You are moving into a new place – or perhaps thinking your current home could do with a lick of inspiration. It’s easy to create a collection of stunning boards on Pinterest but actually getting started can be a more tricky reality. It might seem that the rest of the online world knows exactly what they want and can name it – what even is a Finn Juhl sideboard?! And where do you find one exactly? Design blogs are full of inspiring homes, the owners of which will trill quite happily about how they sourced this and that niche design from somewhere at the end of earth. It can quickly go from inspiring to a bit intimidating.
Pressed for time and not keen on navigating the unchartered territory of vintage furniture, many might understandably retreat to the more familiar realms of Ikea. We still think that it’s worth making the effort to track down that perfect vintage piece. It needn’t take up all of your free time either, although for some the process of searching for and discovering that one special find becomes a real pleasure! It’s incredibly satisfying to unearth something that is completely unique to your home. We should connect to the items we place into the our homes. It makes an immense difference to the way we feel when at home and develops a strong sense of belonging to the space, rather than retreating to an impersonal and uninspiring cocoon every night. Your home doesn’t have to – and probably won’t! – look like a design blogger’s home overnight but it’s 100% better to let the space grow slowly over time rather than panic fill it with impersonal furniture from day one.
Vintage furniture can also evoke a range of connotations… some people feel that they might end up compromising on quality or durability by opting for an older piece, but this actually couldn’t be further from the truth. The craftsmanship of much 20th century design is unbeatable and the fact that these pieces are still going strong and haven’t buckled after decades of use is testament to the skill with which they have been made. 21st century design is sadly full of MDF boards, plywood and veneered surfaces. Skilled contemporary artisans aside, the high street has definitely back peddled somewhat when it comes to providing long lasting and high quality furniture. Do your home a favour and choose pieces made from solid wood, whether it’s a table, chest of drawers or sofa frame. Solid wooden furniture does exist with contemporary brands but it will surely cost an arm and a leg. Sofas and armchairs can easily be reupholstered by professionals in new fabric and this can be great fun too – just pick what you love the most! Pretty quickly, you’ll see how your home will take on a shape and feel of its own. Secondhand doesn’t mean cheap, it means that you own a quality piece of furniture which has been designed to last for generations. 20th century or antique design is also an investment which means that – should you want to do a design overhaul a few years later – you can sell on the furniture and maybe even make a profit!
So how to get started? Below are some easy pointers for creating a unique and characterful home, bursting with brilliant finds.
- Look at price versus quality
We think it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer choice of vintage designs out there and the process can abound in uncertainty when it comes to judging the quality and durability of a piece. The additional good news is that finding vintage design doesn’t have to break the bank. Sourcing vintage furniture is often much more cost effective than going for a current-day piece. It’s true that finding a really iconic vintage design can get pricey but it really depends on the piece. Unless you’re convinced that you desperately want that original designer chair, it’s easy to find a cheaper – and equally well built – vintage alternative. A famous name doesn’t necessarily equate to the item being made out of better materials. Of course it will do sometimes, but this is why it’s worth checking with the dealer who should be able to tell you about the make up of the design.
The key difference when comparing mid-century furniture to modern equivalents is the idea of flat pack. Pieces made in the mid-century period were fully assembled in a factory by craftsmen who were responsible for the quality of the finished product. This product would then be inspected for defects and not allowed to leave the factory unless it passed inspection.
These bookcases are a great example of price and quality comparison. On the left is a solid oak bookcase designed by celebrated Danish designer Børge Mogensen, which costs £1,316. Whilst this is undeniably a fabulous piece, the bookcase to the right is also made from solid rosewood and yet costs less than half of the price at £575. It isn’t by a famous designer, but it’s well made and as long as you like the style, that’s probably all you need for now! If you have any queries, just check with the dealer. On Vinterior, you can do this easily by using the button which reads ‘Ask Seller a Question’ on the product listing page.
2. Start with just one piece
We know – this can be difficult. Inspired by the blank canvas of a new home or a room which you’re longing to transform, it can be tempting to try and source everything in one go. There is real wisdom however in the age old advice which says that it’s best to find one piece and let the room grow organically from there. It’s tricky to see how items will go together when in situ and in time you’ll look back at your beautiful home and probably be glad that you gave it the chance to come together bit by bit. On a practical note, there’s nothing worse than ending up with a ton of furniture which doesn’t really fit together and either having to just live with it or try and sell it on again. Less risk and more scope for creativity is a good combination!
This is also a good tip for anyone who is feeling a bit paralysed by the idea of creating a look and doesn’t know where to begin. Don’t worry about the rest for now, just find one piece that you love and start there. There’s no rush and you might find you begin to really enjoy the process of finding pieces one by one. If the room feels a bit bare, get a plant or two until it’s full of wonderful furniture finds. The learning curve will also help you gain in confidence when it comes to sourcing your next piece of vintage furniture!
3. Focus on finding a key piece of furniture
It’s a good idea to start off with one important piece which will set the tone of the rest of the room. This could be a sideboard or a sofa, a wardrobe or even just a coffee table. No pressure though – just because you opt for a 1950s sofa or a mid century modern sideboard doesn’t mean that the remaining furniture must follow suit! Note how the some of the most inspiring spaces are intentionally unbalanced. For advice on mixing and matching different styles, read this blog. Through trial and error you’ll stumble into an stylish array of furniture which you love.
4. Alternatively, start with something small
You don’t necessarily need to start with a really important piece of furniture. Perhaps you want to warm up to a particular style or don’t know yet which look you’re after. The best way to ignite the design process could be to unearth a smaller piece… this might be as simple as an antique plant pot or a beautiful teak mid century mirror. The obvious advantage of starting with accessories is that you can begin to eclectically mix and match style genres to see what works without too high a commitment. We definitely advise putting different design references, or styles, together to avoid anything too matchy-matchy. Get started and browse through vintage home accessories here.
5. Use filters to find exactly what you need
The Vinterior collection of vintage and antique furniture is vast. The number currently stands at 100,000 individual pieces and more are being added everyday by professional vintage dealers from across the UK and Europe. Where to begin?! Vinterior provides filters (example screenshots below) to help you narrow down the search… currently you can browse vintage finds based on price, dimensions, style genre, product type and condition. You might argue that you don’t know yet exactly how you want to narrow the search but even selecting a random category, .e.g. Art Deco between the prices of £50-£500, will highlight some interesting choices for you to peruse. Whatever your budget or taste, there should be a vintage find to kickstart the home you envision.
Keen to start browsing vintage furniture and accessories? We can’t blame you. Start right here and find something remarkable today.
Title image: decoist.com