Hi friends! I have been lucky to decorate my home with a lot of vintage finds that I found various places. The key to having a collected home is to mix the old with the new. As tempting as it is to order an entire room from Ballard Designs or Pottery Barn, such rooms look off and lack character and charm. Adding a few vintage elements to a space help to tell your story and give the space a collected feel. Here are my top 5 sources for finding those unique finds.
Craigslist: If you are willing to wait, search hard for what you want, and even travel, Craigslist is a great source for decor and antiques for a steal. First, ensure you are using the proper search terms to find what you are looking for. Also, if it is a very general category, such as a rug, you may want to specify a color or country of origin, or use the term “vintage” to help you narrow the search results. Second, always use the “gallery” mode when viewing your search results. Craigslist gives you the option of a list, thumb or gallery in the top left hand corner of your results. The gallery mode lets you see the pictures before you click on the item, so you can easily scroll and eliminate items that you are not interested. Third, in the top right hand corner you can “save search.” If you select this, Craigslist will email you every time a new item that meets your search criteria is posted. It is important that your search is as specific as possible because if you just search for “rug” you are going to get 100 emails from Craigslist every day. Finally, be willing to travel. I create my Craigslist searches so that it also searches areas nearby my city. One of my favorite finds to date is this vintage Hollywood Regency faux bamboo mirror that I traveled to San Francisco to pick up.
Ebay: Ebay is a wonderful source for vintage items and antiques. The selection is unparalleled. I found a brass planter at an antique faire a few months ago. I decided I would love a matching set to plant some snake plants in. Ebay to the rescue. I searched for “round brass planter” and found a match. You can save searches and favorite sellers. For most items you can bid auction style or “buy it now.” Ebay is especially great if you are shopping for a collection. For instance, if you want to start a collection of Majolica ceramics, Ebay would be a great source, due to the sheer volume and selection on the site.
Chairish: Chairish is like Ebay for the design lover. Since larger furniture items can be very expensive to ship, I like to narrow my search results by city so that I can opt for local pickup which costs you nada! You can search by category or design style, so there is something for everyone. I also follow a couple of local dealers and I am sent email updates when they have new items. I was recently able to score a set of mongolian fur pillows that were in like-new condition for about half the price.
Estate Sales: In my local neighborhood, estate sales can be a gold mine. One of my main tips is to get on the email list for the various estate sale companies in your neighborhood. Most send out e-mails about dates, times, locations, and photos of the items. Seeing the items in advance can help you decide if it is worth your while and if you want to show up super early to snag a certain item. Next, be prepared to wait in line. At some of the sales in my neighborhood, a line starts to form hours before the sale starts. I am starting to find that many of the local thrift and vintage boutiques shop these sales and arrive the night before to ensure they get the items on their list. Also, get a babysitter and leave the kids behind. Many sales do not allow children and even if they do, you want to take your time going through the items. You don’t want to feel rushed or distracted. You can also try local garage sales, but to be honest, I have rarely found anything good at these sales.
Antique Faires: These can be such a wonderful source for treasured antiques. They also make the perfect Sunday date or girls day. I am fortunate that here in Sacramento, we have a large Antique faire the second Sunday of every month. I usually go every month, except if it is really cold! The key to going to these, similar to estate sales, is to not have anything specific in mind. Also, while some vendors accept credit cards, it is best to have cash. Finally, prepare to negotiate. Most vendors will accept fair offers, so bust out those negotiation skills.
I am always trying to add new sources for antiques to my source book. I recently stumbled upon a site called Invaluable. They are an online auction platform that connects people anywhere in the world to auctions occurring in real-time. Apparently, they do this by partnering with thousands of auction houses globally. So, if you don’t have a large selection for antiques locally, Invaluable might be a great resource. They have a blog where they just posed about the best U.S towns for summer antiquing, so head on over to see if your town is on the list.
Right now, I am looking for a vintage crystal chandelier like this one.
They are so beautiful and make such an impact. It is the perfect piece to try and mix in with more modern elements or to top off a traditional room. The key to shopping for antiques and vintage items is to be patient. Always have the items in the back your mind and if you are patient and keep searching, your treasure will eventually turn up. That is part of the fun, right?
Where are your favorite places to shop for antiques and vintage items? Please share your sources in the comments!!