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From Vendor to Visitor: Tips for Shopping for Vintage Furniture

Updated: Feb 16

Whether you’re hunting down the missing piece to a mod bedroom set or content with browsing the aisles until inspiration strikes, shopping at an antique mall makes for the perfect adventure. With hundreds of showcases, shelves, and booths to explore, every collection is waiting to be discovered. Join the antique doll collectors and sports memorabilia vendors and look for unique vintage furniture. 


To help guide you through your next trip to America’s Antique Mall, we’ve asked our vendors to give their expertise and insight into the world of antiquing. Learn the top tips, tricks, and more to help you spot your next future vintage furniture purchase.  



Define Vintage Furniture

Vintage furniture refers to any piece of furniture that’s more than 20 years old. In contrast, furniture must be over a hundred years old to be considered antique. Both ages have their own importance and collector interests. Whether you’re searching for a rare mid-century modern tulip chair or a sophisticated Victorian dining table, you could find it at an Indiana vendor mall—if you know how to look!


Common Vintage Furniture Items Found at Antique Malls


If you look around your home, just about any furniture item you see can be replaced with a piece of vintage furniture! Whether you intend to use the item as it was designed to be used or upcycle it, these are some of the most common vintage furniture pieces found at our antique malls:


  • Dining tables

  • Chair sets

  • Loveseats

  • Coffee tables

  • Desks

  • Chests

  • China cabinets

  • Bookshelves

  • … and more!


Who Sells Vintage Furniture?


Whether you’re visiting an antique mall for the first time or interested in learning how to sell vintage items, you can see we have different vendors from all walks of life. Every one of our sellers has a unique background and personalized taste, leading to curated booths and showcases full of an eclectic range of vintage furniture. 


Our Vintage Furniture Vendors Are Experienced


When you shop vintage, it’s important to be able to trust a seller. At America’s Antique Mall, our vendors have years of experience, ranging from one year to a few decades. Many of them grew up on the other side, starting their own collections as children or visiting thrift stores and vendor malls as customers, so they know exactly how you’re feeling!


Pro tip: If you find yourself with any questions on your antique mall excursion, flag down one of our helpful employees. While they don’t own any of the collections, they are trained with vast knowledge and are excited to help you as much as possible!  


Advice from Our Vendors on Shopping for Vintage Furniture


Nothing is more helpful than advice from the experts themselves! We asked some of our beloved vintage furniture vendors for their tips for shopping at an antique mall:


1. “There’s something for everyone!” – Shady Lane Farm, 

2. “You never know what you may find. There are new items that come in all the time!” – Queen Bee

3.“Look carefully. There is always more than what meets the eye.” – Beautiful Things for Sale

4. “If it makes you happy, buy it. Just have fun with it, whether you are a buyer or a seller.” – Soleblesser

5. “There is always something you never knew you needed!” – JG4


Why Decorate with Vintage Furniture?


Shopping for vintage furniture is about more than the thrill of the chase. Opting to buy antiques is the most sustainable way to decorate a home. When you skip the same old, cheaply made pieces found in stores today and give a new life to a well-loved table or chair, you’re doing your part in saving the earth. 


Not to mention that vintage furniture was made with durability in mind. Whether you’re looking for an antique desk to revamp your office or a Tiffany lamp for your bedside table, each piece of vintage furniture is created with high-quality wood, glass, and metal to last you a lifetime. 


Vintage furniture also gives your home a one-of-a-kind feel. Investing in unique antiques, from coffee tables to dining chairs, gives your home a personalized style no one else can copy. Oftentimes, you could come across a piece so rare that no one else could dream of hunting one down! If you want to make your home feel as special as you are, style it with vintage décor and furniture.


Popular Vintage Furniture Eras


With hundreds of collections to hunt through come all sorts of style eras.


Search for these popular design eras to find a piece you love: 


  • Mid-century modern

  • Art Deco

  • Early American

  • Retro

  • Art Noveau

  • Shaker

  • Arts and Craft


Planning Your Antique Mall Visit


As you plan your Chicago antique mall visit, our vendors recommend that you set aside a couple of hours to fully comb through each collection. If you arrive earlier in the day, you have your pick of the litter! And, in the likely case that you fall in love with a large or heavy piece, we suggest driving so you can take it home with you the same day you buy it. 


As you begin your vintage furniture journey, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, think of your goal for the visit. Are you looking for pieces from a certain design era? Are you just looking and willing to buy on a whim? Can certain pieces be upcycled and reused for a different purpose in your house? Ask yourself these questions before you visit the store to set your shopping intention.


Whether you’re interested in adding to your niche furniture collection or looking for the perfect TV stand to complement the rest of your vintage setup, you’ll never know what’s out there until you search for it! Consider setting yourself a realistic budget so you don’t go overboard—but if you find something you love, there’s a chance it’ll be gone by your next visit, so you better buy it!


Our antique mall locations are filled to the brim with constantly rotating collections. With advice from our passionate vendors and a wide variety of styles, eras, and pieces, shopping for vintage furniture is a fun experience for customers of all ages. Stop by and see for yourself!




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