Vintage furniture can instantly make your home feel more luxurious and unique, but it’s important to know how to introduce these items as effectively as possible
Sprucing up your interior design is an exciting adventure to embark upon. There are plenty of different elements to consider, from colour schemes and layout changes to lighting and accessories, but arguably the most important factor to take into consideration is your furniture.
Shopping for unique furniture items is one of the most exciting aspects of rethinking your home design, especially if you’re on the hunt for unique vintage pieces to really make your home shine. There’s no doubt that with vintage furniture, you’re getting the best value for the highest quality.
You’re also getting something with character and unlike the flat-pack furniture in the average person’s home. What’s more, buying vintage furniture is now easier than ever. This is largely because of the rise of online vintage furniture marketplaces like Vinterior, where you can purchase high quality furniture without having to traipse your local flea market.
This means there’s an even higher chance of you getting your hands on some stunning home additions for less.
On top of all this, you’re also doing your bit for the environment by shopping for vintage furniture, as you’re not increasing the demand for new build pieces and instead are reusing one-of-a-kind statement pieces from history.
But shopping for vintage furniture is more of an adventure than your usual shopping trip, and requires a bit more than simply walking into a furniture shop.
This means that it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for. There is plenty to unpack here, from choosing the highest quality pieces to finding the best places to buy, so we’re here to help. Here is our beginner’s guide to buying vintage furniture.
Be sure to do your research
Vintage can mean a lot of different things. It can mean an elaborate cabinet from the turn of the 20th Century, or a funky tub chair from the swinging sixties, and everything in between. This can be pretty overwhelming if you’re new to the world of vintage furniture, as it means there is a huge choice out there to get stuck into.
This all means that it’s important to do plenty of research before you really embark on your shopping spree.
One good way to become an expert fast is to choose a specific period which interests you and researching the designs and culture surrounding it. This will help you get familiar with all the different styles and unique characteristics of that era, while also narrowing down your options and giving you a clearer idea of what kind of look you’re trying to create in your home.
Even if you already a particular theme in mind for you home, it helps to understand the subtle differences between different periods in order to create a real sense of harmony with your décor. By being able to notice the differences between Art Deco, classical and mid-century furniture, you’ll have a clear idea of what details to pay attention to when it comes to shopping.
And of course, if you’re unsure of anything you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help. Interior designers, dealers and appraisers are full of knowledge and are always happy to advise you on the best choices for your tastes and requirements.
Pay attention to the details
Once you’ve settled on your aesthetic and your era, it’s time to start looking at options for specific furniture items. Even having ruled out other time periods, this can still be overwhelming. To the untrained eye, one mid-century might look the same as the next. This is why you need to start looking at the smaller details of each item in order to truly understand its uniqueness.
Casegood items are a great investment. Dining tables, sideboards, dressers and other wood pieces tend to be much sturdier and sounder in construction than many modern day equivalents, which are commonly made from chipboard or pressed wood to save on materials and cost.
To work out which item is the very best though, you need to check for surface wear. If there is little to no surface wear, this will save you the cost of refinishing. The same goes for upholstered pieces which don’t require much in the way of structural repair.
If you’ve already fallen in love with a piece, there are still a few things you should check for as well as surface wear. Before you hand over your cash, enquire about the quality of the finish, hardware and legs. A shiny finish indicates that the piece may have been recently re-varnished.
Check whether the legs or hardware have recently been replaced or repaired. Tell-tale signs of this include nails holding the legs in place or glue marks.
Understanding these details will give you a clearer idea of the value of a piece you’re interested in. This will put you in a better position when it actually comes to buying.
Pay attention to functionality and form
Because vintage furniture is such a huge and varying market, many people take comfort in going for brands they are familiar with. However, this isn’t necessarily the best course of action. While many vintage brands create quality items, you’ll probably also end up spending more for the same level of quality you could find elsewhere.
If there are particular brands you’re interested in then by all means explore what they have to offer, but don’t make a brand name your top priority when shopping for vintage pieces. Instead, put form and function at the top of your list. This will stand you in better stead for finding truly high quality pieces.
If a piece of furniture serves the function you need, and fits in with the style you prefer, then this is the clearest sign that it is a good investment for you personally.
There is also an element of gut instinct involved here. You need to ask yourself whether you really love the piece or not. If you see a piece and instantly fall in love with it, then it’s probably the right piece for you (providing it’s within your budget.)
Enjoy the treasure hunt
There’s no doubt that buying vintage furniture requires a bit off effort on your part, but it can also be an enjoyable experience. And like any good treasure hunt, it’s worth it when you find the perfect prize at the end.
By the time you’ve reached the end of your search, not only have you found some fantastic furniture solutions to spruce up your home’s look but you’ve also gained a wealth of knowledge about furniture quality, history and interior design.
And with the rise of digital vintage marketplaces, it’s becoming increasingly easy to find the perfect items to fill your home with. Some people enjoy exploring local thrift stores and markets and haggling over prices, while others prefer the convenience of doing it all from the comfort of their own homes.
So if you’re thinking of ways to make your home feel more elegant, luxurious and unique, consider vintage furniture as a fantastic way to have fun and fill your home with great finds.