One of my favorite things to do on the rare occasion that I have a day off and nothing to do, is go antiquing! I’m not into high end antiques or period pieces. I enjoy vintage or retro pieces that were once everyday items in the average everyday household. Most of the pieces I collect have a timeless quality about them and although they are older they fit right in with modern patterns, colors and styles.
I have found over the years that there are a few tips and tricks to shopping vintage to help make the experience fun and worth your time. Here are my top 5 tips for effective antiquing:
1. Know your style
- Be true to your style and only buy items that you absolutely love. Unlike traditional home stores that cater to a particular style, antique stores offer a little bit of everything and anything. By knowing my areas of interest and my style I can easily distinguish the junk from the treasures. Some of my favorite items to collect are milk glass/hobnail, garden items, vases, planters, jewelry and kitchen/entertaining ware. I find myself drawn to items that are either white or teal/aqua in color and items that are made of iron, glass or weathered wood. Keeping these self imposed guidelines in mind, helps me from feeling overwhelmed by all the choices and from purchasing something that I have no idea what to do with when I get home.
2. Measure before you go
- This is especially important when looking for furniture. If you are looking for the perfect old trunk to serve as a coffee table in your living room or for that one-of-a-kind retro style dresser for your bedroom, make sure you know how big your space is before you fall in love with something only to get it home and find out it doesn’t fit the space it was intended for. Which brings us to tip number 3…
3. Bring a measuring tape
- Always measure large pieces to ensure they will fit in your home and your vehicle!
4. Check for damage
- Always check for chips, cracks, peeling paint, broken handles, missing parts etc. Sometimes a small chip or a little peeling paint may not matter to you. It’s still better to know what you are getting before you buy. More often than not you will find most places have a strict no return policy.
5. Don’t be afraid to haggle
- I’ll be honest, haggling over the price of something is not my favorite thing to do. I’m so used to just paying the price on the tag that asking for a discount makes me feel like I’m trying to cheat the person in some way. However, I have found over the years that most antique dealers expect that you are going to ask for a discount and work that into their original asking price. More often than not, if you ask for a discount, you’ll get one. I find the average discount is usually between 15 and 20%. However, every now and then depending on how badly the dealer wants to unload something you can get 50-75% off. It’s worth spending a little time chatting with the dealer and feeling him or her out before making your offer.
I hope these tips help to make your next antiquing experience more enjoyable. Do you have any tips you’d like to add? I’d love to hear them, please feel free to add them in the comments!