderful piece of porch railing is displayed over a set of french doors in the house in Waco.

French doors with old porch railing displayed above them

Uses for Small Pieces of Architectural Salvage

Garden Style vignette

I used a small piece to hold the sign .

Coastal Christmas Footed tray display

I had an artist turn some of the barn tin we found in the barn and an old board into a piece of wall art. She did a great job, didn’t she?

I added a small decorative piece of gingerbread to the back of this arrangement. I turned the piece so that it looks like wings, I think!

I love that little piece of gingerbread so much, I tucked in this holiday display last year!

Snowman standing on a piece of barnwood

Save This Pin For Later

A porch post serves as a pedestal for this winter silk arrangement. If you are interested in learning how to make an wire armature to help secure your floral arrangements, the details are here:

Winter dough bowl arrangement on pedestal

These spindles are actually part of the triangle piece of gingerbread. I really need to get them glued back in place!

Holiday dough bowl with gingerbread spindles

A Unique & Very Merry Way to Use Gingerbread

The spindles in this arrangement are actually pieces of an old chair.

Uncle Sam Hat in an old hog feeder

Fireplace Mantel

My friend found this amazing mantel in Round Top, Texas this past spring. I sanded it and know I am just trying to figure out how to make it stand up by itself or how to secure it to the wall so it won’t topple over. I really need to figure that out so I can get the mantel in place before the holidays!

fireplace mantel from an old home

I hope I have given you some ideas on how to your architectural salvage finds!

To learn more about the amazing vacation home I stayed in last week in Waco, please check out this post Our Airbnb Waco Home

The property is owned by a fellow blogger, Leslie Saeta. She is so talented!

Kimberly Snyder
Want more details about this and other budgeting & minimalist living ideas? Check out more here!
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