I think we all want it - a home that looks expensive and custom, without paying a lot for it.
Well, I have your silver bullet. Putting vintage into your mix. There's no better way to get great quality pieces that are full of style for such little money.
While I don't think everything in one's home should be old, there are some key pieces that are no brainers.
I can't tell you how many chairs I've bought in my flea market and yard sale travels. I'm kind of a chair-aholic. There's nothing more fun than adding a quirky chair into a room to show that you're not taking things too seriously.
My only word of warning is to stay away from damaged cane or rush seating. It can be very costly to repair. Also, wobby legs can be tricky. Sometimes wood glue does it but other times it's a bigger problem.
I'll bet you could get any of these chairs for less than $20. Customize them with the paint color of your choice!
Dining Room Table
There are a few routes you can go down here but let me start by saying that I don't like to buy dining room "sets". It's a lot more fun and looks more interesting if you mix it up. For example, you can pair a French looking table with modern chairs or a more modern table with ornate chairs. The key is to get the right seat height to table height ratio. Old dining room tables and chairs are generally lower than new ones so you'll want to try before you buy. I would suggest getting the table first, then get the chairs.
Okay back to tables - you can great deals on vintage tables that look great just the way they are but if the finish isn't quite right for you, you can refinish it or paint it. Or you could have a table made from recycled barn wood - drop me a line for my favorite sources.
Coffee and Side Tables
Let's start with coffee tables. Look for one that's the right scale so you'll need to measure before you buy. There's nothing more awkward than a coffee table that's too big for a space. It's nice to have around 15" to pass between your seating and a coffee table. Also, make sure it's not too high or too low. I think a nice height is 16"-18" but it really depends on the height of your seating.
If you're looking to add storage to your space, look for an old trunk. They're oftentimes the perfect size. Just make sure it passes the smelly test. Open it up and take a good whiff! Old wood pieces tend to hold onto odors - good or bad.
Side tables are key in any family room or living room. Everyone needs a place to put their drink, right? Think outside the box here too. You can look for old plant stands, garden stools or a little chest of drawers to serve as a side table.
I've talked about vintage lighting here before - it's one of my favorite things to look for. Most vintage lighting needs to be re-wired so you can use this as a bargaining chip. I go the local hardware store to get things re-wired although I've heard it's easy to do on your own. I just don't trust myself!
I'm always hunting for ceramic gord lamps, gooseneck desk lamps, floor lamps and cool hanging fixtures. I almost always replace the shade. Use a drum shade to instantly update a lamp.
Here's one of my favorite yard sale finds - $5!
There's something about old mirrors that you can't get from a new one. Maybe it's the imperfect glass, unique frame, detailed bevel or size. Vintage mirrors are EVERYWHERE you look and there are many deals to be had. If you're not crazy about the color, you can update a mirror really easily with a coat of spray paint like I did below.
My biggest "no go" for buying vintage are large upholstery items (I get skeeved out thinking what could be lurking inside and under the cushions), Maybe it's my phobia of lice, fleas and bed bugs that's making me irrational but I think it's better to be safe than sorry. If, however, you know the source of the upholstery (like Grandma, neighbor or a friend), then by all means go for it! I have a great resource for fabric and re-upholstery that I'm happy to share with you.
That's all for now! Happy hunting!
I'm all about sharing ideas in home design, gardening and living so we can love our homes. I'm joined by my dog, Boomer, who is always by my side.