Ahh . . . vintage typewriters! These babies can steal your heart in a split second!
Can’t you just picture some long ago writer hunched over one of these yellowed keyboards writing the next great American novel? Or hear the tap, tap, tap of a correspondent on deadline punching out a breaking story that they unceremoniously rip from the typewriter to hand to an office clerk who runs it to the presses in the nick of time for the evening edition!
The great news for you and I is that the stalwart survivors of these scenarios not only retain their original character, but make unique conversation pieces when worked into just about any style of decorating. From rustic cottage to quirky contemporary these vintage treasures may be just the touch you’ve been seeking! What are we waiting for? Let’s start with shopping!
(Some affiliate links included for your convenience. See my full disclosure policy here.)
No matter what era of typewriter makes your heart beat faster, you will likely find several different choices available to you in antique stores or vintage/flea markets. If you are really lucky you may even run onto just the right vintage typewriter for you at a more budget friendly price at a yard sale or estate sale. Because of the popularity of these once mundane office machine, prices have escalated over the last few years so it’s best to be examine your buying options and set price parameters for yourself before you start shopping.
What to look for when shopping for vintage typewriters . . .
1–The top priority should be that the design of the piece speaks to you! Do you like tall chunky typewriters or more sleek portable versions. Is industrial black your vibe, or do you go gaga over brightly colored mid century versions? Keep in mind the footprint they will require in order to display them in your home. I am constantly on the hunt for shorter industrial versions similar in size to the one I currently own. My dream is to have a gallery wall of vintage typewriters behind my desk one day!
2–The next thing to consider is the typewriters condition. Expect to find at least slight imperfections. After all, these were working machines. Be aware of more major issues such as missing keys or a carriage that is stuck in a awkward position. It is best if the carriage moves freely so that you can lock it in the centered position. The paint will likely have nicks and scratches. I personally want the brand mark to be fairly unscathed, but don’t mind paint wear and tear on other parts of the body.
3–Lastly, there is the all important issue of price. As with most vintage goods, prices on antique or vintage typewriters can vary greatly! Condition, age and rarity are all factors of course, but you will also find that different selling situations may strongly affect the price you pay for one of these vintage treasures. In our area, prices start somewhere around $100 for the type of model that I seek (which is why I do not currently have the much longed for gallery of typewriters on the wall behind my desk).
If your heart is set on a more rare model like those above, be sure to do your research. Check EBay and other auction sites to help you get a handle on appropriate price ranges. Also check Craig’s List and don’t neglect to chat with antique dealers in your local area to see if they can help you identify fair pricing expectations in your region.
Time to decorate!
Now that you have the vintage typewriter of your dreams, it is time to start having fun!
If your taste runs more towards mid century models, you will have lots of colors to choose from. Use them as a part of an established color scheme or as a pop of accent color on a bookshelf or desk.
You might want to take a cue from Nesting With Grace and create your own unique decorative masterpiece with the color of your choosing!
As the age of the typewriter increases, the color choices tend to decrease to black, black, or black. There are, of course, exceptions out there, but be prepared to pay more for them. I am totally head over heals for this off white model!
Vintage typewriters look spectacular used in conjunction with you other favorite flea market finds to create tabletop vignettes!
Or find novel ways to highlight them on a shelf, or in this case, as bookends!
And don’t neglect to use them to highlight your holiday and seasonal decor. Use your computer to create a holiday related or inspirational message to display rolled into your machine as if you just finished typing it!
What? You say you don’t have tabletop or bookcase space? Then let’s go vertical!
While this is actually a retail display, the idea could easily be adapted to a wall in your home. This installation uses paint can lids, but could be scaled down with a smaller sized lid such as the flat disk from canning lids. Print the appropriate sized letters and symbols using your computer!
No time to create your own masterpiece? There are lots of choices like this one from Holy Cow Canvas available on Etsy! Whether you have a large wall space or a small area that needs filling, there are items available for any situation!
Vintage typewriters pack a huge punch in your repertoire of decorating accessories! They require a reasonably small amount of space to display and are easy to move from room to room as it strikes your fancy! They are available in all shapes, sizes and color configurations making each one truly unique!
Looks like it is time to head to the flea market! I can’t wait to see what you find!
Hugs ’til next time,
Hey! If you haven’t signed up for my email list yet, I’d love to have you as part of the DW family!
Other posts you might like: