If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know that I dearly love to shop secondhand for vintage and older pieces of furniture. There has been a huge surge in that market in the last 10 years, but I have been shopping that way for much longer than that. When I first set up house and started shopping for furniture, I had heard about antiques, but always thought they were way out of my price range. I didn’t think I could afford real antiques. Well, let me clarify that. I can’t afford the ones we see on Antiques Roadshow…those priceless heirlooms that were centuries old and worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those kinds of antiques were not in my budget then or now.
But, I quickly found out that I could afford vintage pieces, those mass produced pieces of furniture from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s that were plentiful and showing up in antiques stores and thrift stores all over the country. Solid wood furniture never goes out of style and that’s what I’ve built the bones of my home with. Good, solid pieces of furniture that have served me well for years.
I can remember hunting down and bringing home every single one of these and the thrill of the hunt was part of the appeal. I will still buy new sofas and chairs for the most part and I won’t say I’ll never replace any of my pieces, but I am pretty content with the collection I’ve put together and don’t have a desire to constantly make changes around here. Mixing old and new is the best way to get that eclectic and unique look in your house, not to mention it’s just plain fun to hunt down the bargains.
I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite pieces with you and how I came to find them. Antiques are considered real antiques when they are 100 years or older and I’m happy to say I have a few of those.
This over 100 year old mirror came from Chattanooga, TN. I was up there over 20 years ago with friends and found this in a dusty antique shop. It’s the first antique I ever bought and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. The shop owner told me it came from an old bar/saloon in the area and I can see how that could be.
I love having pieces that are unique and not mass produced and that’s what you get when you shop vintage. This old French 1880’s cupboard is like nothing I had ever seen and I found it at Scott Antiques year ago. It’s one of the most expensive pieces I’ve bought, but if I remember correctly it was $1,200. Not bad when you consider the cost of new furniture and how much more appealing an older piece is for the long haul.
This marble topped plant stand came from an estate sale in the last couple of years. I thought it was so pretty and had to have it and at $35, it was a great deal. It actually came from a good friend’s dad’s estate, so it’s extra special to me. The Italian wine bottle on top is old as well.
This solid wood Henredon piece came from a yardsale too, at $25. It was a natural wood when I bought it and it’s gone from black to this pretty navy blue in our bedroom. It’s the perfect place to put on makeup.
I love color and definitely use color around our house. This armillary was $25 at a yardsale years ago and I still have it and display it on a glass table in our living room.
Family pieces are hard to come by in our family, since neither side of my family had much to pass down. I cherish this little mass produced side table from my grandma on my dad’s side. I claimed this one after her death and my dad brought it home. It’s not fancy, but it’s part of my heritage.
My mahogany buffet in the dining room is another classic piece that I’ve had for year. I bought it from an antiques store on the Marietta square years ago when there were many more antiques shops than there are now. I think I paid $550 for it, a bargain by today’s standards for something new of the same quality. If you try to go out to the furniture stores and buy new pieces that are all wood, you’ll definitely spend a fortune on real wood and they won’t be made as well as these older pieces are, for the most part.
I spotted this vintage Ethan Allen piece at a thriftstore for $25. I painted the bottom in an Annie Sloan Duck Egg chalk paint and this solid wood piece works just fine for me in our family room. These pics are from both my houses.
This is not a really old piece, but you can pick up so many cute items at antiques shops and thrift stores, which can be repurposed and painted to suit your room. I think this console piece was from Bombay Company originally and I paid $75 for it at an antiques store.
Our guest bedroom is an eclectic mix of styles and periods and I found this vintage Thomasville piece for $400. You can’t go wrong with these older vintage name brand pieces. It’s gotten a little beat up from moving a couple of times and one day I may paint it, who knows. But it’s a good solid piece of furniture.
My old master bedroom has a very old French bonnetiere/armoire that I picked up at Scott Antiques. It’s a beautiful piece, but I don’t have room for it in our new house. But it’s definitely a piece that I love. It was not a big bargain, but a beauty.
Mixing old and new has always been fun for me and I just can’t ever see myself going out and buying a whole new room of anything. That’s not to say that I won’t ever be shopping again, but when I do it will still be a mix of new and vintage. That way of shopping just has the most appeal for me and will always be something I want to incorporate in my house. A room just sings when it’s a mix of collected items and not all brand spanking new!
How about you? Are you mixing old and new?