Antique furniture makes for a beautiful, unique touch to any home, and is a worthwhile investment to make. However, the process of shopping for antiques, whether it’s at markets, online or in stores, can be intimidating and overwhelming. How are you supposed to know if you’re being ripped off, and how do you begin to choose furniture? Read through this handy guide to make shopping for antiques a little less daunting, and a lot more rewarding in terms of creating your dream home.
1. ) Do your Research: Explore what shops are in your area, from specialized antique furniture stores to vintage markets or even second-hand stores that might house some hidden gems. Auctions, estate sales and online listing websites like eBay and Gumtree can also have some truly one-of-a-kind pieces available.
Visit the physical locations several times to get the inside scoop from the sellers, or even discounts when they want to clear out a particular item in a hurry.
2.) Check the Condition: The furniture you choose needs to have good bones, meaning it should have a sturdy frame and that drawers and doors should open easily. Bear in mind that upholstered furniture like sofas are likely to be in a greater state of disrepair than a chest of drawers or cabinet.
3.) Go Beyond the Brands: Certain furniture makers may be particularly known for their craft during a particular era, but this often comes with a great price tag. Keep an open mind and be willing to go for an unknown brand which might be less expensive but of the same style, quality and era.
4.) Don’t Assume Quality: Just because a piece of furniture is old does not mean it was crafted well. Inferior brands have always existed, meaning they can still be circulating around the market as antique pieces. Look out for low quality materials and workmanship and research some brands so you have an idea of what to look for on the market.
5.) Don’t Expect Perfection: Used furniture will always have some flaws and imperfections. Scratches, dents and discoloration are all things you need to be willing to accept when choosing the antique furniture. Remember, you can always get an item professionally refinished if you would like to restore it to its original condition.
6.) Use Your Bargaining Power: Bargaining is always an option when it comes to antique furniture. Get comfortable with haggling, and look out for anything that allows you to bring down the price further. Minor flaws, like those mentioned earlier, can be used to bargain for a lower price. However, when haggling over slightly damaged pieces, make sure that the cost of repairs don’t exceed the amount you save.
7.) Measure Up: Your antique furniture pieces should serve a purpose. Sure, they can be ornamental, but they need to work well within your space, otherwise they’ll just be relegated to the back of your store room. Take measurements with you so you know exactly where you’ll put the furniture in your home. Don’t go based off eyeballing the furniture, as items will always look bigger or smaller than they actually are when crowded together with other items in a store.
8.) Consider Repurposing: Always keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to repurpose an item. For example, if you’re looking for a nightstand, don’t just focus singularly on nightstands. You could easily turn a small table or chair into a nightstand, or us an old suitcase as a side table or coffee table. Repurposing furniture in an unexpected way gives your home a quirky and distinctive touch, and can also save you money if you’re clever with how you substitute items.
9.) Antique Furniture: When it comes to retail stores, you can buy all your furniture pieces from the same range, ensuring they all complement each other. This, of course, isn’t possible with antique furniture, as pieces are often not in a collection together, or sets are far too expensive to buy together. Your space might also become overwhelming if it comprises entirely of antique furniture.
The way to get around this is to go for individual pieces that work well together and fit into your existing space. This takes creativity and thought, but will result in a truly one-of-a-kind home.
10.) Alternative Replicas: Of course, you may struggle to find antique pieces that are of a suitable quality and look, at reasonable prices, in your area. If you are sick of scouring through online listings and spending your Sunday mornings at markets, consider quality replica furniture instead.
These are made to precisely replicate the look of antique furniture, but without any of the wear and tear that antiques actually suffer.