Antique furniture is not your average garage sale find.
True vintage or antique pieces can take a little time to hunt down, but when you find them, they are true gems that you can’t live without.
Buying antique furniture or vintage items is a smart strategy to get really good quality pieces for a lot less. You add originality and character to your space at a bargain, but you must know what you’re looking for.
Antique vs. Vintage
Antique and vintage are not the same thing and don’t hold the same value. Learn the difference to know what you’re paying for.
Vintage furniture is anything at least 30-40 years old. By today’s standard, that would be anything from the 60’s or 70’s. The best part about vintage is usually by the time it’s 30-40 years old, it’s coming back in style, so you get the best of both worlds.
Antique furniture is at least 100 years old. This is stuff that is valuable because it’s so old. It’s a piece of history. It’s something you can’t find today and likely won’t find again.
So, how you do find those unique and one-of-a-kind antique and vintage furniture pieces in your area?
We’re here to help with unique tips to buying antique furniture at consignment shops in Louisville. The savvy antiquer knows a few tricks for saving money and it often takes years of experience, but anyone can develop the knack.
1. Shop early, shop late: This is a bargain-finder rule of thumb. The best stuff will be out early in the morning, but the best prices will be at the end of the day.
Whether you are hunting down an estate sale, perusing a flea market, or going to an antique show, it’s worth it to go early and get the best stuff and then come back to see what is left at the end of the day.
If you absolutely love it, buy it early. If you’re on the fence, come back later to see if you can get a better price.
2. Look for the small stuff: Chances are a vintage chaise lounge or antique dressing table will sell quickly, but develop a niche for small items that don’t take up much room, so you increase your collecting potential.
You might be surprised how valuable a piece of jewelry, fishing lure, or antique tools may be.
3. Buy furniture you actually like: Just because it’s old doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy it.
Follow your heart and search for antique furniture that you actually love, not things that you think might be worth something someday. Put your own needs, style, and preferences first.
If it’s worth something, that’s an added bonus. Otherwise, you end up with a basement of stuff that you don’t like and nobody wants.
4. Condition matters: An antique side table might be beautiful, but if it has cracked top and wobbly legs, you probably won’t get much use out of it.
Ask about the history of the piece to see if there is a story behind the condition or if it’s just old. Be sure to take a closer look at the piece to see how it is constructed, if it’s sturdy enough to use, or if it’s best to move on.
5. Find the odd man out: Look for items in a store that don’t really belong.
For example, if you’re in a vintage jewelry shop and you see a ceramic plate, or maybe a bronze piece in a silver shop, these odd pieces may be hidden gems. Dealers or sellers are often willing to discount the unsuitable item just to get it out of the shop and move things along.
6. Think twice about refurbishing: When it comes to vintage or antique furniture, it’s better to restore it to its original glory rather than refurbish it to something completely new. Restoring furniture can be quite the undertaking to ensure you are not doing damage to the piece, and reupholstering old items can quickly become a money pit.
Most of all, high-quality antique furniture pieces will lose their value if you replace any of the original pieces including hardware, fabric, or finishing. If you want a furniture makeover, consignment furniture that is slightly used might be a better choice than quality antique or vintage furniture.
7. You don’t live a museum: In addition to the beauty and rich history that often comes with vintage furniture, it should also have quality livability. If a piece of furniture has made it through centuries without falling apart, you shouldn’t be afraid to use it.
Don’t buy something if you’re going to be walking on eggshells by it every day. Even rare pieces should still be usable. The best way to enjoy vintage furniture is to use it as it was intended.
8. Trust your furniture dealer: As you become more and more experienced in shopping for vintage furniture and antique pieces, you’ll get to know the dealers in your area. A good dealer is passionate about each piece and will be upfront about its history and value.
An investment antique piece should come from a reputable dealer, not a garage sale.
Call today to see what information Candyjacks has for you!
9. Ask questions: This is probably the most important part of all. A good antique dealer is your best resource for learning about antique furniture shopping in general and learning about individual pieces.
Each piece of antique furniture comes with a story. If you have an old chair, but you don’t know when or where it came from, you only have half of the equation. It could be from an old Louisville family!
Even if you are only looking for something that looks nice and you don’t necessarily care if it has value, the story should still be told. Ask about the history, the craftsmanship, where the dealer got the piece, how it has been treated, used, etc.
Vintage furniture and antique items are more than home furnishings, they are a part of history, and that’s what makes them different.
Even if you’re not ready to buy antiques just yet, peruse shops and get to know the owners. Learn more about what makes antique furniture special, and be curious about the time periods and styles you might be interested in.
Take your time to educate yourself. You might be surprised how just one or two beautiful antique pieces can infuse your Louisville home with historic style and warmth. Find that piece at Candyjacks today!