I grew up in a home that, at the time, had the most beautiful vintage furniture around – even if I didn’t appreciate it then. I often wish that I had been able to save some of the beautiful pieces that my grandparents had in their home, which were unfortunately lost in a house fire.
If you don’t have the luxury of having family heirlooms passed down through generations, buying secondhand furniture is an affordable option. Vintage furniture will look great in your home and it is easy to find pieces still in great shape, since furniture used to be built to last for years.
A lot of vintage pieces were made with high-quality materials and more attention was given to the details, compared to the furniture that you can purchase in stores now. Besides, a quality vintage piece is going to help you create a unique look in your home, and you will definitely get your money’s worth.
Before you begin, there are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping for secondhand vintage furniture. Make the most of your next trip to the flea market by following these five tips.
Do Your Research
If you are looking for something specific, learn as much as you can about similar products, about the style you like or about the period in general. This will give you an idea of what you will pay for the price you want. Besides, you should know that there are a lot of reproductions for mid-century pieces. You can easily spot fakes by doing your homework.
Learn To I.D. Furniture
Vintage furniture that was made prior to the 1940s usually have maker’s marks. These marks can help you I.D. the piece or at least confirm that you are looking at an authentic piece made before 1940. These marks can tell you who made the piece, where it was sold, when it was made or can tell you stories about a piece of furniture. Some marks indicate that a piece was sold at an estate sale for instance. Being able to identify these marks can help you identify the provenance of a piece and will give you more leverage if you want to negotiate.
Negotiate With The Seller
Don’t be afraid to ask the seller if they can give you a better price. The worse that can happen is that the seller won’t lower the price. You will probably get a discount if you ask, especially if you are purchasing more than one piece from the seller.
Can You Fix It?
A lot of vintage pieces need a few repairs. Paint, scratches, dust and other small flaws shouldn’t be a problem. However, fixing structural damage won’t be easy unless you have experience with fixing furniture. Take the time to examine the pieces you want to buy. Original details, paint and finish can add value and character to a piece but you also need to look for the flaws that will need to be fixed.
Do you have any vintage pieces in your home that were amazing finds at a flea market or used furniture store? Tell us your story in the comments below.