There has always been a preference for antique furnishings and it’s become even more popular. Because of supply chain delays and higher prices for many custom or mass-market pieces, antiques are hot. There’s also the public’s shift toward sustainability: environmentally conscious buyers are avoiding throwaway furniture in favour of reusing and recycling.
And, as is customary, pop culture plays a role. Period shows such as “Bridgerton,” “Downton Abbey,” and “Outlander” have given bygone eras a romantic glow and”Mad Men” fuelled a thriving market for mid-century modern furniture. Designers also mention a renewed interest in the 1970s and 1980s decor.
All of this has resulted in large crowds of designers and regular people attending auctions, antique shops, and estate sales. Sales are also up on online platforms such as vintage furniture retailer Chairish and collectibles site 1stDibs.
The good news from a design standpoint is that it is simple and trendy to incorporate antiques into any room and mix them with pieces from any era, according to designers.
More 20th-century vintage items are becoming available, whether it’s a finely carved Edwardian side table, a Le Corbusier chaise, a Pop Art-era mirror, or something as small and charming as a vintage book or ceramic.
Collectors of antiques past and present who rose to prominence for expertly blending eras include Billy Baldwin, dubbed “America’s dean of interior decoration in the 1950s and 1960s” by Architectural Digest. He designed opulent homes for socialites, using a mix of modern and antique furniture. An older piece, according to Baldwin, “gives a room flavour.”
Jay Spectre, known for his sleek, dramatic interiors, loved Art Deco. Female decorators like Elsie de Wolfe and Sister Parish were masters at allowing elegant turn-of-the-century European furniture to breathe in light-filled modern spaces.
Today, designers such as Kelly Wearstler bring an adventurous style to both homes and boutique hotels. “Mixology is my aesthetic; always something old and something new, raw and refined, masculine and feminine,” she says.
Georgia Zikas, a West Hartford, Connecticut-based designer, believes that modern art and an achromatic rug provide a nice foundation for mixed furniture styles while also dispelling any dowdiness. One of Zikas’ clients had inherited a lovely pair of vintage crystal Waterford lamps from her mother. The dated pleated shades were replaced with crisp, white, tapered shades.
When it comes to antiques, different parts of the world appear to lean in different directions. Antiques are being requested by more clients than ever before, according to Thomas. He and his team recently returned from a two-week buying trip to France in search of French style antique furniture. Antiques and vintage art deco furniture can provide a sense of antiquity and luxury to any room.
How to Purchase Antique Furniture
If you’re buying antiques online, Thomas recommends using a reputable auction site. He claims that there are some excellent fakes and reproductions on the market that would fool even the most seasoned buyers. A reputable auction site will typically vet and list whether or not the item is authentic.
Some of his tips for identifying genuine antiques include: “Pay attention to spotting” when using mirrors. Old mirrors were made of tin and mercury or silver, which oxidized over time, creating waviness and splotching on the front. This patina indicates that it is an antique.”
Examine the construction of cabinets and dressers. Examine the back of the piece, which is less likely to have been painted. “Many pieces from the 18th century will have similar embellishments to those from the.”20th-century “However, the precision and exactness improved dramatically between these two time periods,” Thomas explains. Curvy floral details, for example, are unlikely to be as rounded on an 18th-century piece because they lacked the tools needed to create a perfect curve.
Beau Ciolino, a co-author of “Probably This Housewarming” (Abrams), recommends the app www.estatesales.net for receiving alerts about sales in your area.
eBay, Etsy, and ZZ Driggs, which sell and rents vintage furniture, are also options. You might not be able to afford the $3,000 James Mont Art Deco leather lounge chair, but you might be able to afford the $75 monthly rent for a year.
Ciolino and Armato report a “furniture flipping” trend. He recommends leaving reupholstering to the professionals. According to Armato, wooden items, particularly those with simple details, are ideal for beginning DIYers. “Dressers and side tables typically require only a light sanding, paint or stain if desired, and a coat of sealants such as clear enamel or linseed oil.” Some metal pieces, such as outdoor iron chairs, are also very doable.”
Bee’s Knees Interior Design in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, resurrects old wooden furniture by painting it in bright colours.
“My mother taught me how to spot great pieces that just need a little love and reinventing,” Maloney says. “I still cherish my first purchase, a sweet little dresser I found on an antique excursion with her over 40 years ago.”
Post contributed by: Elena Gardner
Bio: “Elena Gardner is a stylist with a refined approach to interior design and fashion. Her goal is to create unforgettable, highly defined designs that deeply represent the client’s personal background. She also enjoys writing on the effects of new fashion trends and interior design”.