5 Tips for Finding Vintage Home Decor

5 tips for finding vintage home decor
Decorating our homes can be a rewarding way of expressing our creativity. It can also be a frustrating, annoying, long journey till we find the perfect vintage home decor. Many of us don’t have big budgets and unlimited time to go shopping, but hopefully these 5 tips for finding vintage home decor will help you along the way.


1. Determine your budget and stick to it.

I’ve searched for pieces for weeks, months and years and although I’ve seen many, many beautiful pieces, most if not all exceeded my small budget, so I kept looking. I didn’t want to over spend and then regret it every time I looked at the piece of decor in my home. This meant living without a piece of furniture or using something else till I found what I was looking for, and that’s OK. The time spent looking can also allow you to save up more money to increase your budget.

flea market sale rack fro finding vintage home decor

Don’t forget the sale racks at Flea Markets, but please be respectful when asking for a better price!


2. Decide how important brand and condition are to you.

Some people know the exact brand name they are seeking, whether it’s an Eames lounge chair, Hans Wegner chair or an Hans Olson dining set, and are willing to pay for it. Others are ok with a piece that looks similar, but may be a reproduction or made by a less well-known manufacturer. It’s great to have the style you want in mind, but stay open to other budget friendly options. You may even consider new reproductions that are available from Target, Ikea, World Market or Overstock.com, that have the vintage vibe.

old chairs on display at flea market are good places to find vintage home decor

Condition & Price

Sometimes pieces are not perfect, they may have scratches or dents which make them more affordable. My Danish teak dining table was half price because of some scratches, which we were able to minimize with wood markers and furniture polish! So take some time to think about how important brand name and condition are to you.

It took 5 years to find this one! We’re using Ikea chairs till we find the “perfect” affordable set of Danish mid-century modern chairs.


3. Look everywhere and spread the word.

Thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales and auctions can be great places to search. Try to stop in and have a look often.  Join the stores email list so you’ll be notified of any special sales or events. Some thrift stores like Goodwill, have loyalty cards which will give you an added discount.

finding vintage home decor at Melrose flea market Los Angeles CA

Spread the Word

Don’t be afraid to let people know what you’re looking for.  Ask the folks that work at the thrift store when they get their shipments, then plan your visits to get first dibs on new inventory. Getting to know flea market vendors can also be helpful. We have a few vendors at our local flea market that have gotten to know our budget and what we’re looking for and they try to find pieces for us. Auctions and estate sales may take a bit more time but you can search their websites prior to sales. Going to the last day of an Estate sale can offer deep discounts but less of a selection, so weigh your options.

finding vintage home decor at the Scarlet Willow in Lancaster PA

Finding vintage home decor at The Scarlet Willow in Lancaster PA


Shopping Online

Online options are also a good place to search. I wrote about a few popular apps you might consider using. When shopping online keep in mind shipping costs can get expensive for large or heavy items. Try setting your search criteria for your local area, you may be able to pick up your purchase to save on the shipping costs. Review the photos and read the description carefully, contact the seller if you need more information.

Weil Antique Center Emmaus PA

Antique and Consignment Shops

Don’t forget to check out traditional antique group shops and consignment shops, they often have sales going on and a good variety of inventory. I’ve written about a few of my favorite places in our area of Pennsylvania, like Space, Redeux Marketplace,  and the Philadelphia Flea Market, here on the blog.

Get Social

Once you find a favorite shop or vendor follow them on social media and join their e-mail list, if they have one. They’ll post sales, specials and new inventory. This is how I found my long sought after mid-century modern starburst clock. Lionfeather studio, a favorite vendor I follow, posted the clock on Instagram. After I private messaged her, she was able to bring the clock to a local shop where she sells and I was able to check it out in person, pick it up and save on shipping!

Mid century modern teak and brass Welby starburst wall clock

It took 4 years but I finally found a mid-century modern starburst clock!


5. Fostering patience and perseverance

It can take a long time to find that perfect piece of home decor, but hang in there! I waited 2 years to find a mid-century credenza and 4 years to find a starburst clock! It can also get frustrating when you know what you want, but you can’t afford what you find.

Danish Rosewood Credenza

Way out of my price range – Danish Rosewood Credenza offered on 1st dibs by Horseman Antiques


Don’t Give Up & Have Fun Along the Way

My advice is, to keep searching, and try not to get too hung up on having the exact “perfect” piece. Maybe instead of having that original Eames lounge chair, or the $3500 Danish credenza (pictured above) try something else, it could end up being a great alternative, and provide the character and style you were looking for. Most of all have fun and enjoy the adventure of finding vintage decor for your home. You’ll make some good memories and have fun stories to share, which will make owning that piece of furniture or accessory even more meaningful.

tour de thrift swallow image

One response to “5 Tips for Finding Vintage Home Decor”

  1. Angie says:

    ? Thank you! Angie