How to Create a Spooky Vintage Vignette

Using vintage in your Halloween pumpkin themed party display. Created by Denver Prop Stylist at Plank & Pearl. Halloween party display using vintage candle holders, branches, a crystal cake stand, pumpkins and a creepy old doll head for a whimsically spooky look. Party design styled by Plank & Pearl Denver, CO.


Holidays are an especially wonderful time to create a vintage display in your home. An artfully arranged collection of themed items can make the plainest corner come alive with a spirit of nostalgia, whimsy, and humor. And part of the fun is that the vignette is temporary—you gather your supplies, spend an hour (or three!) bringing your vision to life, and then quickly pack it away when the day or season passes.


The two Halloween vignettes I’m sharing combine things you might already own—such as a pedestal cake plate, low wooden bowl, etc.—with a few vintage elements you might find at a Denver antique mall or local thrift shop. The first is a larger, more intricate display, spanning the top of an antique wooden buffet. When using a large piece of furniture, it helps to vary the height of your objects to create visual interest.  You can use a few old books, a wooden box, and tall candle holders as elevation “tools.”


Halloween Party Buffet Style by Plank & Pearl of Denver, CO.



The vintage tin with a ceramic hand, black cat figurine, and doll’s head come from my personal collection of spooky oddities, gathered over time. It’s always smart to begin searching for unusual pieces several months before you need them since the curating process always takes far more time than anticipated. And don’t forget to add a few natural elements to your design, such as the pumpkins and fruit I grabbed at the grocery store, and the small branches scattered around my backyard. These small touches really ground your vignette in a particular season and time of year.


Vintage inspired Halloween cocktail display using vintage barware, faux fur, hand molds, a brass vase and pumpkins on top of a vintage table. Prop styling by Plank & Pearl Denver, CO.


The second vignette is the direct result of a lucky find I happened upon as I glanced down at the floor of the crowded furniture area in my local thrift store.  The vintage cement glove mold hands seemed to reach up to me for a big Halloween hug! I love it when a single object inspires a display because it makes the process so much easier. Rather than rearranging your materials a hundred times to discover the focal point, you only need to add a few “appetizers” to your “main dish.”


As you can see, I reused the pumpkins from the first vignette and swapped the large buffet for a small desk tossed with a faux fur for texture. On the base of the glove mold, I placed a decanter of wine, two vintage goblets, and then strung some spider web gauze between the hands. When I think I’m finished, I always walk around the vignette and look at it from different angles. The change in perspective helps me decide if the design is cohesive, tells a story, and creates the desired effect. Be open change: remove a few objects if it seems a bit messy or add something new if you notice a dead space. In this case, I felt I needed the cow skull and container of dried cotton blossoms to further the spooky mood.

If you’re an old hand at designing holiday vignettes, you already know some short-cuts that make the process easier. If you’re just starting out, please know it’s more about trial and error than a special skill handed out at birth. Be willing to play. Trust your eyes. And it always helps to have more materials on hand than you think you’ll use. Put on some great music and free yourself from any limiting expectations. Don’t forget to take a few photos to keep for reference. You’ll love looking at them next year, to help inspire a fresh new vision.


Looking to add some vintage style to your next party or event in the Denver area?



Thank You Denver & What’s Next

September Vintage Sale, Denver, CO

I want to send a huge thank you to those of you who visited our final VINTAGE EXTRAVAGANZA sale at Plank & Pearl last weekend! It was wonderful to see some familiar faces, and I truly appreciate those of you who have been attending our sales since last spring! Hopefully, you found some unique treasures at bargain prices!

The three-day sale was busy and fun, and many of our shelves are empty. Most of the vintage sofas and chairs are gone, though we have quite a few of wicker pieces still available. I think the most popular item we sold was vintage glassware, and most of it went home with customers who are planning a wedding, thinking ahead to holiday tables, or just want a set for everyday use at home. They are lovely, indeed!


Although we won’t have another giant Plank & Pearl sale again this year (since our inventory is largely sold) we will be offering some pop-up shopping opportunities in November and December that will include other vendors with their own unique vintage and antique merchandise.


We’ll send an announcement later this month, as well as an introduction to our online shop of curated vintage pieces. And we’d like to remind you that we offer home styling services, party design, and sourcing help for those seeking special vintage furniture, rugs, artwork, and decor for home or office.


Halloween is just around the corner, and we do love spooky vintage decor! Look for our upcoming blog about decorating for the holiday with thrift store finds and DIY projects!




Styling My Daughter’s Wedding with Vintage

When my daughter became engaged last October, most of my friends assumed I’d be lending a hand in the design of the wedding. As the owner of a vintage wedding rental business, it wasn’t a big leap of imagination—but a few took me aside quietly and said things like, “Do you think it will be stressful to work with your daughter?” “Have you ordered a barrel of wine to get you through the next nine months?” Or simply, “Oy vey!” and “best of luck!”

July Wedding at Denver Museum of Nature and Science

The Bride and Groom were a pleasure to work with

But I have to tell you that my daughter and her fiancé are two of the silliest, most joyful people on the planet—and they’re very good at making decisions. I recommended some of my favorite wedding vendors, and fairly quickly they had secured a date, the venue (Denver Museum of Nature and Science), a photographer, a DJ, and a day-of-coordinator. After trying on two wedding gowns, my daughter fell in love with the second one and took it home on a snowy December day. I have worked with “bridezillas” over the years, believe me, but that stereotypical character just never showed up as my daughter checked things off her wedding list.

Alligator style terrarium for Denver Museum of Nature and Science wedding of vintage stylist Plank & Pearl’s daughter.

Elephant and Unicorn Figurine Centerpieces by Plank and Pearl

Vintage Curiosity Terrarium Centerpieces

My design contribution was overall help with planning and details, as well as creating centerpieces, signage, a furniture lounge, welcome table, and escort cards. Since the wedding was held at the museum, it was an easy decision to use vintage design elements that echoed the “nature and science” aspect of the setting. We incorporated rocks, fossils, shells, and bones in the thirteen terrariums used as centerpieces. And since the wedding dinner took place inside a darkened diorama room featuring animals in faux native environments, we added faux succulents and plastic animals just to keep things fun.

Wedding Card Box by Plank and Pearl Denver

Bridesmaids Gift-Vintage Handkerchief from Plank and Pearl Denver

Other Special Vintage Details

We chose colorful globes, vintage postcards, and a vintage sewing drawer to decorate the welcome table, and the bridesmaids carried vintage handkerchiefs to dab away some emotional tears. Tucked in a corner by the bar was a seating lounge, with a vintage velvet sofa and chairs. Needless to say, it was a beautiful, fun, and incredibly meaningful wedding—but that’s another blog altogether! I loved being a part of the creative collaboration with my daughter and her wonderful husband and will treasure the memories we made.