Any of my pieces that are in good working order are put to work. I rescued a few old rotary phones (they have modern wall jacks). I brought them home, cleaned 'em up, and plugged 'em in. They work! For some strange reason only one of them will actually ring at a time (though they all can), but all can receive calls and dial out. We use them in our home. Every room has one. I delight when my sons' friends who visit the house ask if they can call home. I don't think they really want to check-in with their mothers; they just want to use our phones. They're cool, they're functional, they're decorative.
I picked this electric fan at a local junk store. I paid $4.99 for it. I bought it "as is," so wasn't sure if it even worked. I was fine with that thinking I'd just use it for display anyway. To my surprise it worked...very well in fact. When we use it, it sits up high and out of reach of small hands.
I love vintage luggage. To a crafter like me it's a great canvas. I've painted them, embellished them, and used them for storage. But I actually use my vintage luggage for... luggage. Somehow for me the trip just seems that much more special when I'm sporting these classic American Tourister Tri-tapers.
Some junk picks are just plain cool to look at.
Vintage pieces have great visual appeal and can be worked into a vignette, be displayed in a collection, or stand alone as a feature piece. I have several typewriters that I've picked up. I have one sitting on my living room coffee table, loaded with paper, ready for family, friends, and/or visitors to leave a message - either purposeful or just for fun.
Repurposed Vintage Suitcase
Now here's where the real fun begins. I love to create a unique or unusual piece out of my junk finds - typically finds that are in need of repair or can be taken from ordinary to extraordinary. The vintage Samsonite suitcase here is in good shape except that the latch covers are missing. I really wanted to display it in my bedroom, but needed it to be functional. I simply found an old footstool at the Goodwill, removed the cushion and set the case on top. The fit is perfect, the case stays in place, and it now...well, it's still a footstool, but it's a unique and fun footstool.
Repurposed Vintage Suitcase
This American Tourister case was the perfect size to serve as a bedside table in our guest room. The white base is actually the seat of a wooden chair I salvaged from someone's trash. I simply sawed off the chair back, distressed the wood a bit to add charm, and attached the suitcase to the chair base with bolts. Limited skill with a saw, a drill, and a socket wrench were all that was needed.
So whether you decide to use it, display it, or re-purpose it, your next junk find might see day-to-day use in your home, become that odd conversation piece that peaks your guests' curiosity, or serve a new and unique purpose.