5 Tips to Buying Vintage Furniture

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Good vintage furniture can be hard to come by. The market is saturated with chairs, dressers and sofas in all shapes and sizes. So how do you even begin choosing the perfect piece for your home? Furniture should be an investment purchase. Outside of college your pieces shouldn’t fall apart after just a few years of use. Furniture should be well crafted, sturdy and passed on for generations. After years of purchasing, refurbishing and selling high-end vintage furniture we have gathered the 5 most important things you need to look for when buying your next vintage piece.

1. Superior Craftsmanship

We have discovered that the very best vintage  furniture is usually American made prior to mid 1980’s. An easy was to know you’re purchasing quality furniture are name brands. High-end manufacturers such as Henredon, Century, Baker, Hickory Chair and Kindel are known for their superior craftsmanship and are coveted by interior designers. Joint construction is a great tell-tale sign of a sturdy design. A quick check to see if there are dovetail or mortise and tenon joints can tell you how well the piece was crafted. Since furniture manufacturing has moved overseas we find that newer, cheaper furniture is simply glued together and not even made of real wood!

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Examples of dovetail joints

2. High Grade Foam

Foam is neck and neck with craftsmanship for the most important feature for quality furniture. There is nothing worse than uncomfortable seating. By getting your hands on pieces with high quality or density foam you are guaranteed comfort for you and your guests. Not to mention that good foam also lasts longer and doesn’t disintegrate.

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A pile of high grade foam.

3. Excellent Upholstery

A close observation of the upholstery on the piece can tell a lot about its quality. There are several things to look for. The fabric panels and welting should match up and the patterns aligned. Sharp lines and strong seams ensure the fabric will hold up to years of use. Pieces that have been upholstered in high-end designer fabric are true gems and are worth the extra money. Not only are the fabrics proven to be durable but they are also archived and documented prints that become their own piece of history.

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Attention to detail makes the piece look perfect.

4. The Perfect Finish

After years in the business we have discovered that lacquer creates the hardest and most durable finish for furniture. A piece that has been properly refurbished will have been sanded, painted and top coated several times. You want to inspect that the wear and tear is minimal and the paint is not flaking off.

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Before and after lacquering.

5. Carefully Curated

Where you purchase you furnishings is also very important. If possible buying from a curator that know the history of the piece can help you better understand its quality. A qualified designer can spot wear and tear and what needs work. They know what the trends are and what’s in style and can help you update your interiors. Feel free to contact us if have any questions or concerns regarding vintage furniture.

Shop one-of-a-kind high-end vintage finds here.

Comments

  1. Choosing furniture can be really difficult. You first have to know what style you are trying to emulate in your own home. I did not know that the older furniture was made better and was better quality, I will have to look out for those when I go shopping.

  2. I liked the example you posted of how using the right finish can improve the way vintage furniture looks. My mom has a cabinet that looks really nice, but it would look better with the right finish. Perhaps shellacking it will give it the sheen and shine that it needs to look better. I’ll have to take that into consideration if she asks me to refinish her old cabinet for her.

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