I've been vintage furniture shopping for years both in store and online, long before it was popular and long before thrift stores raised their prices sky-high. As a young mom on a tight budget, shopping allowed my dollars to stretch further plus allowed me to stretch my creative muscles and learn new skills. I can remember finding a vintage cabinet on CL years ago long before I blogged and even knew what a blog was,. I painted that cabinet black and used it as TV stand.
What started out as a necessity, grew into a love of re-purposing vintage furniture and breathing new life into items. I've learned many lessons along the way and added a several pieces to my home that I love. Not only doing I love re-vamping a piece of furniture, I also love that the vintage gems I've found all tell a story. I've rounded up 5 of my favorite vintage furniture finds to date, because I've always quietly on the hunt looking for my next treasure.
I had my heart set on a finding a vintage oval dining room table with pedestal feet. I searched high and low for months, then finally the universe heard me and I came across the perfect table or my dining, it came with 6 chairs! I only wanted the table, but totally caved and it all came home with me. for $200 the table + 6 chairs was a steal. I love the the classic lines of the table mixed with 1950's flair and the brass capped feet. In a former life, before I painted the table it was a blonde wood. Read more about my table adventure here.
I scored my vintage campaign dresser a few months before our home was re-built (read more about the find here) Campaign dressers have been back in vogue for quite a while, but I love most about mine is the hardware + the side handles don't make it look like everyone else campaign dresser. I painted my dresser white with oil paint and turned the dresser into a TV stand, I'll never part with this piece. Never.
For Avery's room, I pictured a bookcase filled with both books & toys. I searched CL for months and finally had a luck at a local consignment store and got his bookcase, that we've dubbed his "toycase." I paid under $120 bucks for it and love it, its solid wood and spent maybe $4 bucks updating it with the knobs.
The minute I saw this vintage dresser, I knew my sister was buying it! She was totally skeptical and nervous about buying vintage, but loved the look of my campaign dresser so she trusted my vision and went with it, read more about the makeover here. I painted my sisters dresser a deep green, not going to lie painting a dresser with this much detail is work but oh so worth it. She loves it and I'm so happy I made her happy! See the before here.
Another one of my favorite vintage finds is the side table in our living room, also a consignment store find. As much as I love a good makeover, I also love those rare times when I find a piece that needs nothing and is in pristine condition. When I first brought the side table, I contemplated painting it, then quickly came to my senses! The tones in the wood are everything, I topped the table with an extra large wood tray (with glass insert) the tray on top adds the perfect visual height.
When shopping for furniture, it can be exciting, overwhelming and disappointing! Yes, vintage shopping can lead to so many emotions. Below are few tips to consider before buying your next piece.
- Ask yourself if the scale of the furniture will be right for your space, you don't want mini or over-sized piece of furniture to throw the vibe / look of your room off
- Look for solid a solid piece, in good condition.
- If buying a dresser or side-table confirm all drawers open & close smoothly
- Skip chipped over severely damaged wood veneer furniture, yes you can fix it but it can be a pain.
- Make sure the furniture isn't wobbly, a solid piece is worth the investment of refinishing
- If your dresser is missing 'key' hardware that totally makes the dresser have that 'wow' appeal, and not easily replaceable, its best to just walk away.
- If the furniture your considering has a 'musty' smell and its wood, do your research and make sure you can get that funky smell out
- Skip particleboard furniture, yes you can paint it. However, if its in poor shape its honestly not worth the hassle.
- Just because it's cheap doesn't mean you should buy it (that's my anti hording mantra)
- See the big picture before handing your coins over, meaning make sure it will add to your space and not take away for your already great space
- Before buying furniture that needs to be reupholstered, confirm the piece is already in good shape, which will help you save money when its time to invest in upholstery
When I'm looking for a specific piece for my home, I stalk CL (I also look beyond my area, I'm so willing to drive 1+ hrs for the find of my life ) Also while on CL use key words in the search field: Drexel. MCM, Vintage, Ethan Allen, Chippendale, Chinoise just to name a few.Visit local consignment stores, and thrift stores, and mix up your rotation. For furniture, I usually skip The Goodwill (its been overpriced for the past few years) I visit Salvation Army & Saint Vincent Du Paul. In my experience the large antique malls have killer items with to die for Mid Century pieces and classic Shabby Chic but come a the full price of West Elm & Pottery Barn, so its all about where you want to spend your coins and spend them wisely! I've been stuck with a vintage dud in the past, hopefully my tips will help you side step in furniture missteps.
What's your favorite vintage piece of furniture you've found?