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5 Helpful Tips for Antique Mall Shopping

Updated: Mar 28

There’s nothing quite like antique mall shopping when you’re seeking the thrill of a good treasure hunt. From following a whim and taking a highway exit that reads “antiques sold here” to finally stopping by the new vintage store in your town, each visit is different than the last. But when it comes time to get down to business, where do you start?


Whether you’re an experienced pro or planning on antique mall shopping for the first time, there are plenty of things to learn. That’s why we’ve gathered five helpful tips to help you plan, organize, and enjoy your one-stop shop. 



What is an Antique Mall?


An antique mall is a large, open space that houses multiple vendors in booths and showcases. There are antique malls of different sizes, with some hosting a couple sellers and others, like ours, showcasing the wares of hundreds of vendors. With countless collections under one roof, an antique mall is your one-stop shop for any item you may be in search of. 


Potential Finds at Antique Malls:


Mirrored tray with antique decor

These are just some of the types of pieces you may score while antique mall shopping: 


  • Antique furniture 

  • Vintage clothing

  • Jewelry

  • Collectibles

  • Homemade home goods

  • Upcycled décor 


Why Go Antique Mall Shopping?


With vendors from all different backgrounds, specialties, and interests, every single booth is filled to the brim with unique goods. If you’re looking to spruce up your home décor into a one-of-a-kind style, antique mall shopping is your best bet. Whether you’re searching for a rare Looney Tunes collectible to complete a figurine set or interested in a specific design era of furniture, with luck, you’ll find it while antique mall shopping! 


There’s something for everyone at an antique mall. From mint-condition sports memorabilia to homemade treats and goodies, every shopper leaves the vendor mall satisfied. Browse through the hand-selected items in each booth to curate a niche collection, revamp your home office, find a unique graduation gift, and more—you’re sure to spot something you love. 


Investing in pieces from the past is also one of the most sustainable ways to shop. Rather than buying new, shopping antique mall collections is a way to give a second life to something that could otherwise land in the garbage. Skip the same-old products at your local retailer and go on an antique mall shopping adventure. 


Brass candlesticks

5 Beginner Tips for Shopping at Antique Malls


Whether you’re planning to visit a local Chicago antique mall or attend a Melbourne vintage event, use these five trusty tricks to get the best antique mall shopping experience:


1. Start with a Shopping List


Just like going to the grocery store, we recommend you make a shopping list! Walking the aisles of an Indiana vendor mall can feel overwhelming, so planning is key. Look around your home for pieces in need of an upgrade, or consider dream vintage finds and write them down. This shopping list will keep you focused during your search, alleviating any stress. 


Of course, it’s impossible to plan for everything. There will always be a few items not on the list that you just can’t pass up—and that’s okay! The shopping list is meant to guide you through the store—but if you fall in love with something that deviates from the plan, grab it.


2. Bring a Tape Measure from Home


Rattan Accent Chair with Decorative Pillow

There’s nothing worse than spending money on an antique you adore before realizing it’s too big or small to work in your home. Before you leave your house to go antique mall shopping, measure the areas you’re interested in decorating, such as furniture spots and wall art. When you bring your tape measure to the antique mall, measure items to determine whether or not they will fit in your home. 


3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help


If you’re searching for a specific collectible, trying to find a booth, or want a closer look at something behind the glass, approach a member of the staff! Our team members are kind, knowledgeable, and always ready to answer questions and lend a helping hand.


4. Be Prepared for Big Items


Antique malls are chock full of large items, from heavy vintage desks to antique artwork and more, so it’s important to plan your ride ahead of time. We suggest making space in the backseat of your car or renting a truck in order to safely transport your bigger finds home with you. 


5. Consider Repurposing or Upcycling


When you go antique mall shopping, don’t write an item off – keep an open mind! Certain items, such as chests, coffee tables, and more, can be repurposed or upcycled to fit specific needs of your home. From applying a customized paint job to a bedframe to suit a certain color palette to using a crate as a record rack, the creative possibilities are endless. 


Spiderman artwork

Do Antique Malls Have Sales?


At antique malls, individual vendors are in charge of putting their own items on sale. During your antique mall shopping trip, keep your eyes peeled for sale signs amongst the booths and showcases. Who knows, you may find a priceless piece for cheaper than normal!


3 Steps for Inspecting Antiques


Part of successfully shopping for antiques comes from learning how to determine if something is worth buying. As many antique malls do not accept returns, it’s important to inspect your potential purchase before you make a decision. Follow these three steps:


  • Step 1: While a certain amount of damage can be expected with various antiques, it’s up to you to determine the condition you’re okay with. Look closely for signs of paint chipping, incorrect wood finishes, holes, fading, and more. 

  • Step 2: After searching for surface-level issues, check on the different features to see if they function. Do the drawers of that vintage chest pull out easily? Do all the zippers on that jacket work?   

  • Step 3: Lastly, check the price tag. If everything works, the value may make sense. But keep in mind that some antique malls accept a level of bartering—if they do, find the employees to discuss further. 


Whether you stop in with a specific shopping list or buy on a whim, you’re sure to have a fun time at the antique mall. With our five simple tips and guide, you’re on your way to becoming an antique mall shopping pro! We can’t wait to see your smiling faces in one of our America’s Antique Mall locations



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