Vintage Oil Paintings in the Kitchen

Collection of vintage oil paintings and art above kitchen cabinetsWould you ever put vintage oil paintings in your kitchen? I did, and I am pretty sure the heavens open up when I look at them. A little too dramatic? Not really. They are everything that speaks to me. Slightly imperfect, aged gold frames, vintage, one of a kind, wispy trees and beautiful colors. I picked them up here and there for less than Starbucks. I painted a couple of the frames and I made them mine. It is our favorite time of the month where we all get to be inspired by the Thrifty Style Team again. Follow the links at the end.


Have you seen those classy kitchens with art displayed on open shelving, counters and blank walls? They make me stop and stare. It’s the feeling of a well curated and collected home that is polished but not fussy, classy but casual, eclectic but put together that I absolutely love. That’s my goal. With each vintage treasure I find I get a little closer.

art in the kitchen, vaulted ceiling, dark walls, wood cabinets

I am very picky about art. Are you picky too? It all feels so commercial and ordinary. Enter my thrifting obsession. I hope to continue to add to my collection of thrifted art and vintage oil paintings. I get so excited when I find another one that I like. It’s like I won a car. No joke. The thrill of the hunt!!!

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Tips for finding the perfect painting and fixing them up:

Let me tell you that I don’t always find them in perfect condition. But that is OK. It adds to their character and some things can be fixed. Like the frames. That’s the easiest to remedy with a little paint.

TIP 1: Paint the frame

Vintage art in the kitchen, above cabinet decorating

On the third painting over the frame was a very bright and orange-ish gold. So I toned it down by adding EBONY RUB_N_BUFF It is so easy to work with, it’s the quickest way to transform something. I love it in ANTIQUE GOLD as well.


a gold frame that is too orange AFTER:For the one on the far left I spray painted the frame black, even that ugly little fabric edging on old frames. Just spray right over it. Then I distressed the frame a bit with sandpaper. DONE!

TIP 2: Fix the canvas

Have you ever passed up a vintage oil painting because the canvas was dented?  I did and then I found a huge seascape that was dented. But I really loved it and took a chance. I’m so glad that I did because I found out it was such a simple fix. Get my trick HERE

I have also found them scratched or chipped. I use some paints that I have sitting around and choose a color as close as possible or darker and do a little touch up.

Or just leave it as is and it adds patina and character.

Tip 3: Where to source them

There is a distinct line between a Bob Ross painting and one with a touch more style. So be choosy.

I love a good deal and I am pretty cheap. But I found my paintings at yard sales and thrift stores. I have paid 5 dollars, 2 dollars, 12 dollars, 7 dollars… The most I paid for one was the seascape that I mentioned above and it was 15 dollars. 

I have to frequent my favorite stores. So be patient. It helps to get one that you love and then choose ones that will look good next to it. That way you don’t end up with a hodge podge of paintings that don’t live well next to eachother.

Art in the kitchen, decorating above cabinets. open shelving, woven pendant light

I have been forever trying to find things that look good above these cabinets. The long span of cabinets at the same height (I will fix that someday) and the angle of the ceiling makes it so tricky. Then add in the microwave and fridge and it’s almost impossible to get right. I have had a lot of things up there over the years but the paintings are my favorite so far.

Best of wishes as you start a collection of your own. Happy hunting!!

Last month I provided the tutorial for that basket pendant light, get the scoop HERE


Fall will be here very soon and there is some great inspiration below to get the creativity flowing.

I was also pretty excited to see that there is another post on using thrifted paintings, go take a peek!

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14 thoughts on “Vintage Oil Paintings in the Kitchen

  1. Jessica I love your style so much! The vintage paintings look so perfect in your home, especially with the dramatic black walls on the other peak of the wall. Your house has so much character and interest! (Also: I’m a huge Rub & Buff fan too!)

  2. Th idea of the paintings in the kitchen is unexpected and different and I love it! The colors in the ones you’ve used are beautiful with the cabinet color.

  3. Jessica, I LOVE how you’ve displayed the artwork above your cabinets! I love art displayed in a kitchen as well but somehow I don’t have any in mine. Your post is making me rethink that! I have found some original art deals at a local auction that I attend.