How To Find Vintage Furniture Online

Ordinarily, you would find me wandering Portobello and Golborne Road market on weekends. I love the thrill of arriving home with a new charity shop or market stall treasure. Something that promises to revive the corner of a room- juxtaposing old and new to create a sense of accomplishment, creativity, or rebellion.

In an effort to satisfy flea market cravings, I’ve curated a guide for finding second-hand furniture online – be it mid-century side tables or antique candlesticks. There’s never been a better time to support independent and sustainable antique dealers. In the words of Vanessa Friedman for The New York Times, “where you spend your money matters. Before you buy, think: What is this about? It could be about helping save a generation of small designers and independent businesses.” So, I’ve collected a few tips on how to find, style and care for vintage interiors. Hopefully, you’ll stumble across something old but new and perfect for your home.

Treasure Hunting Tips

Rag and Bone Wall Lamp

Mollie Riach, co-founder of Rag & Bone Bristol, is no stranger to seeking out vintage gems for the home. Her shop is a cabinet of curiosities, a beautifully curated mini-museum with dark magic hidden amongst the sideboards. Here are her top tips for finding pre-loved pieces for your interiors, and how to clean and care for them properly.

Finding something that’s right

If the piece has some kind of character that speaks to you, then make space for it. At Rag & Bone Bristol we are always drawn to items that are slightly out of the ordinary and they have to be authentic. We love worn crumbling paint on a piece of furniture or items that have been almost totally gobbled by a woodworm infestation. In total contrast, these items would sit next to sleek modernist design classics.

Mixing old and new

Don’t be afraid to just go for it and be playful with mixing together the old with the new. We really embrace it and love popping a bright neon candle in an 18th-century candelabra or using a wonderful old crumbly Gilt frame to rehome vintage Bollywood movie posters. Mix ages and styles – there is no set rule of thumb. Often I find my favourite part is bringing pieces back from a buying trip and seeing how they look even better sat next to a piece that is 100 years its senior.

Tasteful upcycling

Authenticity is key. If an item has old crumbling paint then that’s great but I never try to recreate it or hide it for that matter. We’ve turned an old haberdashery unit into our kitchen island and used a French wrought iron table as the base to our bathroom sink. I’ve treated the wood that the bathroom sink sits on for woodworm and to protect it from water but left its original finish totally intact.

Making it last

Simple white vinegar is brilliant, it is non-corrosive which is really important when cleaning antique glass or mirrors (and really cheap for that matter). The only downside is it always makes me crave fish and chips every time I use it!

 

My favourite marketplaces
(best if you know what you’re looking for or browsing within an era):

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