1). Never disregard places like eBay
This may seem obvious, but I’m always surprised when someone has spent hundreds of pounds on a new piece of furniture that looks like an exact double of a vintage piece. Don’t get me wrong – you can get burnt shopping for vintage online. My eye for detail is a little blurry, and I have been known to accidentally buy dolls house furniture on occasion. But if you’re a bit more on the ball than myself, you can come away with some real bargains. My favourite three pieces in my flat are all from eBay, and not one cost over £100 (and the dolls house furniture looks divine next to them).
2). If you’re feeling unsure about your knowledge, don’t worry about it
Furniture has a great and varied history, and no one is expecting you to know everything. Besides, learning is half of the fun. I have a real love for programmes like Salvage Hunters with Drew Pritchard, which is an excellent way to train your eye and get a little foundational knowledge before beginning your shopping journey.
3). Invest in old magazines and design books
I have recently started buying back issues of World of Interiors, House & Garden and Architectural Digest. If you’re looking at a house that was featured 40 years ago and the style still appeals to you, that gives you an idea of which pieces are worth investing in. Also, it can help you see how trends will date, which brings me to my next point…
4). Please don’t feel pressured to buy into trends
I am a big fan of tat; in fact, I love it. But we all have to be realistic about how much of it we need in our lives when it comes to furniture. It’s not like buying a vintage top that can be sneakily slid between two others. It is going to take up space and make itself known. You want harmony in your household, not headaches. My method to help me see the wood from the trees is to continually document the things I love (whether by screen-shotting or taking pictures) and revisiting them in the coming weeks. If you still love something a few months on, go forth and purchase!
5). Be prepared to get up really early
International Antiques & Collectors Fairs take place countrywide, and they are a hive of activity. If you think you’ve woken up early to get there, someone will have certainly gotten up earlier and travelled further. Apart from anything, they are tremendous fun, but do remember to go with a list of what you actually need and bring a tape measure. The frustration of moving that perfect chest of drawers into your room and never closing the door again is just not worth the risk.
6). Follow antique dealers, even if they’re not your style or out of your price range
Their styling and wealth of knowledge are essential. I have fallen in love with many a piece that I don’t have a hope in hell of being able to buy, but that piece will set off an idea and give me a picture that I can keep in my mind until I find something that comes close. Case in point: a Frits Henningsen sofa that I was introduced to by Get The Gusto a long time ago; I could never have afforded it, but it did help me realise what I admire in a sofa.
From British Vogue