How Vintage Botanical Art Informs Modern Design Trends

image shows a mushroom pattern in a red orange color palette with the caption "How Vintage Botanical Art Informs Modern Design Trends"

Vintage botanical art will always be on trend.

I mean.. We’ve all seen vintage botanical art since we could differentiate shapes. I’m laughing now because when I think back to my baby photos, I’m thinking – “See? There are vintage botanicals all over!” and then I remember that in the 70s those botanicals were actually very modern. I found this beautiful digital papers bundle from Creative Fabrica with these lovely mushroom botanicals, which totally feel vintage but beam more of a modern botanical art vibe.

image of a vintage botanical art mushroom pattern.

No matter how old you are, vintage botanical art prints, stamps, post cards and gift wrap has been around since our wee years; many of us have seen these vintage botanicals on apothecary-ish packaging, calendars, and glitter adorned holiday cards since we could rifle through our grandma’s greeting card drawer.

montage of beautiful vintage botanical art post cards and junk journal images.

And now, their “been around since the beginning of all of our memories” + “showing up on modern day products as more contemporary botanical art” = an irresistible nostalgic trend we all secretly or emphatically love. And that’s why I feel vintage botanical art will always be on trend.


How vintage botanicals influence modern design trends:

Nostalgia + Modern Style

Vintage botanical art infuses modern day designs with timelessness and just weave a nostalgic design sentiment into everything they touch. The lacy leaf edges and moody color palettes.. Botanical flower images that sometimes hint of those gloriously intricate scientific botanical illustrations of plants and fossils.

Vintage Color Palettes

Moody and organic color palettes bring an element of vintage flair with muddy oranges, deep greens and dusty roses… Pale teal with frosty blue flecks.. Deep black velvety backgrounds, or tea colored vintage paper effects.

Nature Inspired

I guess this could have been listed first, haha. Vintage botanical art brings the nature connection into modern decor, whether through obvious framed botanical art prints, or more subtly through a botanical filigree pattern on upholstery. Bringing natural plant elements into any design aesthetic immediately feels lush and welcoming. 

Check out how this image captures all of those elements:

image shows orange, cream and dark brownish green wildflower vintage botanical art pattern.

Over and over, vintage botanicals prove their ability to bring together a bouquet of different eras all tied together with a bohemian vibe. And now let’s get into some of the fun ways vintage botanical flower images show up in modern design trends.


Where do Vintage Botanicals Show up in Modern Life?

Vintage botanical print and patterns

This is the top fave for me, and shows up in most of the categories to follow. Patterns, patterns, how you never disappoint. Tying together decades from different centuries and still looking as lush and balanced as they always have. Patterns can be so many things – botanical scattered florals, simple flower line drawings, more layered and complicated prints like Jacobian florals.. 

Vintage botanicals and florals often show up in modern fabric and textile designs, and I bet you have a few of these patterns in your life too – on blankets, furniture, products… I’ll show you some fun botanical examples.. You’ll have to guess which ones are my designs 😉

image is a patchwork of 5 different vintage botanical floral art patterns.

Traditional botanical art in home decor

Traditional vintage inspired botanicals will always have a place in home decor. We love flowers. Florals, leaves, vines, nuts, berries, autumnals, holiday sprigs – botanicals will always be at home – at home. 

There are so many examples of botanicals in home decor – wallpaper, framed vintage botanical art prints, pretty botanical upholsteries and curtains, planter pots, dishes – and it all makes me super happy. 

AI generated image of a sunlit living room with a pale green Sophia, a white and red botanical patterned chair and ottoman, and huge botanical paintings on the wall.

Modern vintage botanical inspired “core” trends

Cottage core… Prairie core,,, Woodland core… Botanical core?

Vintage botanical art has largely influenced a few specific modern design trends such as the cottage core (cottagecore?) aesthetic, prairie core, woodland core.. (this whole core thing is weirding me out to my core). I love that these aesthetics have been inspired by scientific botanical illustrations but really play on a sweet, childlike vibe. 

Check out how freakin’ cute all this botanical “core” glory can be…

Image shows a series of cottage core elements inspired by a vintage botanical aesthetic.


Needlepoint resurgence

Have you noticed the absolutely freakin’ rad needlepoint artwork out there? OMG there are some true keepers. And now it’s cool. Right? I mean.. it is.. That must be why when I’m chatting on the phone with my most adventurous gal pals, the conversation may turn to cool projects like needlepoint and cross stitch.

I looked around for some of the funny hand lettering needlepoint pieces I’ve seen but couldn’t find one that wasn’t in violation of copyright laws, tbh. But I found this fabulous needlepoint garden through Adobe stock photos and it is so satisfying.See? Cool.

vintage botanical needlepoint art shows a beautiful garden of brightly colored flowers.


Timeless, clean, and natural, vintage botanicals have absolutely maintained a foot hold in product packaging throught time. I love how many directions you can go with botanicals in packaging. Big bold flowers, simple black botanical illustrations, stylized simple drawings. 

image shows vintage botanicals in the mockup packaging of four skin care products of four different colors.


Best Places to Look for Vintage Botanical Art Inspiration

Botanical and plant medicine books

If you love to polish up on how to draw botanical art, it’s always so nice to have some botanical books to reference. Of course we can always find these lovely images on Pinterest, but being able to flip through pages makes the whole sketching, inking and/or painting experience just feel like a whole experience. Pardon the crappy rainy day washed out photography, but these are some of my favorite books with vintage botanical illustrations. 

image shows open plant medicine books with illustrations of vintage botanical art.

Consignment or Vintage Stores

Finding vintage textiles in a thrift or consignment store is honestly one of the best ways to get your hands on truly vintage botanical prints and patterns. They show up in old dresses and coats, blankets, vintage table linens and handkerchiefs. Looking at old product packaging in vintage stores can open up such a magical world of botanical bliss – old hat boxes, soap boxes, apothecary bottles.. 

If you really luck out you might find some old vintage botanical art prints or posters – some of my favorites are the vintage flower market posters from around the world. I couldn’t track down any images of true vintage flower market posters without breaking copyright law, but I did find these lovely modern versions for you to ooh and ahh about. 

image shows three vintage flower inspired flower market posters - one from Seoul, one from Kyoto and one from Prague.

Online search engines and public domain spaces

Search engines like Google are great, but any true visual seeker will find themselves in Pinterest eventually to seek inspiration for most visual endeavors. But what about looking for vintage ephemera and imagery to use in your products or artwork? 

If you are looking to produce products with vintage imagery and you don’t want to track down and purchase too many images, you can do a deep dive into public domain images and find some real gems in there. The “public domain” refers to ideas, text, games, images, and so many other things that are now free for public use without infringing on copyright laws or paying the original owner of the copyright.

So if you find a treasure trove of vintage imagery in the public domain, lucky you – just remember, it’s public so your artwork or products may come out looking like others. Depending on the project, that may not matter; or you may choose to format the public domain images in a way that you add your own art style or flair to them to differentiate. 

In my search for public domain vintage imagery, I found this blog, A Home is Announced – botanical print shop  and in a very short time I found this absolutely lovely and free image of citrus botanicals by Edward Lear.

image of public domain botanical art.

Whew, this has been a really visually satisfying topic to write about, and my flower loving heart feels absolutely beaming with floral bliss. I hope you enjoyed this little meandering into the meadows where flowers have always reigned and will likely be swaying in the sunshine long after we are not.. Honoring their beauty is the very least I can do 🌼🌻🌸

Wishing you a fun and inspiring reason to deep dive into some vintage botanical art and fill your soul with botanical joy! ✨


Other posts you may enjoy:

Solstice and Equinox – Nature Inspired Art to Celebrate the Seasons

The Relationship between Art and Nature – A Visual Desert Journey 🌵

Spoonflower Fabric by the Yard: 5 Creative Fabric Projects for Pattern Lovers (Minimal Sewing Required!)