Shopping for Antique and Vintage Furnishings

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Mixing antique and vintage items with your contemporary furnishings can add elegance, character and personality to your decor. They can enhance a modern interior with an interesting eclectic vibe.

An antique must be 100 years old or older, while vintage is any item over 20 years old that’s iconic of an identifiable style like Mid-century or Craftsman. Take some time to train your eye to quality by visiting numerous outlets for specific furniture or accessories. advises that any piece with provenance in good condition can be valuable. You can get good deals on pieces that need work, but keep in mind that restoration experts such as upholsterers are expensive.

Look for craftsmanship like dovetail joints on tables and dresser drawers. Wood should have a rich patina and not appear dry, cracked or stained. Check for wobbliness, especially in chairs and tables. China, crystal, and silver should have service for at least six or eight, but you can find some missing pieces at or recommends looking at lamps for fine ceramics and other materials. Look for valuable finials such as bone, cinnabar, ivory, jade, or other rare materials. Fine linens can be found at Other places to look online for furniture and accessories include, and, among others.

Sellers expect to answer questions and provide multiple photos online, so don’t hesitate to ask. Value is relative, but you should buy only pieces that you love. You’ll have years of enjoyment.

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