Purchasing vintage furniture is a great way to get quality furniture for less. With vintage pieces, you can add a cool appeal to the house in a bargain. It does not matter if the piece was mass-produced, by the time it is vintage, it is unusual and bringing vintage accessories in your house is an environmentally friendly act. However, buying vintage furniture is different from thrift store shopping or a garage sale as you are not looking for used furniture, but for furniture from a specific era. In order to qualify as vintage furniture, it must be about three to four decades old. If it is more than 100 years old, it will qualify as antique.
You can look at vintage stores but you will also find unique pieces online. There are abundant pieces on websites that specialise in different eras, in addition to general auction sites that have different pieces and furniture from several eras. You can also check ad websites and online classified ads and you will be able to sift through locally available pieces.
The upside of buying online is a huge selection. But you cannot see the piece in person and there is a chance that you might not like it or it could be in the wrong size or the upholstery may not look the same. A major risk with buying vintage furniture online is the condition. Even shipping can become a problem since most of the pieces will not be available in the area. Ensure that the piece is worth the cost and the shipping.
Store Buying tips
All of this may sound promising but how do you decide if it is a good piece and is worth the price? How can you find the right piece? Here are a few tips to help you.
1. Look for good sources and visit often
It is best to explore different vintage furniture shops in your area. Again, if the area you live in is fairly new, you may want to head to the area that has older homes. Head to auctions, flea markets and estate sales to find fantastic pieces. After you have located a few good stores, head there often. Talk to the vendors or salespeople as they will provide you with a lot of information and will let you know when something you like shows up. When the pieces have not sold for a long time, the stores tend to reduce prices on them and if you visit often, there is a good chance of picking the bargains up.
2. Pick gently used pieces
You must look for gently used pieces instead of furniture that has been trashed. The reasons are obvious. There are times when the vintage furniture is sold on consignment and such pieces are in better shape, you only need to look out for them. Goods like dining room furniture, bar stools, chests and cabinets hold up better than the upholstered furniture. Hence, it is best to look for gently used furniture. It is not cost effective to refurbish the upholstered furniture because it is not something that most people know how to do on their own.
3. Pick furniture that has quality bones
Put your money in furniture pieces that have good bones. The drawers should easily slide out and the upholstered pieces should have strong frames. There are many vintage stores that reupholster pieces of high quality but you will have to pay a lot for this.
4. Pick unpopular brands
It is ideal to find familiar brands but do not stick to them. You must look for other manufacturers of the same period as they might be less expensive but offer great quality.
5. Invest in quality
Remember, just because it is old furniture, it does not mean that the quality is great. You must avoid furniture that is made with low quality material or poor workmanship. Different eras have their share of well-made furniture and vintage pieces are no exception. You should research the brands of the era you are looking for before you begin shopping.
6. Scratches should not scare you
It is essential to look for gently used furniture but surface scratches can be easily fixed. Do not let the scratches scare you. There are many products in the market that have minor flaws and if it is the right price, you can also get it professionally refinished.
7. If there are defects, bargain
You can use the scary scratches to your benefit by bargaining. Look at the piece very carefully for any damage and if the piece is worth buying, you can use any evidence of damage to get a better price. However, before you bargain, you need to make sure that the piece can be fixed and that the price of repairs on the vintage item is not very high.
Keep these tips in mind when buying vintage furniture for your home. The search for the piece might be time consuming but it will be worth it.