How to shop for vintage

It goes without saying that the Home Barn team love anything vintage – vintage furniture, vintage accessories, reclaimed pieces, you name it. For us, vintage is a sure fire way to inject storytelling character and originality to the home. The best bit? Vintage doesn’t have to be expensive. There are two types of vintage shopping: when you’re hunting for a specific piece or vintage furniture from a certain era or simply stumbling on a piece you never knew you wanted. True vintage pieces should be at least 30 to 40 years old and anything more than a 100 years old is considered to be antique. We do a lot of vintage hunting to fill the barn so have put together some pointers of how to find those vintage treasures.

Start your search by listing good sources – a good mix of shops and fairs – and pay them a visit. Start with your local area, and from there expand out with short journeys – vintage hunting is a great excuse for a road trip! Meeting the sellers face to face allows you to get to know them and often allows you to let them know what you’re looking for. When they go on buying trips, they can then keep a beady eye out for you. Be prepared to find things you didn’t know you were looking for. Buying vintage will often be in the here and now. If you hesitate on a purchasing decision, you’ll often find that piece will have been snapped up by other buyers moments later.
The internet has allowed us to avoid having to traipse across the country to shop vintage furniture. This is why we make sure all our products our on the Home Barn website. Online outlets have continued to crop up, offering an abundance of items. We love Pedlars, Etsy, 1stdibs, Vinterior and more. The one drawback is that you can’t see the piece in person (unless you make a visit), and there is always the chance that when you do you won’t like it or the condition might not be as good as you hoped. Be sure that the piece is worth the cost!
Look for pieces with strong structures. Take industrial storage units; make sure they have strong sturdy frames and if they have drawers, they should slide in and out easily. Old furniture doesn’t always mean that the quality is great. Poor craft and use of inferior materials can leave many vintage pieces suffering from wear and tear. It’s always helpful to research reputable brands before you start looking. Also don’t be shy of buying a “doer upper” piece – sometimes incredible pieces won’t take much to spruce up and you’d end up making a profit if you then decided to sell it on. Before you hand over your cash, make sure your vintage finds fit your home. Furniture can always look too big or too small in a store or online. Whilst a mirror can be more easily bought based on size, a rustic dining table with the wrong measurements could leave you with something to put in storage for years to come.Take your desired dimensions with you.
The world’s your oyster when shopping vintage. Just make sure you do your homework before you invest time, petrol and money on those worthy purchases. Happy shopping!

Sarah and Sally x