With the surge of online vintage furniture shops, there are a few tips for those surfing the Internet for their next unique & quirky piece:
1) Start Small
If you are not an online vintage find master, start small with a knick-knack or wine rack. You will learn more about your style and the look you are after. The terminology, style periods and materials will become more familiar and seem a bit less daunting.
2) Read the Fine Print, View the Photos
While you may not be able to use your five senses when assessing the quality of your find online, there are a few things to consider or look for before clicking "Add to Cart", including:
- Spend time viewing the provided photos for imperfections.
- Read the features for date, materials, dimensions and the stated condition of the piece.
- Don't be afraid to ask the vendor about the odor of the product. Some products can develop a musty smell when not stored properly or may have been last used in the home of a smoker.
- Don't let scratches deter you. They can add to the charm of the piece.
- Wrong color? It is easy to paint the piece to fit your current palette.
- Have a question about the piece? Contact the vendor. They would love to be of assistance.
The luxury of the Internet is that you can pop into virtual shops, look around, take notes, bookmark pages and then bounce to the next listing on the search page without having to talk to a salesperson. Find something you like, do a search to find where a similar or better item can be found for less.
4) Buy What You Love, Not Trends
Are you into nautical-theme pictures or statues? Do you like the beach feel of a surfboard or the brass lobster statue? Buy it. Investing in something that touches you or reflects a part of you will add to its charm when it's sitting on your coffee table. Purchasing something because it is popular or you are told it is the trend will not give you the same buyer's satisfaction as purchasing what you love.
5) Worth Its Weight in Gold?
Some of the more spectacular pieces also have spectacular price tag. Think about what it was that sparked your interest and weigh that with how much it will lighten your wallet. Don't think of it as a splurge but rather an investment in your home and you.
Often sites offer holiday weekend sales or end of the season blowout discounts. It is worth to click into your favorite online vintage sites and scour their discount bins for hidden gems.
7) Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
This applies to more than just condo sales. If you see the ideal door knocker that will blend perfectly with your reclaimed front door, act on impulse and purchase it. Vintage items are one of a kind and stores don't carry multiples of the piece. There's a good chance that the knocker won't be there when you visit tomorrow. It's the nature of the business.
8) Newsletters and E-Blasts are Your Friend
Find an online vintage furniture or accent shop that meshes with your taste preferences and sign-up for their newsletters. You will be alerted to upcoming sales and when they add new pieces to their online catalog.
9) Patience is a Virtue
Sometimes online vintage shopping is more of a scavenger hunt. It may take a lot of surfing and patience to find the ideal accent piece for your slice of Americana coffee table, but the discovery is always worth the wait.
10) Think Outside of the Box
Having a hard time finding the perfect nightstand? Consider looking at sofa tables, re-purposed staircases or even a child's writing desk. Sometimes the most creative finds are those that were designed for a different purpose, such as the surfboard that finds a new life as a serving bar.
The most important tip is to have fun with the vintage shopping adventure. Go into it with a goal, but be open to the process and the gems you will find along the way.
For more information on Vintage Finds, watch Jennifer Adams' tour of the One Kings Lane vintage warehouse.