Updated: Oct 28
If you’ve read my earlier blogs, you’ll know the many benefits of buying vintage furniture. Namely, the sustainability of upcycled furniture, the “investment” aspect of buying a vintage item versus a more modern piece, and the individuality of buying something preloved.
So, having decided you’re going to take the plunge and invest in a vintage piece, what do you buy, where do you find it, and how do you work it into your existing style and furnishings?
Well, the answer to the first of these questions is simple: what function do you need the piece to perform?
For example, are you looking for a particular kind of storage for a specific room?
Perhaps you want to invest in an antique armchair for a guest bedroom, a cocktail cabinet for the dining room, or a console table for the hall?
Whatever you are looking for, with a bit of research and imagination, you’ll be able to find the perfect piece.
Speaking of research…. that’s the answer to the second question. The internet is going to be your best friend here. There’s an abundance of websites dedicated to showcasing the work of furniture artists up and down the country and worldwide, so check out VInterior, Etsy and Facebook Market Place, to name a few.
Look out for local furniture auctions or visit your neighbourhood second-hand furniture shop. There are more and more antique fairs popping up, so keep your eyes and ears open for those. You might choose to speak to a furniture artist. They have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the “art” (no pun intended) of the possible when it comes to upcycling vintage pieces.
Why not check out our directory of artisans to find a professional near you?
When you start your search for your “new” piece in earnest, there are a few hints and tips that are almost guaranteed to give you a beautifully stylish addition to your home and an excellent investment for your money.
Look out for the following manufacturers:
• Morris of Glasgow
• G Plan
(Image of a restyled vintage writing bureau courtesy of Michelle Hill from Shel's Shabby Chic - Stotfold)
These manufacturers are justly famous for their clean lines, unfussy and timeless shapes, and high-quality materials that really lend themselves to being upcycled with a fresh paint job and replacement legs and accessories.
Bear in mind that what you buy need not be the final product. Many furniture artists offer a commission or customising service. They will either come with you to help you choose the piece or, if you’re lucky, they may have the perfect item in storage, just waiting for its new lease of life.
Once sourced, you and your furniture artist collaborator will discuss the colour, finish, and accessories and agree on a plan that will transform the item into something totally unique to you.
And here’s when we answer the third question. How do you incorporate a vintage piece into the modern home?
Thankfully, in today’s modern homes, pretty much anything goes. So mixing and matching pieces from different eras, themes and styles is much easier than you might think.
One of the keys to success is to consider all aspects of the room: the lighting (both natural and artificial), the colour of the walls, flooring, soft furnishings, accents, and accessories, for example, pictures, mirrors and ornaments.
Most cohesive interiors are designed around one item or colour, and the rest of the room evolves from there.
Mix your different pieces throughout the rooms, and add texture with fabrics, woods, satin finishes and mood lighting.
So that could be a beautifully refinished sideboard with an oversized lamp on top, sitting under an ornate mirror.
A newly upholstered Queen Anne chair with a modern pendant lamp and a brightly coloured or patterned cushion.
Perhaps you’ve invested in an art deco cocktail cabinet with an exquisite geometric design and topped it with lots of clear glasses and a vase. It will stand beautifully against a wall in a complementary, contemporary colour.
Basically, there are no rules. There is only what’s right for you, your home, your family, and your style.
So, tear up the rule book and have some fun!
Well, one way is to start shopping Vintage. And however these pieces are labelled, be they "second hand", "antique", "retro", "preloved", "upcycled" or "vintage", they all have one thing in common: they are still completely useful, totally relevant and not only will you be getting a beautiful, well-made, high-quality piece; you're also investing in the future of the planet.