This year, antique and traditional furnishings are forecasted to be especially trendy. Today on the blog, we’re talking antiques, where to find them, and things to keep in mind when shopping for one-of-a-kind treasures.

antique furniture chair
Photo by Tim Mossholder

According to an article on furniture trends, published by Architectural Digest at the close of 2019, Sotheby’s Home has seen a 35 percent increase in vintage and antique sales in the last year. Tamara Rosenthal, Sotheby’s VP of Marketing, suggests that this could be due to an increased emphasis on the environmenta theme that has already set the tone for design in 2020.

“People are becoming increasingly mindful of how their shopping habits and daily lives are impacting the environment,” says Rosenthal, via Architectural Digest. “Because of that they are finding ways to curb this impact and be more eco-friendly.”

Buying antique home decor is considered environmentally friendly for a few reasons. When you buy something antique, you might be saving it from a more wasteful fate of ending up in a landfill. Furniture that’s been around longer will also release less toxic fumes into your air, via the finishings and glue. Also, when you consider the water, fuel, and other valuable resources that go into manufacturing new furnishings, pre-owned furnishings are the clear lesser of evils. 

Photo by Gerhard Bögner

Antique vs. Vintage

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what exactly qualifies as an antique, you’re not alone. Besides where you tend to find them (auction houses, antique stores, and flea markets), antiques are distinguished by their age. Generally, for an item to be considered an antique, it has to be at least 100 years old. Anything that’s 30 to 100 years old is considered vintage.

How to Shop for Antiques

If you’re in the market for an antique piece or two, here are a few things to keep in mind. Antiques tend to have distinguishable craftsmanship. Pieces with drawers should have something called “dovetails” on the side of the drawer and “kerf marks” on the inside of the drawer front. These are both indicators that the piece was made by a quality craftsman.

French Provincial Three-Drawer Commode via Sotheby’s Home

Another way to confirm an antique’s quality is via signatures, labels, or stamps. These should tell you things like where the piece was produced and who made it. Check the back, bottom, or drawers for such markings. Be wary of stamps that appear to be factory-made.

Victorian Apothecary Cabinet via Sotheby’s Home

Finally, even if you’re certain of an antique’s authenticity, always inspect the item for damage prior to purchasing. The best way to do this is by first checking the parts of the furniture that tend to endure the most wear, such as upholstered areas, chair splats, and hardware on cabinetry.

Empire Style Swan Dining Chairs via Sotheby’s Home

Explore Products by Color with Vishion

With the Vishion app, users can use products from Sotheby’s Home to inspire a color palette. From there, you can add complementary paint colors other home accents to a Vishion Board. To learn about curating designs in trending palettes, follow Vishion on Instagram or Facebook.

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