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How To Shop For Vintage Finds For Your Home

... and the best places to search for your treasures!

flea market, kane county flea market, antique furniture
Pro Tip: pack your patience! This was a photo I took at the Kane County Flea Market. So many people! So many things!

As more and more people embrace the charm and character of vintage items, shopping for vintage finds has become a popular activity for those looking to add unique and personalized touches to their homes. With so many options and variables to consider, it can be a daunting task for beginners. But it doesn't have to be! Shopping for vintage finds for your home can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Vintage items can add character, charm, and personality to your home decor, and they often come with a rich history and story. Here are some tips to help you shop for some unique items for your home.

Do Your Research

The first step in shopping for vintage items is to do your research. Before you start shopping, take some time to learn about the different eras and styles of vintage pieces that interest you. There are many resources available online, including blogs, forums, and vintage shops, where you can get inspiration and learn more about the different types of vintage home decor or vintage furniture.

Set a Budget

Once you've done your research, it's important to set a budget. Vintage items can range in price from a few dollars to hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on their rarity and condition. Be realistic about what you can afford, and don't be afraid to negotiate with sellers if you find something you love but it's outside your budget. Keep in mind, if a piece is good but needs a little TLC, don't be afraid to do a little work to it and give it a new life if the price is right and it will fit well in your home.

mid century modern chairs, cane back chairs, antique shop
At $4500 for this stunning MCM set of chairs, I'm glad I came with a budget!

Where to Shop

When shopping for vintage items, it's important to shop at reputable stores that specialize in vintage items. This will ensure that you are getting authentic pieces and that they have been properly curated and cared for. Look for stores that have a good reputation and positive reviews from customers. Flea markets, antique stores, estate sales, thrift stores, and even yard sales can be great places to look for unique vintage items. I also prefer seeing the item in person prior to purchasing so you can see the condition of the item. Facebook Marketplace and even an Etsy Shop are both quite popular options right now and some people have great luck finding vintage treasures here. Just be mindful that you need to really contact the seller and ask for detailed photos before you purchase.

Where to Shop - FOR FREE!

Ask your family and friends if they have anything they're holding on to but don't actually use. Look in your parents' basement. Find something cool and repurpose it. When I bought my mid century home, I told the seller how much I loved all of her originally pieces. (Gert has THE MOST INCREDIBLE original mid century furniture and decor! I was swooning over everything!) She was so generous to leave me my absolute favorite chair and side table lamps as a welcome home gift. I recovered the chair and have one set of the lamps on my bedside tables and the other set in my office. These pieces are my most beloved not only because they're insanely gorgeous but because they were a gift from Gert. I've also incorporated decor items that my parents had but weren't using. They look completely different in my home and have sentimental significance which makes them that much more special. So don't be afraid to ask around. You never know who will be happy to give you something for you to love. I guess some of the best things in life really are free.

mid century modern chair, reupholstered chair, black and white art
This gorgeous chair is one of my favorite pieces. My mid century modern chair. A gift from Gert.

Inspection Time

When you find a vintage item that you're interested in, inspect it carefully before making a purchase. Check for any damage or wear and tear, and make sure that it's in good condition. If you're unsure about the authenticity of an item, ask the seller for more information or seek the advice of an expert. If there are more imperfections than you had anticipated but know the item will still find a great place in your home, negotiating can be a great way to get the perfect piece at a great deal. Remember: imperfections are not always a bad thing!

Consider Style and Function

When shopping for vintage pieces, it's important to consider both the style and function of the item. Think about how it will fit into your home's aesthetic and how you will use it. Vintage items and antique furniture can be great statement pieces, but they should also be functional and practical. It is also important to know where in your own home the piece will work. Just because you see something you love doesn't mean it should go in your living room. It's a good idea to have a list of items you are looking for in mind and if that item is furniture, don't forget to bring your ideal measurements! You may not always find the exact size and shape you are looking for but this way you'll know if something will fit. Searching for smaller items like decor is a great way to add some interest to your coffee table or bookshelf without having to commit to larger pieces.

antique pottery, handmade pottery, flea market
Antique pottery

Mix and Match

Don't be afraid to mix and match different styles and eras to create a cohesive and eclectic look. Vintage items can be mixed with modern pieces to create a unique and personalized home decor style. Heading out to vintage markets, thrift shops, garage sales, vintage stores and antique shops are a great way to add unique items to your home. When in doubt, look for vintage decor. That is a great place to start when adding some character to your home without the commitment of bringing home some larger pieces like a big piece of furniture. I have found some of my favorite things this way. Finding a unique piece and then finding the right place for it in your home can really add personality to your space.

Good for the Environment

An important thing to note is that buying items that were previously loved is not only a fun experience that rewards you with cool stuff but it is also great for the environment! New items require the use of resources and energy to be produced. So don't forget the value in recycling or upcycling a piece of furniture or decor. So repurposing is not only good for your aesthetic but it is also good for the earth.

Shopping for vintage finds for your home can be so much fun and a really rewarding experience. With a little research and some careful consideration, you can find unique and personalized items that will add character and charm to your home and have fun in the process. We would love to see what you find. Tag us @elementdesignnetwork so we can see all of your amazing vintage finds. Happy hunting!

antiquing, flea market, thrifting, antique furniture
Ryan + I searching for client treasures. Tag us @elementdesignnetwork so we can see your finds!


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