Getting Started with Vintage Home Décor

Everything old is new again, or so the saying goes. Scrolling is the new browsing, and there are some excellent finds to be had. Here's where to start.

Vintage ShoppingEverything old is new again, or so the saying goes. And if scrolling through Instagram has anything to say about it, it's that granny chic is in. Many of us have spent an unprecedented amount of time in our homes, and might be feeling the need for a little refresh. But what if you'd like to decorate your place with some looks that can't be found elsewhere? Vintage furniture and accessories can provide original accents (often affordable!) to brighten your abode. Browsing local vintage shops can net you unique finds, but there are also corners of the internet that are basically giant flea markets. Scrolling is the new browsing, and there are some excellent finds to be had. Here's where to start.

Learn What to Look For: There are great vintage items on eBay, Etsy, and Facebook Marketplace, but it's good to be informed before you start clicking "buy now." Here are some resources that can help steer your online shopping.

Search Terms 101. This list compiled by House Beautiful editors will help you narrow your internet sleuthing from, well, everything to specific search terms that will help you find that authentic, one-of-a-kind item. Learn how to spot Louis XV furniture, and what Poul Henningsen lighting has to offer.  

Buyer Beware. Decorating with one-of-a-kind pieces means you'll need to act fast if you like something—there's no restocking here! But it's also important to check the fine print, and to be mindful of concerns like lead paint. This article from Better Homes & Gardens is a great primer on how to shop vintage safely and smartly.  

Glass It Up. The colorful glass made during the Depression is a popular vintage find these days, and can run from affordable to pricey, depending on the rarity, color, and vibrancy of the item. This article (and this one, too!) explains the implications of color and design, and what to look out for while browsing.


Vintage ShoppingIn addition to combing through the Internet on your own, there are some great online shops that do some of the hard work for you. Here you can browse already vetted finds.

One Kings Lane. This popular home shopping site has a well-stocked vintage section, where you can find anything from a 19th-century French table lamp to bundles of used books—some arranged by color, if your ROGBIV bookshelf is missing some G or IV. Certain items ship for free, which is a nice perk.

Chairish. This online vintage furnishings shop showcases the breadth of what's out there. Want to look at a pair of 1970s Mongolian Lamb chain stools from Italy, which will set you back a cool $7800? You can do that on Chairish. Lower price tags are also available on many items, including accessories like candlesticks, textiles, and book ends. A detailed search engine allows you to search by style, color, and location—an important detail if you're looking for heavier items.

Everything But the House. Ever wanted to raise your paddle at an estate sale? Then this online auction site is for you. Search vintage art, jewelry, decor, and more and get your bid in before the auction ends. The curated collection can help your search feel more targeted, and you can sell your own items too, if you'd like.

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