July 19, 2024

Family heirlooms hold great sentimental value beyond their financial worth; each item tells its own unique tale. It’s important to keep those memories alive by finding ways of using these valuable pieces beyond collecting dust in a box somewhere.

Assuming your aunt Mildred left you her entire tea set or you have an impressive collection of band t-shirts from former flames, here are a few ways you could utilize these sentimental pieces.

Embrace the Story

An heirloom is more than just an ornament; it tells a story of family history and identity across generations. From quilts and cast-iron pans to paintings, sentimental items should be displayed to pay homage to their origins and build bonds between generations.

Do not become overwhelmed by the volume of things to keep; use the “keep one, get rid of the rest” rule as a guideline for keeping and getting rid of items. This will allow you to strike an appropriate balance between sentimentality and practicality.

Heirlooms and Hand-me-Downs features the work of artists who employ inherited materials and objects in different mediums to express personal stories through collage, mixed media, tapestry, embroidery, printmaking ceramics painting cyanotype. Heirlooms and Hand-me-Downs is an exploration of memories through collage mixed media tapestry embroidery printmaking ceramics painting and cyanotype. All pieces in the show evoke memories, nostalgia and recollection as personal and universal perspectives are shared through stories told from people living and former residents living within Nicholas Street Ross Road Bride Street Rosser areas – through people’s memories of living within distinctive red brick Victorian threee and four storey flats on Nicholas Street Ross Road Bride Street and Rosser streets.


Keeping family heirlooms in your home can have incredible sentimental value; no matter whether they fit with your aesthetic.

Quilts or vintage textiles could easily be transformed into cushion covers for sofas and chairs, while old books could become decorative bookcases or aged terra-cotta pots into planters for your garden. Here in Santa Barbara, remnant fabric stores sell cheap fabric that could help repurpose a quilt or leather jacket into cushion covers.

Art pieces can make excellent keepsakes to give as keepsakes to children. A framed watercolor from your last vacation or your child’s first art project can evoke memories while being a tangible reminder of all they’ve accomplished since then. Additionally, saving some of their school projects so they can hang them as part of the decor can also add great sentimental value.


If you don’t wish to keep all the pieces from an older collection – such as those fake fruit from your grandmother’s centerpiece – consider keeping one piece that holds great sentimental value while using the remaining items as part of a more modern and eclectic display.

Decorative jewelry can be an heirloom that holds both sentimental and monetary value, which makes displaying old rings, necklaces and brooches in a stylish curio cabinet or hanging from light fixtures all the more delightful.

Furniture is another common heirloom, and doesn’t need to be expensive or from an antique dealer to hold sentimental value. Even something handmade by grandparent or father can add history and style to your home. Hankies or doilies from someone close can even make stunning wall art when displayed in modern frames.


Heirloom materials and objects can add an air of history to a space. A partial set of china can serve as an accent piece on a mantelpiece or cabinet; its pieces don’t even need to match! Or you could attach an ornamental saucer or dish directly to a candlestick top for an eye-catching cake plate!

Another effective way of making use of heirlooms is regifting them. While that striped bomber jacket from Calvin Klein your father gave you may not hold much monetary value, it could still go to someone who will appreciate its donation – like homeless teens. Or consider swapping with someone who appreciates such items like an avid musician; perhaps swap for vintage baseball cap or band t-shirt as part of an exchange, or give away family photographs as keepsakes; the possibilities are limitless!

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