How To Buy Vintage, Antique And Second-Hand Furniture Online

Read this before you put in a bid!

second hand furniture shopping online

by Lucy Morris |

The internet has made furnishing a home a mere click and credit card away.

The options for how you go about this are endless - will you pick luxe and exclusive designer furniture or fulfill your need with a quick Ikea hit? Or, perhaps indulge in the unfettered joy of uncovering a one-of-a-kind vintage piece? The latter appeals but comes with baggage. Suddenly shipping from an obscure town in Eastern Europe becomes a very real worry and you find yourself asking strangers if they have ever smoked within the presence of a specific item of furniture.

Before you start bidding this is everything you need to know about shopping vintage, antique and second-hand furniture online…

What Should Shoppers Consider Before Shopping For Vintage And Second-Hand Furniture Online?

‘Do your research,’ says Etsy’s Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson, ‘Ask questions. Be specific with the questions you ask the seller.’ Get to grips with the micro and macro details, like the era, value, colour, shape, fabrics, condition and the previous life of the item. It’s not just the seller who needs to be quizzed, Johnson thinks it’s important we ask ourselves if this item has a use and if it will last before we make an offer.

What’s The Difference Between Vintage And Antique Furniture?

‘The term vintage has no “official” meaning but Vintage on Etsy needs to be over 20-years-old,’ says Johnson. Antiques, however, have a very specific definition as they need to be more than 100-years-old.

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What Are The Easiest Mistakes To Make When Buying Second-Hand Furniture Online? And, How Do You Avoid Them?

Hesitation isn’t an option, says Johnson, ‘this is a one-of-a-kind item and there are unlikely to be multiples so if you see something you love, then buy it.’ Secondly, she says to 'keep a measuring tape handy,’ as house and furniture sizes have changed over the decades and scale will determine if the item will seamlessly fit within your home. Finally, consider the delivery costs. ‘If it’s shipping from abroad or within the UK just remember to check the delivery costs before you buy as this can vary considerably when buying furniture as it depends on weight and size. You want it to arrive safely’ and within budget.

How Do You Know When A Furniture Designer Will Become Collectable?

There are no guarantees that something will become collectable,’ our Etsy expert says. But, you can keep on eye on trends across the industry to stay one step ahead.

What Are The Big Trends In Vintage Furniture Right Now?

Naturally, the fact we’re even writing this story suggests vintage furniture is a huge trend, but Johnson reports upcycled items are forging a new trend too with searches for ‘upcylced home décor’ up by more than 120 per cent so far this year. ‘Whether it’s a vintage chair upholstered in modern fabric or a mid-century sideboard with some painted detail on (like ElizabethDotDesign).’ This is part of a growing movement towards sustainability and eco-consciousness has sparked renewed interested in upcycled decor. Johnson reveals there have been more than 75,000 searches for upcycled in the home and living category on Etsy. Unexpected items are being repurposed to make an (environmentally conscious) style statement including rugs made from recycled plastic bottles.

Rattan is another trend gaining momentum. ‘This really lends itself to vintage items as it was such a big trend in the early 20th Century - although wicker first came to the UK in the Victorian times - so there is lots out there,’ Johnson says, ‘this tactile trend will reconnect your home with nature as rattan adds texture and soft curved shapes and compliments any room. We’re starting to see this applied to all different types of furniture on Etsy - this is definitely one to watch out for.’

READ MORE: The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea

Gallery

SHOP: The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap

The Best Places To Decorate Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Behind every Ian Snow piece lies a story. A tradition, a way of doing things, carefully preserved through the generations. Inspired by Ian's travels to India in 1969, his daughters Daisy and India work alongside him and their mother from their farm in Devon.

Anthropologie
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If you've ever been into an Anthropologie store you'll know the overwhelming feeling of wanting everything in sight. From soft furnishings to glassware, they stock near enough everything for any room in the house.

The Best Places To Decorate Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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CREDIT: Zara Home

Zara Home is about to launch a new online collection, so you no longer have to go in store to get your fix.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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With 33 stores all over the UK, stock changes regularly but they claim they are 60% cheaper than other retailers. Although you can't shop online, which is a bit of a pain. Their beautiful rustic tables are seriously sturdy. Also their beautiful blue & white cushion with serious top texture is a stand out accessory for your sofa (£7.99). You can't buy online so a visit to store is essential.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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If you've been missing out on Sainsbury's range of homeware then you need to jump on the bandwagon pronto. This beautiful scarf-print bed linen is only £31 and pretty enough to make you ditch plain white bedding for life. They also have some very reasonably priced soft furnishing like this oil paint cushion (£12) to instantly add a unique interior twist without blowing the budget.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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While you're browsing ASOS looking for an outfit for the last minute boozy brunch you've agreed to attend this weekend, pop some bedding, towels and plant hangers (this one's only £16!) in your basket from the website's homeware range. It's cheap, durable and (most importantly) uniquely stylish.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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With over 140 stores in the UK with so much to choose from and is suitable for a range of budgets. Their home accessories are particularly good for those with less cash to splash. From their decor range their blue ribbed glass bud vase at £5 is perfect for stems and their metal and glass lantern is just stunning for £8. Also you may not know it yet, but their Albany gold table lamp is exactly what you need in your life. (£104).

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Offering everything from furniture to wall art, throws, cushions, vases and even a dedicated wedding range. You do have to root around, but you'll find some gems. Check out the hanging chair from their garden essentials, or their Pinterest-worthy ivory arched mirror for £57.99. Their Laos Trail wallpaper is beautiful with a price to match at £14.99 a roll and their Lobster cushion taps into the tapestry trend for just £3.99.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Decorator's Notebook specialise in handmade home accessories from fair trade groups, social enterprises and artisan co-operatives all over the world. Their ethos is that design quality and ethics can go hand in hand and allow customers to create a beautiful home without compromising their style or their conscience.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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A family-run business with unusual pieces. Their geometric vases are so nice it's hard to know if you'd look at the flowers or the vase and their black distressed whale book ends will make even your crappy old uni books look interesting.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Wilko calls itself the 'home of family value' retailer. And although it sounds a bit like a razor, it's actually just an amazing shop that sells just about everything. You could kit out your entire home this way, but highlights right now are a slick bookcase from their Julian Bowen range for £140, or this Anthropologie-esque duvet set for just £14.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Launched in October 2014, this boutique scours the globe for handmade pieces which means your mates won't automatically have the same wardrobe as you. We're very into this chevron chest of drawers, par example.

The Best Places To Decorate Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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CREDIT: H&M Home

Mostly known for their clothes, H&M has recently upped it's game and stepped into the homeware market. And with pieces such as this rattan basket for just £9.99 it's no surprise the new venture is doing well.

The Best Places To Decorate Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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CREDIT: Marks & Spencer

Seeing a theme here? Yep, there are plenty of supermarkets offering cheap homeware, including Marks & Spencer. This leaf print cushion is only £12.50!

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