Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Buying Antiques: Do's and Don'ts

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is shop, especially for antiques and vintage finds that are unique. I love the story that these pieces tell. I wonder a lot about the history of the pieces, the era, who they belonged to, etc. I have learned a lot over the years. My favorite vintage piece is my bar cart that I found at the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles.

  • Do head out to estate sales, garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. I love looking up estate sales on to see the list of upcoming sales and view photos. Find trading posts near you using
  • Don't expect to find everything you need in one trip, curating a vintage collection happens over time, not in a day.
  • Do visit flea markets and estate sales while traveling. If you are in Paris, you must visit the antique market at Porte de Clignancourt. Another favorite are thrift stores and estate sales in Palm Springs, a city very much influenced by the Hollywood Regency era.
  • Don't just buy large pieces of furniture, make sure you measure pieces before you shop. Looks can be deceiving, you don't want to end up with a piece that is too large or too small for your space. 
  • Do some research, use your smartphone to look up brands and eras. Often, vintage pieces have marks and brands that will help learn about the piece you are buying. You can find exactly where it was made and when. 
  • Don't collect randomly, buy pieces that tell a story or are from the same period.
  • Do bargain while shopping, my favorite part of antiquing is getting a deal. Take cash with you and be prepared to haggle a little. 
  • Do hit the flea market at the end of the day, often vendors don't want to repack what they have already unpacked so they are more willing to negotiate.

Remember to think out-of-the-box, don't look at the piece as it is but as what you can turn it into. Be prepared to DIY, get your hands dirty and paint, reupholster, be creative.

Porte de Clignancourt, Paris
Melrose Trading Post, Los Angeles

Bar cart find from the flea market!

Display a vintage plates as wall art

Bring pieces back to life by painting them!

Estate sales are a great place to hunt for vintage glassware

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