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Monday, August 10, 2009

New Uses for Old Silver

A few weeks ago, we posted this piece on using a vintage sterling cigarette case as a credit card holder/slim wallet. One of our favorite things is finding modern uses for silver pieces that otherwise might be outdated in terms of their original purpose, and we've gotten some fab ideas to this end from our readers. For example, there are a host of smoking-related items out there that are gorgeous, but (thank goodness) no one really smokes these days. Even those who do smoke probably keep it on the down low rather than celebrating it with sterling silver smoking paraphernalia! But these items can easily be re-purposed, as can many other items whose original use might not be in sync with today's practices.
A few of our favorites...
Silver Toast Rack

Photo via designsponge
Not many of us make a full breakfast complete with six (or more) slices of toast out on the table, but toast racks are ideal for re-purposing as a mail/paper divider. Even those dreaded bills will be a little more palatable when stored neatly in a chic toast rack! We see these all the time on eBay...sterling can be expensive, but there are plenty in silver-plate that are more affordable alternatives. Also great to keep an eye out for these at antique stores and flea markets!
Silver Cigarette Urn
Click to use the zoom feature
Cigarette Urn, Rubylane
Cigarette urns are the perfect size for storing q-tips in a bathroom! They'd add a special touch to any guest bathroom. You can also use them to store toothpicks, although hopefully most of us use q-tips more than toothpicks! You can get sterling cigarette urns on eEbay for a song...

This one is $49, not bad for a sterling piece!

Silver Cigarette Box

The next sterling item we have our eye on is a cigarette box. These are smaller than they seem in pictures- about from about 4" to 6" wide and about 2"-3" deep. We'd love to set one on our bedside table to keep jewelry/lotion/lip balm handy. Also, we hear these make great holders for business cards. This would be really striking on the edge of your desk holding your business cards. Preferably bone colored with sirlian rail :-)

Sterling cigarette box, Linda Horn
Silver compotes and nut dishes

In a Nutshell
photo courtesy decorvillage
With hors d'ourves, half the battle is the presentation. A simple snack of mixed nuts or olives will look infinitely more glamorous when served in a silver compote.

Sterling compote, eBay
However, these little dishes aren't just for food. Use them as a glamorous resting place for your favorite jewelry and cufflinks.

photo courtesy momadvice
We don't love the kindergarten teacher-esque bead necklace, but you get the general idea from the photo above!
Sterling trophy cups

Antique trophy cup, ebay
There are a pleothara of small trophy cups on ebay, and we are always fascinated by the obscure clubs and awards they represent! We love the idea of owning a little piece of history. Measuring in at about 5", these little cups are perfect for girlie accessories such as makeup brushes, tweezers, nail scissors, nail files, etc.
Mint Julep Cups

photo courtesy wedding bee
The award for versatility goes to the mint julep cup! They can multi-task as a flower vase, a toothbrush holder, a pencil and office supply cup, etc. These come at all sorts of pricepoints- of course or favorite are the vintage sterling versions, but you can get silver plate ones for as low as $20.

Caroline Roehm guest room, Veranda
photo courtesy Baked in Birmingham

Wine/Champagne Bucket

Silver champagne/wine coolers can have a variety of alternative uses. One ingenious use that we've heard is for storing hairbrushes and/or a hairdryer in them on a vanity. How fab would that be? We are also fans of putting orchids in plants inside them; they make a stately chachepot.

We love the crest on this silver plate wine cooler.

This cooler is a bit ornate, but you can see how fab it looks with a plant in it!
Do you have any favorite uses for old silver pieces? We'd love to hear your ideas!


Dickie said...

Oh - I meant to add last time that one Christmas my grandmother gave all the men and women in the family silver cigar holders. While the Gents are known to congregate witha bourbon and cigar post dinner the ladies were perplexed.

It was only after returning home from Christmas Supper did my mother and sister let us in on the secret - Grandmother had planned for those to be descreet feminine product holders. Turns out they fit as well.

Semigloss Chic said...

This is a great post. I always pick up old silver pieces while I'm strolling around the flea markets and love them but don't know what to do with them. This inspires me to get creative!

Kathleen said...

This is fantastic ... thank you! I volunteer in a charity shop in Australia and now recognise all the vintage cigarette urns we have on our shelves.

Andrew Campbell said...

What great ideas to revive these antiques! I don’t know if I’d want to stick hairbrushes or hairdryers in them, but used as a container, it adds a touch of vintage glamour to the surroundings. Some other good ideas would be to revive flatware by using plates or bowls to store keys and letters, even coins; or use dinner knives as letter openers; there are so many innovative ways to bring these silver treasures back to life!

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