8 Decor Finds That Are Always Better at Estate Sales or Antique Shops
It’s not always easy, and it’s not for everyone (or every home), but being able to scour estate sales and antique shops for one-of-a-kind finds can be an extremely rewarding experience. Whether you’re an antiquing novice or a regular on the estate-sale circuit, there are some things you know you probably shouldn’t buy used (mattresses and bedding, for one). But the following 8 decor finds are almost always better at estate sales or antique shops than your contemporary furniture shop.
Dressers, Armoires, and Credenzas
Almost any antique wood furniture is going to be of higher quality than what you often see for sale today. You’ll notice the sturdier materials and intricate trim work on these larger pieces that are the marks of quality craftsmanship. Don’t love the stain or finish? Try to look beyond it, because refinishing or even painting wood furniture is an easy upgrade to take on yourself.
Whether you have a plain brick fireplace or no fireplace at all, an aged wood mantel can bring in the charm and character your space is lacking (not to mention give you another surface to decorate on).
When trying to fill an expansive bookcase or built-ins, or looking for more interesting decor for your tabletops, books can be a pricey solution when bought new. If you aren’t trying to actually add to your reading list, antique books are sold for a fraction of the price, and the aged look is often something decorators want to add to a space.
Coffee and Side Tables
The same applies as our note about wood furniture above, but we think you can be a little more creative and find something unique that happens to double as a coffee or side table. Think vintage trunks, a stack of old suitcases, or even an antique filing cabinet, like in the photo below.
How To Shop for Antique Furniture
Get beginner tips on how to shop for antique furniture from the pros at Antiques Roadshow.
Finding an antique sofa that is still in good shape is not always an easy feat, but hunting down a standalone or pair of arm chairs is much more feasible. And you'll likely find something with tons of character true to the era it originated from. Plus, recovering a chair is only a fraction of what it would cost to recover a full-size sofa.
A quick browse through Etsy and you'll quickly realize purposefully aged frames (and other wood decor) are in high demand. No matter its intended purpose (framing art, a mirror, or even a cork board), an antique frame will likely have more character than anything you can buy new. And hey, you might like what comes inside the frame, too!
If you have your own passed-down collection of silver, you might want to keep it safely stored away and not out on display in your home year-round. But antique silver pieces—even if they're not in perfect condition—can be great decorating elements whether hung on display or used in a practical manner.
Glass Bottles and Teacups
Both make for intriguing decor displays, and the character of aged bottles and slightly chipped teacups is something you just can’t buy new.