Depending on where you are on your vintage shopping excursion, vintage stores are often bursting at the seams with goods, which can be both exciting and overwhelming. Those new to the antique industry may want to take inspiration from spaces and pros they love to assist them figure out what types of objects they enjoy the most. Molly Blankenship of Not All Beige advises, “Find images from designers and artists that incorporate vintage aspects and let it drive your ideas.”
Think beyond conventional resale websites and area thrift stores when identifying the finest buying choices, recommends Anna Weaver of Anna Weaver Interiors. “Look into auctions, home consignment stores, estate sales, antique malls, and Instagram sellers—the internet has made it so much simpler to find these sources,” she advises. “And take your time discovering your favorite secondhand haunts,” says the author.
Keep These Characteristics in Mind
If you’re used to buying new furniture, shopping vintage may take some getting used to at first, but focusing less on perfection and more on the bones of a piece will pay off.
How to Decorate with Vintage Items in Your Home
Blankenship adds that once you’ve chosen your ideal pieces, the goal is to avoid over-styling them in your house. “To me, vintage style is allowing an item to speak for itself,” she explains. You don’t need to add any more pieces to make a table, chest, or chairs stand out. It’s best to keep things simple!”
Also, don’t stress about finding a permanent home for something right away—or ever! Many vintage pieces may readily be adapted to new settings; all you need is a little imagination. “An oversized vintage brass lamp is the equivalent of a little black dress for me,” says Stacy Harvie of Capitol Vintage Charm. “It can be a basic lamp that you retain forever by changing the shade as it rotates rooms in your home.” And, if it’s large enough, the shade and the gleam of the brass may often make a statement on its own, without the need for other items on the table.”
Don’t be afraid to give a piece some TLC if it truly needs it, adds Weaver. She continues, “There is such great potential to bring artifacts back to life.” “It can be repaired, and if you don’t have the stamina to do it yourself, it’s nice to discover a local company that can do it.” You’ll almost certainly save money in the end.”
In that vein, old furniture can frequently be quite skillfully crafted and utilize materials that are less commonly employed in modern furniture construction—Weaver, for example, is a big fan of inlaid wood. “The best part about decorating with vintage and secondhand is that you can typically get a high-quality piece for a reasonable price,” she explains. “So, with patience and time, you can be picky and find lovely, affordable stuff.”
When buying vintage items, keep in mind that a weathered appearance might be appealing. Blankenship notes, “The best vintage and antique pieces have wear, patina, and features that reveal a life lived.” “While you don’t want a piece that is falling apart, scratches and flaws can contribute to the beauty of a piece.”
According to MOB Vintage owner Mike O’Bryant, vintage collectors also appreciate looking for items that tell a story. “My house is like a fun museum,” he continues. “When my buddies come around, they always want to learn something new!” Weaver concurs. “My absolute favorite part of decorating with antique is that almost every piece has a story to tell, and by adopting a treasure, I’ll be adding to that tale.”
Do you adore a piece of furniture you found but aren’t sure how it will fit into your lifestyle? Don’t be afraid to think beyond the box. Jess Ziomek of Thrills of the Hunt advises antique shoppers to be creative when incorporating a treasure into their decor. “It’s fine to think beyond the original intended purpose of an antique object,” she says. “There’s no reason why an old armoire can’t be turned into a bar, draperies can’t be turned into a bed canopy, and your bar cart can’t store your record player and vinyl.” She also points out that putting various antique treasures in the same area or incorporating them into one vignette is perfectly acceptable. “Don’t be scared to experiment with different combinations. Layers of vintage artifacts from diverse ages, geographical places, and styles are found in the most refreshing rooms that emanate personality.”