In recent years there has been an explosion in demand for vintage and antique furniture. In fact demand has become so great that in some regions there is a dire shortage. There simply isn’t enough old furniture to meet the markets needs.
The reasons are manifold. Vintage and antique wooden furniture tends to be made a lot better than much of today’s mainstream wooden furniture. In days of old crafts people didn’t use chipboard or MDF, they used real wood. And the wood they used wasn’t sourced from the Amazon rain forest. It was Oak, Beech, Cherry, Walnut and other beautiful woods that have been used to craft furniture and home decorations for many centuries. If a chair has already lasted for a few hundred years its likely to still be around long after you have departed from this world.
But there is a lot of confusion regarding what is actually an antique. And there are lots of copies or fake antiques making their way onto the market from various parts of the world. But the term ‘antique’ is most commonly and accurately used to refer to items that are over 100 years old. The term vintage can apply to relatively modern items which can also be described as retro. For example, there are some fantastic wooden furniture designs, such as Ercol, from the sixties and seventies which work beautifully in today’s contemporary interiors. But if you are considering antique furniture then you should be looking at items which are over 100 years old.
Shabby chic is a term which has been coined to describe the fashion for antique furniture and decorative items which have not been restored or renovated. People are making use of old industrial fittings and furniture in their homes. These can be purchased for very little money and since they are not being restored its often just a case of cleaning off the dust and debris accumulated over many decades and hey presto – you now have a fashionable piece of shabby chic home decor.
So where can you find these items and how much will they cost? A great place to start is your nearby auction houses. If you don’t live anywhere near an auction house then go online. Ebay is a fantastic resource where you will find an abundance of antique and vintage home decor and furniture items. But unfortunately competition is pushing up the prices. Some of the best deals you will find will be from markets, yard sales, car boot sales and charity or thrift stores.
If you visit towns which are popular retirement destinations you will often find that there are plenty of outlets through which house clearance items are sold. When old people pass away their families will often take the simplest and most cost effective way to dispose of their household possessions, including their furniture. This will often be bundled up and sold to a dealer as a job lot. You will often find some vintage or antique furniture gems at prices which are way below what you would need to pay for even the cheapest equivalent contemporary item.
And renovating old or antique furniture is not a particularly complex task. Quite often all you need to do is clean and polish the woodwork. And if the item has any damage then you can use that to bargain the price right down. In fact, damaged furniture items can be a great investment if you are handy and can fix them up yourself. But the most you are likely to need to do is apply some good quality wood wax and you will have a great piece of antique furniture that will last a lifetime and give you and your family a great deal of pleasure.