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Guide to buying retro furniture

Buying retro and vintage furniture is a great way to create your own personal style using design classics from the past. The difference between this and antiquing or thrift shopping is that in buying vintage, most of the time you look for one particular period or trend, making buying the furniture quite specific. Here are the top tips to hunt down exactly what you want and make sure you pay the right price.

Retro furniture


If you want to pick up some good pieces, it is not only going to require time and effort, but a bit of research, too. There is no Ikea for retro furniture and you may need to explore different shops, markets and auctions before you find anything. The most important thing is not to write off one place because it didn’t have anything you liked at that time. Pay regular visits and you might find a gem.

Make friends

One of the best things you can do is strike up relationships with those who supply furniture. Shop owners, antique dealers even fellow enthusiasts could help you find what you are looking for. Let them know the style you like and they may tip you off the next time they have something that will interest you or even search for you themselves.

Well made

Second-hand furniture is never going to be brand new but you don’t want to waste your money on something that may fall apart or need constant repairs. “Gently used” furniture is the ideal “used” type as you don’t want anything trashed or damaged. Aesthetic elements can be readily repaired, but a good structure is essential. Don’t worry about any scratches either, as they can be professionally removed.

Don’t go after the most popular

Often people looking for retro furniture will see or hear one iconic brand and then search for that, but that can often end in disappointment. Take an open-minded view to the design era as whole and research other manufacturing brands that maybe more accessible.

Get a good price

When you find something after a long search it can be hard not to get over-excited and you may be tempted to agree to any price. But don’t pay over the odds. Inspect the piece and think through whether you really want it and whether it will fit in your home before you agree to buy it. Don’t be scared to haggle as well — if people see you are serious about the piece and will take care of it, they may be more willing to cut the price.

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