How to Score Great Vintage Finds

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It’s no secret. We love vintage. There’s something about incorporating old items into a space that make it feel cozy, layered and unique. But how do you know what’s a good score and what’s better suited for the rubbish bin? We’ve nailed down a few tips on what to look for when you’re thrift shopping.

How To Score Great Vintage Pieces

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH: A huge part of scoring great finds is knowing what to look for. If you’re eager enough to hunt for treasures, make sure you put in some time researching before you head out. Thumb through magazines, Instagram, design blogs and Pinterest, and note what designs and styles you are interested in. Some current trends are rattan, baskets, brass, and mid-century style furniture. Head into the shop with specific styles or materials in mind, and focus on finding items with those materials first.

2. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX: We’re often conditioned to go to specific sections to look for things within that category. Try to push yourself to think outside the box. Some great finds can be found outside the housewares section, or used in ways that were not their original intention. Think of vintage wooden kitchen wares as decor, ladders for storage and display, or rattan baskets or boxes for a planter or wall decor.

Gravitate towards things that are in the style and material that you like and then push yourself to think about different ways to use or display them.

Finding great vintage furnishings takes time & research, but the time-tested decor can make your home feel cozy, layered & unique. Here's what to look for.

Finding great vintage furnishings takes time & research, but the time-tested decor can make your home feel cozy, layered & unique. Here's what to look for.

3. LOOK FOR LINES: You want the bones of the piece to be great. Look at the overall shape or structure of an item. Does it fit the style or aesthetic you’re going for? The structure, size or shape of something is more difficult to change.

Be sure you love the overall style of it— finishes, colors and materials can be changed down the line.

Finding great vintage furnishings takes time & research, but the time-tested decor can make your home feel cozy, layered & unique. Here's what to look for.Finding great vintage furnishings takes time & research, but the time-tested decor can make your home feel cozy, layered & unique. Here's what to look for.

4. LOOK BEYOND WHAT YOU SEE (AND SMELL): Try to look beyond the current condition of the material of something (remember focus first on the lines, quality of the piece and the overall style). 

Sometimes Vintage Means A Long Hard-Lived Life.

But if the style and structure of the piece are good, the finish can always be changed. If you’re considering an upholstered piece, try to investigate how it was put together. Items like dining chairs or bar stools are easier to recover DIY-style. If you’re looking at an arm chair or sofa, you are likely going to need to bring in a pro to refinish it. Consider that this could cost upwards of $300 bucks + material. Circle back to point 3: if you don’t love the style, or the piece looks to be crumbling — it’s probably not worth the investment.

Finding great vintage furnishings takes time & research, but the time-tested decor can make your home feel cozy, layered & unique. Here's what to look for.

Shop Some of My Favorite Vintage (+ a few vintage replica) Pieces!

What do you think? Are you a vintage lover or are you all for NEW NEW NEW? Happy hunting!

-Allison H.

Follow me on Instagram or check out how we can work together (locally in Michigan or virtually nation-wide!)

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Allison is the newest addition to TME Home. She started her own business, Curio Design Studio , in 2012 so expect to see practical, affordable and accessible designs straight from her expert eye.

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