Antique furniture is a big investment and, well, a big thing to cart home. Before you put time and money into one of these purchases, check out our tips for buying antique furniture – then enjoy the hunt for something unique!
Research, research, research
There’s so much to learn about antique furniture! Before you start browsing and seriously making purchases, read as much as you can about antique furniture – especially if there is a certain time period or style that you really like. The more educated you are about the furniture, the easier it will be to spot reproductions and overpriced items.
Look for the mark from the manufacturer or maker
Most antique furniture has some kind of mark from the person or place that was responsible for building it – often in places that people wouldn’t see, like the inside of a dresser drawer or the backside of a piece.
Look for signs of age
Since the trend now is to make furniture look antique, you might come across a piece that someone has modified to look older than it is. But, there are some telltale signs – first, look for imperfections. If something was handmade, then there will be variations in the woodwork – if everything looks exactly uniform, then there’s reason to be suspicious.
You can also look for general signs that the item has been used – are the arms and seat of a chair more worn than the rest of the piece? Wood also shrinks over time, so warping and cracking is normal with older wood furniture.
Make sure you can move it
Especially if you’re traveling a long way or visiting a flea market, make sure your hunt for antique furniture includes a vehicle that can bring it home. An actual store can probably just put it on hold until you come back, but fairs and markets can often involve you taking the furniture then and there.
So, make sure you have a vehicle that can hold furniture; plenty of furniture pads or blankets to protect the item; plenty of people to carry the item; bubble wrap; and packaging tape.
Buy with your budget and style in mind
This is a good rule of thumb for any antiques purchase – have a number in mind that you want to spend, especially since furniture can often be on the pricier side. Another great rule of thumb for all antiques: Don’t just buy it because it’s an antique. If it’s furniture, chances are that you’ll want to display it in your home – so make sure it matches your style and décor. On the fence? Don’t settle just because the hunt has been long or you feel obligated to buy – wait on something that you love!
Antique furniture is often quality furniture, and these handmade pieces are unlike much of what you’d find in stores today. Make sure what you’re looking at is in good condition and keep an eye out for reproductions – and you’ll likely find much success in the antique furniture game.