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3 useful tips for buying vintage furniture

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Incorporating vintage furniture into your interior design can be a great way to bring a unique flair to your home. Often, you can find one-of-a-kind pieces at low prices that can infuse your space with quirky, antique charm. When choosing older pieces, though, there are a few things you need to know to make sure you are getting a good deal. Use these three tips to find the best vintage furniture for your space.

1. Shop outside the box 
Joss and Main notes that if you really want to score the perfect vintage find, you need to keep an open mind when it comes to your shopping destinations. While shops specializing in antique furniture can be filled with beautiful, durable pieces, they often come with high price. In addition to browsing these stores, make an effort to stop at yard and estate sales – you really never know what you might find. Do some research to see where the local auctions are in your area as well, since these can also be a treasure trove for interesting pieces.

2. Check the condition 
First, be prepared to take home a piece that has some wear and tear – if you are looking for an item that is in pristine condition, you are probably better off purchasing it brand new. If you are truly in the market for an authentic vintage piece, shopping blog I’m So Vintage recommends looking to see if the signs of wear are realistic and consistent –  pieces like legs, arms, handles and knobs should show the most signs of use, such as fading and discoloration. Many times, vendors at flea markets try to pass off cheaply made new pieces as antiques by adding a distressed finish, but these imitations are usually easy to spot.

While true vintage condition can add a richness to your interior design, make sure the pieces are in stable condition if you plan on using them regularly. Lifestyle blog She Knows recommends only purchasing an item for daily use if it has “good bones” – basically strong structure made from good materials. While you will probably want to do some simple fixes on whatever items you choose, larger construction projects usually are not worth it.

If you are absolutely in love with a fragile piece, purchase it for decorative use only. This also applies to vintage household appliances, like room fans, which should only be purchased new if you plan on using them consistently.

3. Try negotiating prices 
Since you will most likely be digging around at yard sales and tiny antique stores for vintage furniture, sellers are usually open to changing the sticker price. Joss and Main recommends being extremely nice the minute you approach the vendor’s collection – oftentimes, owners are truly passionate about antiques and want their items to go to appreciative homes. Strike up a conversation about the item of interest – not only will you have a better chance at getting a good deal, you might learn some interesting facts about the piece in the process.


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