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How to Shop for Vintage Furniture and What to Do with Your Fabulous Finds

Updated: Sep 14

As the saying goes, “everything old is new again.” It certainly seems that way when it comes to home décor — everywhere we look, we’re seeing a resurgence of antique and vintage furniture styles. Brand-new furniture is being made with a nod to older styles like mid-century modern and Art Deco, and thrifting and repurposing vintage and antique items have become more and more popular in the last several years.


If you love the look (and price point!) of vintage furniture, let us share some great tips and information about buying a unique piece of pre-loved furniture. Whether you’re looking for a vintage desk, dresser, mirror, bookshelf, or TV stand, we can help guide you so that you can find the perfect new-to-you piece for your home.



What Defines Vintage Furniture?

First of all, what defines vintage furniture? “Vintage” means any furniture that is at least 20 years old, even if it has been restored. Furthermore, vintage furniture should not just be old but also exhibit the particular style or popular characteristics of its era.


Within vintage is another category of newer pieces dating from the 1950s to 1980 that are considered “retro.” Retro pieces can also be items that are newly manufactured but made to look like vintage or antique items. Pieces from the mid-1980s and on are typically just considered “used furniture.”


Antique vs. Vintage Furniture


So then, what’s the difference between vintage and antique furniture? A piece is considered “antique” if it’s 100 years old or older. Antique furniture can include handmade items, wooden furnishings, paintings, or other home décor. Like previously stated, “vintage” furniture pieces are items that are around 20 to 99 years old and evoke the style/characteristics of their time period.


Where to Buy Vintage Furniture

What are the best places to shop for antique and/or vintage furniture? You can begin your search online even if you are just trying to get a feel for the pieces you like (for example, you want to get a vintage bookshelf for a DIY project) and an idea of what you will be paying for them.


However, shopping online for furniture can be tricky, as a piece can look vastly different in person than it does in photos. If you’re the kind of person that needs to touch and feel a piece of furniture before you buy it, you should check out your local and antique malls. America’s Antique Mall has two enormous locations in Highland, Indiana, and Melbourne, Florida.


Both locations of America’s Antique Mall are some of the largest and the best antique malls in their respective states. Our Highland location boasts more than 600 vendors and 309 booths, and our Melbourne location has more than 250 vendors and 275 booths! With so much to offer, you can browse vintage bookshelves, TV stands, mirrors, dressers, and desks to your heart’s content.


How To Shop for Vintage Furniture


Let’s imagine you are setting up a work-from-home station and have your heart set on a charming vintage desk, maybe even with a vintage bookshelf next to it. But once you set foot in the antique mall, you are confronted with hundreds of booths to browse, and you begin to feel a little bit lost — not to mention distracted by the cute vintage dressers, mirrors, and TV stands you also see.


We understand that shopping for vintage furniture can feel overwhelming at first, but here are some important tips that can make it easier.


5 Tips for Vintage Furniture Shopping:


  1. Ensure it is in good, usable condition

  2. Bring a tape measure to ensure it will fit your space

  3. Consider a piece with old or ugly (not soiled!) upholstery that you can reupholster or use with a slipcover

  4. Get a piece with minor cosmetic issues that you can easily fix

  5. Buy timeless or one-of-a-kind pieces that you can love forever


Types of Vintage Furniture to Look For


Now that you know where you are shopping and are prepared for the task, let us suggest some great items, like vintage bookshelves, to add to your home. Whether you find one of these pieces online or at America’s Antique Mall, a piece like a vintage dresser can add so much charm and personality to your home. We will also share some ideas on how to style or upcycle/DIY the piece (you won’t believe how many ways you can use a vintage TV stand)!


5 Great Vintage Items to Shop For:

  1. Vintage desk

  2. Vintage dresser

  3. Vintage mirror

  4. Vintage bookshelf

  5. Vintage TV stand


Get a Vintage Desk for Your Home Office


These days, so many of us are working from home, at least part-time. Of course, you want a comfortable space to work, so why not add an adorable vintage desk to that space? Browse some inspiration for ways to style a beautiful vintage desk in your office — mix it with a modern chair and cozy elements like rugs and lamps.


Ways to Use a Vintage Dresser


Obviously, you can use a vintage dresser to hold your clothes. But there are so many ways to upcycle a vintage dresser, too! You can turn a vintage dresser into a kitchen island, bathroom vanity, buffet table, changing table, bench, beverage station, and so much more.


How to Style a Vintage Mirror


Vintage mirrors can be gorgeous statement pieces in your home. You can add a vintage mirror as an eye-catching piece in a gallery wall, leaning against the wall on top of furniture, standing in front of a fireplace, hanging above a vintage desk or dresser, or a large vintage mirror leaning against the wall.


What to Do with a Vintage Bookshelf


Needless to say, vintage bookshelves are great for holding books and knick-knacks. But like vintage dressers, they also offer endless DIY project opportunities! A vintage bookshelf can be transformed into a bookcase headboard, dollhouse, workstation, kids’ dress-up closet, pantry storage, and much more.


How to Use a Vintage TV Stand or Entertainment Center


Like vintage bookshelves, a vintage TV stand or entertainment center offers a world of possibilities when it comes to upcycling. A vintage TV stand is typically smaller and can be transformed into similar creations like those from a vintage dresser. A larger type of vintage TV stand is an entertainment center, and these massive pieces can be repurposed in all kinds of ways — from cocktail bars to sewing/craft stations to stand-alone pantries.


Selling Your Own Vintage Furniture


Now that you’ve caught the vintage furniture “bug,” you may want to think about selling some of the great pieces you find! One great way to sell vintage or antique pieces, like vintage mirrors, desks, dressers, bookshelves, and TV stands, is by setting up your own antique mall booth. This can be a great way to turn your new hobby into a profitable business.


Of course, you’ll want to keep that perfect vintage mirror or vintage desk and enjoy it for years to come. Once you get into buying vintage pieces, you may find it to be a lifelong hobby of filling your home with charming, unique furniture.


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