Tin ceilings were introduced to North Americans in the mid-nineteenth century as an affordable alternative to the exquisite plasterwork used in many European homes. This is when mass produced sheets of thinly rolled tinplate became available and by the 1890s it was a design trend that everyone had to have. Now, vintage tin ceilings can offer not only that exquisite charm, but also that great vintage vibe if you’re able to find enough vintage pieces to put together for your space.
While you can buy new tin ceiling tiles at many mass retailers, they just don’t have the same appeal to me. I love the dents, rust, chipping paint and general well-loved look of vintage tin ceilings.
If you’re looking to do an entire room, I recommend contacting someone who salvages such items from old homes and estates, otherwise you may never find enough matching pieces on your own.
If the hunt is part of what you love about vintage tin ceilings, then get creative with the pieces you have. Using a few above your dining room table to mount your chandelier is a great look. Or do the same above your kitchen island to mount your pots and pans hooks.
Should you be lucky and find enough for your particular space you can either enjoy them as-is or paint them to spruce them up. A painted vintage tin ceiling can create a soft, embossed look that’s wonderful in farm-style kitchen. Or shine them up in a modern kitchen to play off of stainless steel appliances.
And keep in mind that vintage tin ceiling tiles don’t just need to be used on the ceiling. They look great hung on the wall as art, used as a headboard in a bedroom, molded onto a kitchen range hood, or worked into custom furniture for a truly unique piece.