Over the past few years hunting down vintage pieces for my apartments has become one of my all-time favorite things to do. There’s just something special about finding pieces that are unique and have some character to ’em – they’re the perfect way to show off your style and add some personality to your space! With my many apartments throughout the years I’ve become pretty good at scoring vintage pieces… right from the comfort of my own home. You see, while flea markets and thrift stores are great (albeit usually smelly), I’d much prefer to shop from my desk and wanted to share a few tips I’ve learned for finding vintage pieces online.
1. Think Resale: First things first, one of the best parts about having vintage pieces is that they hold their value incredibly well compared to your standard store-bought items. This is great news for frequent movers and redecorators like myself because you can easily switch things up without taking a big loss on what the piece was originally purchased for. Look for items that are unique (you’ll pick up on this the more you browse!) and that you know there’s a market for. I’ve had great luck with mid-century pieces, like the dresser from my studio and my brass bar cart, both of which I actually made a profit off of when it was time to sell them.
2. IFFFT + Craigslist: But how do you find this stuff in the first place? Let’s start with the most tried and true source… CraigsList. CraigsList tends to be a treasure trove for vintage furniture, art, rugs and decor. There is also a lot of garbage and some weirdos on there, but sometimes you’ve gotta do some sifting to find the gold. Run some searches on CraigsList to get a feel for what you’re really looking for and the right way to describe it, then head on over to IFFFT and let their recipes work some magic. IFFFT stands for “If This Then That” and it’s basically your CraigsList secret weapon – using their CraigsList recipe, you’ll be able to set up a trigger to receive email alerts anytime a new item is listed that matches what you’re searching for. This is my #1 secret because with the search alerts, you’ll be the first to find the gems – it’s how I found my brass bar cart for only $100!
3. eBay Free Shipping: eBay is another hotspot for vintage since you’re able to shop globally, right from your very own laptop! Similarly to CraigsList, you’ll need to do a few searches to figure out the exact right wording to find what you’re looking for and eliminate irrelevant items but once you’ve found your sweet spot, add the “free shipping” filter + show lowest priced items first. Since there are SO MANY THINGS on eBay, you can stumble upon things that somehow have been overlooked and then easily swoop in and buy them for crazy low prices. This shop is my new obsession for rugs – we were able to grab one for our living room for under $300!
4. Avoid “Vintage”: And here comes the part where I contradict myself… Avoid searching for the worst “vintage” and instead use words that describe the piece (like mid-century, or “brass bar cart” or “tufted sofa”). “Vintage” tends to be used mostly by folks who know they’ve got something good on their hands, which also probably means that they’ve done some serious research on its value and have it priced accordingly. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of gems on CraigsList and eBay that are described as “vintage”, but those pieces likely won’t be where you score a crazy deal.
5. Patience is a Virtue… But Move Quick!: Need to have your house completely decorated from nothing and done in a month? You’re better off just hitting up a normal retail store (West Elm, Bryght and CB2 are my favorites), but if you’ve got a little time to spare… your patience will pay off. Have a clear idea of what you’re looking for so you can move fast when the perfect piece surfaces.
Are you a fan of vintage shopping? What has been your best find yet?