How do I feature my childhood rocking horse in my grown-up home?

Posted by
By: April Killingsworth - CC BY 2.0
By: April KillingsworthCC BY 2.0
I have a rocking horse that my dad built for me when I was a child, and I don’t know how to incorporate it into my decor. It’s not too large, but it’s cumbersome and oddly shaped. My house is mainly thrift store, vintage-y, oooooh shiny, so it’s not completely out of place, but it has just been sitting in a bedroom corner for many years now.

Does any one have any good ideas for incorporating a rocking horse into your adult decor? I would, naturally, prefer not to drill holes or damage him in any way, as he is quite sentimental. Oh, and obviously he would be cute in a nursery, but I do not have kids, nor do I plan on having them any time soon. -Vera

Have you considered painting him a bright, funky color and using him as a piece of art? Kind of like this bright pink sheep.

Does he have a totally flat back on which to sit? Then you could put stoppers under his rocking bits, and turn him into a non-rocking side table.

Or maybe there’s a kid in your life that you could let borrow him, as long as they promise to give him back if you end up having a kid of your own.

Homies, what suggestions to you have for incorporating your childhood rocking horse into your grown-up decor?

Comments on How do I feature my childhood rocking horse in my grown-up home?

  1. If it were me, I’d try to hang it on a wall like a piece of art–high enough so no one will hit their head but in a spot where it’ll get seen. I’ve seen this with chairs (google “hanging chair on a wall”). It’d definitely make a great conversation piece this way, I think. 🙂

  2. Use him as a (small) bookshelf.

    Put an alarm clock on his back and use him as a bedside table in the guest room.

    Drape some blankets over him and put him near the couch so you always have a throw within reach.

  3. I like the end table idea. Expanding on that – it can be used for a Christmas tree stand, a bedside table, a plant stand. If the bathroom is big enough, perhaps in the bathroom holding a basket for towels. Maybe some sort of hardware on the wall* would allow it to be hung (rockets against the wall) without drilling into it, and it can be art, or even some sort of a coat hook, or what I need in my room – a hook for not-quite dirty clothes that I want to wear again before washing. *like the kind of hardware you use to hang up bikes in the garage?

    • I second the plant stand. But you’ll want to make sure that you give it a waxy rubdown to prevent water stains/damage, and make sure there is a tray under the plant. And along the lines of the Editors’ suggestion, make sure you put some stoppers under the rockers.

  4. I’ve got a similar vintage rocking horse that’s sat beside my fireplace for years. Not repurposed into anything else, just looking cute. Once in awhile a visiting kid gives it a whirl, but its main job is to make me smile.

  5. Can you put him in a slightly prominent place and decorate him periodically? You know, seasonal hats, wreaths for made-up holidays, dress him as your favorite character (Add a scarf and deerstalker hat—Sherlock Horse! Painter’s tape arrow and some orange and red scarves—Avatar Aang Horsie!)… It sounds silly; but maybe if he’s an active part of your decor, you might not feel so stuck on how to incorporate him.

    • I bought a rocking horse large enough for adults about a year ago because it was decorated as a unicorn. It needs a little work but it’s amazing and this is the best idea I’ve seen yet on what to do with him. Holiday decor unicorn!

  6. I think he’d make a fun front-door sentry (and landing spot for tossing coats) or be good in a living room to toss a blanket or two on.

    You could also try hanging him by tying ropes around himor building a support platform (like they do to put big motorcycles hanging up in restaurants), so you don’t have to drill holes or anything.

    • I was thinking by the front door too, except for keys or purses. Maybe attach a basket on his back to hold keys, cell phones, etc.

  7. I think you could set him just about anywhere you have room. Put him in a corner in the living room, where you’ll see him more often. Or put him in that weird corner in the kitchen where nothing seems to go, move him around and you’ll find a place that seems right, perhaps on an oversized coffee or end table to add height? Ooh, behind the couch on one of those sofa table things. If your decor is already eclectic no one is going to look at him and thing “that’s odd” instead they’ll think “that’s awesome!”

  8. You know that Velveteen Rabbit quote where the skin horse talks about becoming real? If you’re a fan, you could totally create a “real” corner. Put up a pretty collage of the quote and draw attention to the “real” things in your life. If you have a partner who also has “real” things, put them all together. Instead of putting your horse in a corner as something you don’t notice, make it a big display of your beloved childhood things.

  9. It all depends on how quirky you want to go, I think.

    You can “saddle” him with a fold-over blanket, like someone had suggested above. You can use him at various kinds of tables, which others had mentioned.

    I’m particularly fond of putting the things that make me smile in a place where I’d see them every day. So, if you’re a TV watcher, on either side of the entertainment center, if you have space. If you’re more of a book person, by the reading nest you’ve made for yourself (wherever it may be). I’m hesitant to put something which such sentimental value in a place or situation where he may get harmed by accident — so near, but not in, high trafficked areas would be ideal for me, but ymmv.

  10. I don’t really have any suggestions, because I think everyone has given the best ones already. I do want to say that I love this topic though. As someone who has had to go through her childhood things quickly and efficiently as of late and defend herself and the things she is keeping, I know the feeling of wanting to keep something but not having any “use” for it other than it making you happy.

  11. i like the idea of him up high. either hanging, or, if you have a big enough bookshelf with space above it, i think it might look great up there.

    or, if you have a plant corner (with big tall plants), i might just put him in there amongst the greenery.

    or if you have a high table against a wall that you can see under, put him under there as straight up decor. featured, intentionally.

  12. I have a fireplace that I don’t use, but hate to leave empty. I’ve been decorating it seasonally (pile of bones at Halloween, wreath at Christmas, etc). You know what would look cool there? A really well loved, vintage rocking horse! So maybe something like that? If you have an unused fireplace

  13. There’s a similar object in my mother’s house – an antique tricycle/scooter sort of thing. It’s VERY small – designed for a child of 5, tops – and it sits on a bookshelf surrounded by story books and picture books.

  14. Haha, I love that the letter writer says, “I would, naturally, prefer not to drill holes or damage him in any way, as he is quite sentimental” and the OP’s first suggestion is to paint the horse! Sheesh!

    I would use him as some sort of entryway decor: first thing you see when you enter, last thing you see when you leave. Put a bowl on his flat back to hold car keys.

    I have a similar item…A wooden doll cradle that my now-deceased Grampy made and my died-when-I-was-4 Grandma painted in swirling floral Ukrainian folk patterns. I’m not sure yet how to incorporate this in my grown up house…

    • On the bright side a doll cradle is designed to hold things. probably small enough to go up high without being obtrusive too. It could go on the kitchen counter to hold hand towels (seriously, where is a good place to put those things?); it could go on a table by the door to become a convenient mail drop zone; It could go on your dresser to hold scarves and hats and other hard to org accesories; it could go next to the bed as a mini end table and hold a water bottle, your glasses, etc. It could just go on a coffee or end table and you could fill it with seasonal objects (easter eggs, pinecones, christmas balls, etc)

  15. I have this grotesque, highly realistic, latex vampire bat. As much as I adore his freaky charms my hubby insisted that he was no longer allowed to horrify our guests outside of Halloween time. That made me a sad panda. I wanted to appreciate him daily so I placed him inside my laundry cupboard. Not hidden in some dank, dirty corner but proudly displayed, facing out as overlord of my laundry powder.
    He has been inside there for years but still manages to scare the crap out of me
    Perhaps your beloved rocking horse should snuggled in a place where YOU would appreciate it the most?
    Are you a culinary genius? Put that filly in the kitchen cupboard as a spice rack! Love your morning coffee outside? Clear coat of water sealant and shove your pony under your favorite tree! Or how about inside your wardrobe on a shelf with the shoes from your wedding/prom/raving days perched on top?
    Don’t be afraid to modify your home. Find the zones you visit the most. Then make it a part of your daily routine!

  16. Paint it with a combination of great colors and put it in the Conservatory, if you have one. Hang some small plants on your horse, or maybe a flower arrangement on the seating. Great feature.

  17. My grandpa made me a rocking horse when I was younger, and then continued to make them for fun after he retired, he sells them at craft shows 🙂 Anywho, his house always had horses around. Grandma used to dress them in hats, scarves, bows, use them as plant stands, set presents on them at Christmas, extra seating for guests (the original design was big enough for an adult, but now he makes them in different sizes, not sure how big/sturdy OP’s is).

Join the Conversation