Posted in Uncategorized, Vintage decor

Creative Fun: Use of Vintage Games in Home Decor

(Originally written as a post for the Metrolina Restore Blog…)  

I’m a gamer. Oh nooooo, not the newfangled and fancy video kind–unless you happen to have a 1980s Ms. PacMan arcade console around. I mean old-school games of the board and card variety. My affinity for games naturally extends to a love and collection of vintage games too and I own many from the 1950s and 1960s. I adore the graphics and retro-speak in the instructions, I love the swanky box pictures and 1950’s images; many of the boards from vintage games are true things of both fun and beauty- my favorites! I think they add a sense of fun and frivolity to home décor- and are not just for children’s rooms or  ubiquitous “man caves” either.

In our world of screens, electronic and online gaming, board games are emblematic of the midcentury time when people gathered together and played games in the same room with each other after dinner or on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon…imagine that! I love the nostalgia of it and I’m sure that’s why we still invite friends over for game night in my house on the regular and why I enjoy using  a games as part of my mod décor.

1951 Edition Monopoly by Parker Brothers

The Hotels and houses are made of wood, not plastic and the retired iron is present.

I have found games and game boards at ReStores tucked in places all over the store – sometimes with boxes, and sometimes without. These are one of those items for which you just have to be on the lookout- so keep your eyes open in all areas of the store. Check out a few of my favorite ways to use games and boards in mod décor below.

I love the actual of board portion of many vintage games so I use them often as wall art. This one perfectly matched many of the colors I used in my basement bedroom suite redo from last summer and BONUS- it contains the marbles in the metal portions on the sides- so we could take it down and play if we wanted! Vintage Chinese Checkers games have been very popular in décor for the past several seasons for use in wall art across the board (see what I did there):

Vintage Chinese Checkers Board with vintage poker chips in Bakelite case

This dusty game board that was one of my first vintage board finds was on the bottom of a shelf at a ReStore in sporting goods/camping area, under a ton of other stuff. It must have been part of a bigger set of gambling type board games. I immediately knew I would hang it- because: Vegas! I kept it’s year-worn patina and did not clean the board itself, although I did spruce up the wood frame a bit:

Red or Black? This one is dingy and I just love it!

Why not use vintage games in place of books on a book shelf? Many are in smaller boxes, fit perfectly and are typically more colorful and certainly more unexpected:

My hubs received 1956 Li’l Stinker one year as a Christmas gift.

The covers on this group of 3M bookcase board games-1960s games that were actually meant to stored together on a shelf like books -were too mid mod perfect to leave behind! But I have to store them facing out so I can see the swankola fronts of the boxes!

3M Book Case Games -ooooh the images!

Want to DIY those vintage game pieces and boards into something else? People waaaaay more clever than I have upcycled game boards and the pieces into stools, side tables, shelves, shadowboxes and more- get the details on a pinterest board with tons of ideas that I pulled together for you here:

Boxes made from vintage board games and pieces from HouseRevivals.Blogspot
Fab Chinese Checkers stool from Sarasota Salvage via Dishfunctional Designs

And here’s an old favorite game of mine from the 1970s: Mystery Date! There was an older version from the midcentury but in this case I wanted to own the one I grew up playing, of course:

I got the nerd as a pre teen and thought I lost the game–but hahaha- I won it as an adult – that joke’s on you Mystery Date!

Have you used vintage games in home décor? What games have you found at the ReStore?  Lets swap ideas!




I am and actor and producer on the lookout for midcentury gold while furnishing my 1956 atomic ranch! Happily thrifting my way through life and sharing the info and tips as I go... I am a vintage dealer at Sleepy Poet Antique Mall in Charlotte, NC

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