A Guide for Buying Vintage Furniture October 22 2019
Collecting vintage furniture is a popular hobby for those who love the look of old wood, classic fabrics, and timeless metals. Many homes have decorator pieces set aside to show off with no intention of ever using them.
However, carefully selected vintage furniture doesn't have to be relegated to the sitting room where no one ever sits. Here are some tips for buying vintage furniture.
1. Find a Source You Can Trust and Visit Often
Whether it's online or at a local store, find a market you can visit regularly. Find out when new merchandise goes up for sale and make it a point to check in often. Also watch for ads announcing flea markets, estate sales, or auctions in your area.
Frequent visits are also an excellent way to catch markdowns or sale prices on items that have been on the floor for a long time.
2. Focus on the Structure
When you're evaluating a piece of vintage furniture, look beyond the cosmetic. No matter how pretty the item, if the frame is weak, the drawers don't open right, or plastic components are cracked, keep looking. Even if you can find someone who knows how to restore an item with structural issues, the cost probably outweighs the value.
3. Know That Brand Names Aren't Everything
When you start studying vintage furniture, you learn about some big names such as Broyhill and Ethan Allen. While that's valuable information to have, don't spend too much time looking for brand names. You can find some beautiful pieces by manufacturers you've probably never encountered.
4. Pay Attention to Quality
Vintage furniture may be old, but not everything old is well-made. The ideal piece is made of solid materials with craftsmanship. Researching the period when the piece was made can help you determine what to look for as a sign of quality.
5. Expecting Perfection Is a Mistake
Vintage furniture will rarely be pristine. Surface scratches show character, and if you want to remove them, most are easy to repair. If the piece is worth it, you can even have the work done professionally. Don't avoid a piece you love because of a few little scraps.
6. Use the Imperfections as a Bargaining Chip
Even though you know that scratches are not a significant issue, you can still use them to your advantage. Look for evidence of damage or modifications.
Use what you see to bargain for a lower price, but only if you know, you can either fix the flaws for a reasonable cost or live with them.
7. Evaluate Your Space
Vintage furniture is for using or at least displaying. You want it to be seen, not hidden.
Measure the space where you plan to set the item so you know exactly how big you can go.
8. Repurpose When You Can
As you shop, remember that you don't have to use the piece for its original intended purpose. Old trunks make neat tables, for example.
Coming up with a new way to use a classic piece is a form of self-expression.
Visit Urban Americana's online collection to check out intriguing items like this vintage scale. You won't find these in a typical furniture store, so you must learn where to shop and what to look for while you're out and about.
Image Credit: Getty Images / JackF