Making a space “your own” can have many different meanings. It could be cherished family photos sprinkled across the walls or your favorite color splashed across the decor of your home. But oftentimes, we can find ourselves seeking inspiration from the influence of others or buying into a furniture trend from IKEA. There is nothing wrong with following home design trends, but sticking too close to these mainstream trends can gradually make your home feel foreign and, well, not like yourself.
When trying to make my own home feel more personalized, I’ve found that choosing vintage furniture and decor pieces is a great way to create a more unique look. Vintage shopping distinguishes itself from shopping retail because it is more of a multi-step experience. From sourcing to learning about the piece and the story it may have, to transporting it home and styling it. That one-of-a-kind piece will be displayed in your home and will reflect a process led entirely by you and your own foraging. You’ll also be secure in knowing that no one else has that 50’s dresser or antique lamp in their home!
If you’re new to vintage shopping or have never thought to add it to your home decor or design plans, here is a quick step-by-step cheat sheet on how antique pieces go from the market or estate sale to my home.
1) Sourcing and Purchasing Vintage Pieces
A good rule of thumb for finding great vintage furniture and decor is to frequently visit vintage furniture stores near you or in areas with older homes. Stores are constantly receiving new items, so by visiting often, you’ll be the first to get your hands on that unique piece that really screams your style. You can also find great pieces at auctions, estate sales, online auctions, and flea markets. Even if you pass a shop on the road you’ve never been to before, it doesn’t hurt to take a few minutes to browse! It also helps to stay up to date with your local vintage shops on social media.
And don’t forget to always make sure you have an idea of the type of furniture or decor item you are looking for before shopping. This will help make the sourcing process easier and keep you focused on finding the perfect piece that fits your style.
2) What to Look For in a Vintage Piece
There are many people who are avid antique collectors, meaning they specifically search for valuable designer brands, items with little to no signs of wear, and investment opportunities. While this type of vintage shopping is great, it is not practical to those who are solely looking to add unique touches to their home. I personally buy vintage pieces to decorate my home and make my space reflect my personal style without worrying about resale value or exact origin.
When searching for the right piece, you’ll want to make sure that the item is of good quality, has little structural flaws, and has small details that really bring out its charm. A fun bonus is being able to hear the story behind a piece and where it may have come from. However, I find it most important to find something that you love— something that immediately catches your eye! Vintage pieces are one-of-a-kind, just like yourself, and that is why choosing furniture and decor that speaks to you is the perfect way to personalize your space.
3) Styling Your Vintage Piece
In step one, I mentioned how you should always have a plan before diving into your vintage furniture search. Once you’ve found that item, it’s time to style it in your home. With any furniture and decor, moving them around a room frequently can help you see them from different angles, in different light depending on the time of day, and next to different existing items in your home. Try recreating different “stories” or “vignettes” with your new old item and mixing it in with other pieces around your house that compliment it, often of a similar color or a balancing companion texture.
You Are Your Home’s Curator
A vintage mirror that may have hung on the wall of someone’s home 70 years ago is now yours— pretty cool! It’s refreshing to know that the pieces in your home have not only been chosen by you but are one-of-a-kind. Including antique pieces in your home is an amazing (and fun) way to personalize your home and make a space feel like your name is written all over it. So, if you’re feeling stuck in choosing furniture for your living room, it may help to sift through an antique store for a unique, meaningful piece!
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