Vintage Furniture: How To Buy, Where To Buy & How To Get It Delivered For Cheap!
My friends! Today I want to chat about one of my favourite topics – vintage furniture! I LOVE buying vintage; clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, furniture… everything! And today I want to share my best tips for buying vintage furniture, where to buy it, how to see past the clutter of the junk shop and reimagine it in your own home and how to get it delivered to your door for cheap! Shall we deep dive?!
Let your friends and family know you love vintage and you are looking for new pieces!
It sounds simple and oh-so obvious, but not everyone loves vintage furniture and your friends and family might have NO IDEA you want to fill your home with vintage pieces! So, let them know! You never know what might happen, they might have a stunning vintage rug they no longer want or they might see something in a local vintage store, jumble sale or even on their local facebook group and give you a heads up!
Keep an eye on your local Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree pages
This can be an amazing place to get cheap or even FREE vintage furniture! Your local hipsters might be moving to London and want to clear out all their years of thrifting for next to nothing and this could be your opportunity to scoop it all up! The same goes for Gumtree, I’ve given LOADS away on Gumtree, so keep an eye on the free and the ‘for sale’ sections of your local page. Also, because it’s local, it will be WAY easier to collect!
Haunt your local car boot sales, vintage markets, charity shops and vintage stores
You never know where your next vintage purchase will come from, it could be online, it could be in a pysical store… who knows?! But if you aren’t looking, you aren’t finding! I frequently pop into my local charity shops and vintage stores and I’ve spent many a Sunday morning walking around car boot sale fields too! If you want vintage, you have to search for it, both online and offline and even if you aren’t looking for it, you have to keep your eye open for it! I found this vintage peacock chair when I was walking home from collecting my dry cleaning! And I’ve been into my local British Heart Foundation store SO many times I know the store managers name; Rhonda, she’s lovely!
Vintage furniture: How to buy on eBay?
The search tools on eBay are my EVERYTHING!! Firstly, you can set up ‘saved searches’ so you get alerts every time something is listed with your saved keywords. I have LOADS of these set up and I LOVE them!!! Especially if I’m looking for something a little rare. Also, I like to search by location, nearest first, so I can see if there’s anything amazing in the area. Then I like to search by the UK and ‘cheapest first’ and I will keep an eye on the location to see how far away the item is so I can factor in the delivery cost. Then I like the search via auction so I don’t see any of the ‘buy it now’ items; the auction items are often cheaper and original vintage rather then reproductions. Finally, if I see something I like which isn’t quite right (for whatever reason, even if it’s located super far away) I like to scroll down to see the ‘similar’ items which are generated. I recently bought a sofa for £50 thanks to this recommended feature and because it was listed with slightly different keywords to what I was searching for, but luckily, it came up as a recommended item underneath a similar item I was looking at! AMAZING!
Vintage Furniture: How To Buy when you don’t have a van?
I let SO many good items get away from me because of the location! If I couldn’t pick it up myself in my tiny car, I figured I couldn’t get it! I am was too much of a nervous driver to hire a van and drive across the country to get it and I didn’t realise there was any other option if I’m honest! And then my brother recommended AnyVan to me, you just type in the item, the location of collection and drop off and it automatically gives you a quote. They have vans going around the country all the time doing loads of pick-ups and drop-offs, so prices do vary depending on if the driver is in your area at that time and how flexible you are with dates, but it’s SO good! I recently paid £98 for a three-seat sofa to be collected from North London and dropped off here in Margate. It would have cost me more than that to hire a van and pay for petrol there and back, let alone the time involved! Sure if your collection is in Scotland and you live on the south coast, it will cost more, but it’s always worth considering AnyVan and factoring the delivery cost into your bidding price!
Find inspiration and look past the thrift store setting!
When you are shopping for vintage it can be hard to isolate the item from the thrift store and imagine it in your home LOOKING GOOD! We are conditioned to shop for furniture and homewares in a staged store environment, even in Ikea, there’s soooo many beautiful corners showing us exactly how the items look styled up so it’s easy to imagine it in the context of your own home. However, in a charity shop, there’s no staged corners and it’s all a bit of a miss-match of eras so you and your brain, need to work harder to spot the cool items and merchandise it in your head and imagine it in your home. It can be hard! You are looking for a diamond in the rough and sometimes It can be hard to see the wood for the trees…. SO many metaphors! Anyway! Pinterest can be an incredible tool for figuring out what vintage furniture styles you like and seeing how it can be styled up in a way that suits your home and then when you spy a similar item in a charity shop or thrift store, you can jump on it! It’s all about isolating the item and seeing past the thrift store setting. I know I’ve bought SO many things that I would never have considered, but because I saw similar items in a new context on Pinterest, I was able to picture the item in my own home! Pinterest is the BEST!
Remember: You have to work hard for your finds!
I’m gonna be real here, shopping for vintage might sound very romantic, but actually, you have to work HARD for your finds!!!! Every single vintage item in my house is the result of hours of searching for inspiration, getting up early for vintage sales, popping into vintage shops on my way back from getting groceries. I put time and effort into finding my vintage and it paid off! You have to commit to vintage! You can’t do a 5 minute search on eBay and expect to find your dream sofa, nor can you pop into one charity shop and deck out your entire living room! You need to keep searching eBay, keep going into your local charity shops, keep rummaging, hunting, looking… you might be saving money when you buy vintage (or not!) but you pay for it in other ways and if I’m honest, that part of the fun! Vintage is a way of life, it’s not a quick purchase!
Don’t be afraid to clean & fix
Our kitchen table is one of my FAVOURITE EVER vintage purchases, but let me tell you, when we bought it, it was a bit of a state! The antiques dealer sold it to us for just under £300, which I was happy with because I loved the proportions of the table and we could see how beautiful the wood would be once it had been sanded back, cleaned and rewaxed. However, I know some of my friends would have looked at the table and laughed at the fact I spent so much on a filthy old table! Sometimes a few hours cleaning, sanding and rewaxing is all that stands in between you and your dream kitchen table!
Vintage doesn’t have to be bargain basement!
Finally, just a little reminder, some vintage is cheap, some is not! Sure you can get lucky and find a mid-century coffee table for £25 (like mine above!) but similarly, you could find a pair of matching, mint condition 1950’s chairs in a high end vintage store and be shocked by the price. Just because it’s vintage, doesn’t mean it has to be cheap, sometimes vintage is expensive because it’s beautifully made and super rare and super amazing! My point is, vintage can be incredible for decking out your house on a budget, but if you see something amazing and unique and it costs as much as a ‘new’ item would, don’t see it as second hand, see it as one-of-a-kind and amazing, because it is!
Where To Get FREE Furniture in the UK!
If your budget is SUPER low, y’know, non-existent, then there are a few places you can get furniture for free… wanna know?
- Salvation Army
- Ask your friends and family if they have any old furniture they want rid of
- Ask on your local facebook community page
- Charity shop furniture stores – explain your situation and ask them if they have any sofas which don’t have fire tags, as these items can’t be sold
- A local house clearance company – explain your situation and ask if they have any sofas which don’t have fire tags, as these can’t be sold and they may have to pay to dispose / recycle them and might be willing to help you out if you can collect
- eBay – look for any sofas and chairs which are listed for 99p. I got a beautiful pink chair (see above) for £1.04 from eBay and a sofa for free because the buyer never paid and they said if I could collect it within 4 days I could have it for free!
- Collage campus – look out for moving out day when all the students dump their unwanted furniture on the pavement
- Car boot sales – wait until the end and generally sellers will let you have any bulky items like furniture free / £1 because they don’t want to take it home with them. Some sellers will leave a pile of items with a note that says ‘FREE’.
- Local dump – be nice to the folks at your local dump and explain that you need furniture. They often let you take items for free as it’s often stored in containers to be recycled so you can save them a job!
Vintage Furniture: How To Buy, Where To Buy?
- Inherit your friends & families unwanted pieces
- Facebook marketplace
- Carboot sales
- Thrift stores
- Charity Shops
- Auction Houses
- Craigs list
- Estate Sales
- Flea / Antiques markets
- Pop up vintage sales
…And there we have it, Vintage Furniture: How To Buy, Where To Buy & How To Get It Delivered For Cheap!! I hope this post is of help to you and if you have any questions, please do let me know! I LOVE shopping for vintage and I’m always happy to share my knowledge! Also, this post contains affiliate links.