Vintage finds for unique home design

  • 12th Aug 20
Vintage finds for unique home design

If there is one thing that this pandemic has taught us it's that we don’t need to be continually buying new all of the time. In fact, vintage and pre-loved furniture and accessories are exactly what we need to curate an interesting home full of unique finds.

Online pre-loved or vintage stores
If you don’t have the time or inclination to scour the country finding antique treasures, then simply choose the pieces that you love from the comfort of your own home. Online sites for pre-loved and antique pieces are booming and there is a huge choice of platforms offering everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Etsy ( – not just for personalised gifts, Etsy has a vintage furniture category where you can browse room by room for various options.

eBay ( – to narrow your search on this huge auction site, use keywords such as vintage, antique or search by decade to view a range of pieces.

The Sale Room ( – this online platform is for physical auctions taking place around the UK. Set alerts for anything that you are looking for to get notifications for when matching items come up for sale.

Vinterior ( – this online platform partners with vintage shops and dealers around the UK to put their stock online. The carefully curated furniture and accessories offer a huge range of prices and styles.

Decorative Collective ( – a site bringing together antiques and vintage dealers from around the UK. Subdivided by period and style for easy viewing.

Retrouvius ( – driven by the belief that good materials and well-made things are precious, this is both a warehouse for salvage and an interior design studio focussed on re-using and recycling materials.


Tips for sourcing vintage pieces
Vintage items add a level of depth to the design process and creates a truly unique look and feel. However, if you are new to this sort of shopping, it pays to do some research beforehand.

Know what you are buying – if you are thinking of splashing the cash on a rare item, be aware of market pricing and realistic about too-good-to-be-true deals.

Real or fake – ask dealers about where pieces originated from and understand where makers marks, tags, labels or signatures should exist.

Examine the condition – check for structural integrity and where there could possibly be damage such as the legs and feet on tables or chest of drawers. 

Cost for repairs – don’t dismiss an item if it is a little worn but do evaluate the cost of refurbishing.

Buy what you love – trends come and go so trust your gut and buy what makes you happy whether it is in vogue or not.

Get inspired – look at curated shops for inspiration from the professionals.

Think about negotiating – if it’s out of your price range, don’t be shy to haggle a little.

Shipping charges – that beautiful Parisian chair might not be such a bargain when you add on the shipping costs.

Know the returns policy – not always as a clear cut as buying new so read up before you buy.

Move fast – if you are in an online auction, it is sometimes fastest finger on the trigger.

Establish a relationship – if you love the vintage feel, build working relationships with sellers on sites such as Esty who can give you the heads up about new stock coming in.


Buying for a good cause
Over lockdown, charity shops have suffered a huge loss of income through shop closures. Even if they are currently not open on the high street, you can still buy items online. There’s a huge choice of homewares, ceramics and textiles and furthermore, the money you spend will help them to continue their crucial work to fight poverty and injustice in the world. Check out Oxfam (, British Red Cross (, Sue Ryder (, Sense (, Age UK ( and Marie Curie ( 

 Car boots and fairs
Some car boot sales are starting to open. Although they seem fairly low tech, car boot sales have also jumped on the online bandwagon with the Car Boot Junction (, the UK’s car boot sales directory. To find out about car boot sales in your local area, just visit the website to find out what is on and lots of useful information such as opening times, entry fee, whether toilets are available, disabled access and if refreshments are available. For vintage fair shopping, check out Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair (, the country’s largest travelling vintage market. You will find everything from homewares to collectibles and cocktail dresses, all under one roof.

A trip down memory lane
One of the most fun parts of retro shopping is the memories that it invokes. Retro homeware falls into two categories, cool and sophisticated or completely naff. Ultimately, buy what makes you smile. We couldn’t resist including a few of these classics, how many of these do you remember?

  • Hamburger phone
  • Windchimes
  • Curtain tassels and tiebacks
  • Boom boxes
  • Glass paperweights
  • Brass fireplace sets
  • Shell-shaped Pyrex dishes
  • Soup recipe mugs
  • Beaded curtains
  • Toilet seat covers
  • Ashtray stands
  • Radio alarm clocks
  • Lava lamps
  • Babycham glasses




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