10 Ways to Bring Vintage Ceiling Tiles Into Your Home Decor

serving tray

@thevintageroad / Instagram

When it comes to vintage decor, and in many cases farmhouse decor, flea market enthusiasts are amazingly creative with the found objects they bring home. In their first incarnation, many of these vintage items weren’t necessarily intended as wall art or material to make a unique headboard, but "junkers" always brainstorm outside-the-box ways to display their reclaimed treasures, and they do it beautifully.

Vintage ceiling tiles, or tins as they’re often called, are a great example of this. Back in the day, these ornate, patterned tiles had a singular purpose—to be used on ceilings. Often seen in department stores and malt shops, the tins were like their own pieces of art.

Today, these ceiling tiles can be discovered at flea markets and salvage yards where they’re pulled directly from old homes and businesses. Although they might be chipped and rusted when you find them, that’s the exact patina you want in a vintage ceiling tin.

Here are 10 inspiring ways to bring these gorgeous tiles into your own home.

  • 01 of 10

    Add a Tin to a Gallery Wall

    Vintage tin pieces hanging on the wall above a leather couch.

    dumpsterdiva1923 / Instagram

    Ceiling tins work flawlessly as wall art, especially in a home that’s brimming with antique finds. Here, Melissa Cervantes, otherwise known as @dumpsterdiva1923, has artfully framed a ceiling tin alongside other rustic items such as a piece of fencing, a well-loved arrow, and the silhouette of a deer, bringing together a cohesive gallery wall.

  • 02 of 10

    Hang Tiles With String

    Two beds with tin hanging on the wall and a chest between the beds.

    thepainterie / Instagram

    Sometimes showcasing vintage objects takes a bit of extra ingenuity, witnessed here in a bedroom styled by Jody DeCoste of thepainterie. She hung her vintage ceiling tiles using sturdy string, filling the white space above the beds. You can capture a similar look by drilling holes in the tiles and using string, twine or pieces of leather.

  • 03 of 10

    Include One in a Vignette

    Vintage tin on a vignette.

    megmakesitpretty / Instagram

    A ceiling tile can be a lovely addition to a vignette, especially when spotlighted on a shelf. Megan West of megmakesitpretty has certainly prettied up this shelf, looking to items such as a patterned ceiling tin, antique books, and a sentimental photo to complete the shelf styling. The tin acts as an anchor in this charming vignette.

  • 04 of 10

    Create a Headboard

    Vintage tile headboard above a bed.

    Shannon Christopher Photographer: Shannon Christopher / Designer: Design Studio South

    It turns out that antique ceiling tiles might be an ideal material to use when crafting a distinctive headboard. In this dreamy bedroom, the designers at Design Studio South included a DIY headboard made up of ceiling tins for a beautiful bygone touch. To try your hand at making a headboard, go to Pinterest to find a tutorial that suits your needs and tastes.

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  • 05 of 10

    Place Tins on a Mantle

    Vintage tiles on a mantle above a fireplace.

    rustedhydrangea / Instagram

    To create a cozy, simple feel for your fireplace, consider placing one (or two or three) tiles on your mantle. Ali Pallone of the rustedhydrangea has mastered this look in her own living room, accenting her ceiling tiles with architectural detail, an antique corbel.

  • 06 of 10

    Bring Antique Flair to a Tray

    Vingtage tile used as a tray with planter and pillow atop.

    @thevintageroad / Instagram

    Speaking of creativity, this idea is particularly novel. Cindy of @thevintageroad has used ceiling tins as a patterned surface for a tray, just the thing for serving up sweet morning breakfasts or to place on a coffee table. The patterning is a delightful backdrop for small decor items, such as a vintage scoop, greenery, and a pillow.

  • 07 of 10

    Collect Various Colors

    Vintage tins in various colors mounted on the wall.

    madeinthecellar / Instagram

    Even though the most common hue for ceiling tins is white or cream, you can occasionally find tiles in a variety of other colors, such as pink, silver, blue, or sea green, such as the tiles presented in this inspiration from madeinthecellar. Hung on a wall, you can show off the different colors of your ceiling tins by placing them side by side, creating a contrasting look. Keep digging through those salvage bins and you’re sure to find several colors.

  • 08 of 10

    Use a Large Tin as a Statement Piece

    Vintage tins placed above an end table.

    Decor Steals

    When you’re able to score a really large piece of ceiling tin, snatch it up. They come in several sizes, but the big ones perhaps offer the most decorating possibilities. You can use it to cover the surface of a table, or cut it to fit a cupboard door in your kitchen. Or, as seen here in an image from @decorsteals, you can use it as a statement piece for guaranteed "wows" from your guests. Here, it's rested on a table, but you can always choose to hang it on a wall for some visual impact.

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  • 09 of 10

    Set off a Small Wreath

    Vintage tile with wreath hanging in front of it.

    thevintageroad / Instagram

    Cindy of thevintageroad is a fan of vintage ceiling tins, and it shows through the many clever ways she displays them. Whether framed or unframed, you can use a ceiling tile as a backdrop for other decor items. A wreath looks just right, or if you prefer, hang a smaller piece of art over it for a layered effect.

  • 10 of 10

    Install Tins on a Ceiling

    Vintage tins adorning a ceiling with a light fixture in the middle.

    No Accounting for Taste / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    And at the end of the day, if you’re someone who loves to stay loyal to the original intentions behind vintage objects, opt for installing vintage tins on your ceiling. It’s a look that remains true to spaces from the past, once decked out in these opulent tiles. The ceiling is an unexpected place for works of art, plus the tins will impeccably set off a pendant light or chandelier.