A Guide to Buying Vintage Furniture

A great vintage piece of furniture is stylish, cheaper and of great quality, but finding one can be a challenge if there is no plan or outlined method. This is a simple guide for those who might want to venture into the secondhand market.

Know what you’re looking for

There are many different kinds of styles, periods and designs of furniture, which can make the experience of looking for the perfect piece quite overwhelming. The first step of the hunt should be an in depth research on the many key periods, how to check the piece’s condition and vintage designers or brands one might be interested in. Then, attributing three characteristics to your perfect piece (e.g., a dark wooden dining table from the 1970s) will automatically filter the research, both online and in physical stores.


Become a regular

Whether it’s a flea market, a vintage store or a website, find some good sources of vintage furniture and start going there often (when it comes to online stores, 1stdibs, pamono and One kings Lane are some of our favorites). Markets with hundreds of dealers in one place have a great variety of pieces for sale and might get you a better value, while the owners of smaller shops are great sources of information and can let you know when something you’re looking for shows up. While searching online, reading reviews of the seller or contacting them directly can also be very helpful.

Quality comes first

There are many high quality vintage pieces out there, but each era has it’s share of poorly made furniture as well. Look for pieces made with good quality, long lasting materials and great craftmanship. Check the drawers, the legs and don’t get fooled by low prices; you will pay for them later.


Consider the condition

Inspecting a piece’s condition is very important, but small scratches that do not affect the overall structure can usually be fixed. Look out for signs of wear, damages and repairs, and determine whether you can easily fix them or not. Those flaws can also be used when bargaining for a better price, especially if the piece asks for more expensive repairs. Online, don’t be afraid to ask for more pictures if you can’t see the piece in great detail.

Does it fit?

Pull out your tape measure and check the piece’s dimensions before buying it. Making sure it fits in the designed space (and through the door when it arrives) is something many people forget to do.


Versatility is important

Vintage pieces are usually known for their distinctive look and design, but keep in mind that what you buy should look good with the furniture at home. Versatile pieces like small, minimal tables or chairs can go from a room to another, depending on what looks and fits the best. That being said, don’t be scared of statement furniture; most of the times, a peculiar piece can brighten up an entire room.