Old, interesting things are my love language. It’s those very items that I believe give our home a cozy and classic feel. I’ve finally found my sweet spot when it comes to hunting antiques and I want to share some tips for shopping antique stores with you!
One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday is cruising the aisles of antique store. Old, interesting things are my love language. It’s those very items that I believe give our home a cozy and classic feel. I thought I’d share on the topic of shopping at antique stores a bit today because it’s something that I truly enjoy. I’m not an expert by any means. I’m just an enthusiast. I feel like I’ve learned a lot over the years. I felt as though I was navigating in the dark for quite awhile and I’ve made plenty of not so great purchases. It was all apart of the learning process, I suppose. I feel like I’ve finally found my sweet spot when it comes to hunting antiques and I want to share some of my tips with you!
1. Check Shops Regularly
I know I’ve said this before but it still rings true. Just like thrift stores or yard sale pages, you have to check antique shops on a regular basis. You can go one weekend of the year and expect to come out with a cart full. Sure, it’s possible to find a number of things in one trip but I’ve found that you typically find things over time, a trip here, a trip there. I personally like to go seasonally. I also make a fun trip out of it. I have four stores that I like to shop regularly and they’re all within 20 minutes of each other. I love that they all have something different. I may find three things at one store and get to the second store and find nothing. You never know what you’re going to find!
2. Ask Yourself, “Do I love it? Do I have a place for it?”
This is a tip I have to remind myself of every time I go into antique store or market. I can easily get carried away. If you’re a lover of old things like me, you’ll find many things you like or think are cool during your shopping trip. If I bought everything I liked I would be broke. In order to stay on budget I only purchase an item is I absolutely love it. Sometimes this means putting the items in my cart and strolling the store a bit before I know for sure. I always make a point to evaluate my cart before I check out. It’s easy to be swept up in the moment. Some times I immediately know I love an item but there’s just no place for it in our home. This happens from time to time and it’s always a little sad to say goodbye but if I’m not willing to part with something I already have to make a place for it, then I know it’s not meant to be.
3. Really Search Through A Booth
It can be overwhelming at times to shop antique stores and markets, but make sure to take your time and really search out a booth. There’s been many times when I’ve quickly glanced over a booth and started to pass it by thinking there was nothing that there that I wanted. When I start to do this I remind myself to slow down and take another look. Some times that’s when you find something really great! The hunting pictures above are hanging in Josh’s office. There are two more on the other side of the door way as well. I found them tucked in a back corner of a booth a while back. I almost passed right by them. They were just what I was looking for and at a price far less than I expected. I recently found several yards of classic blue and white check upholstery fabric tucked behind a shelf. I actually passed it the first time but decided to look at another item in the booth a second time. That’s when I found it and at $4 no less. I plan to make some cute pillow covers with it this spring. Take your time and look, friends!
4. Don’t skip over the pieces that need a little love.
From time to time, lets face it, a lot of the time you’ll find pieces that need some work. It can be easy to pass them by but if it’s something that you really like the shape or style of give it a second look. Two of my favorite finds in our home are our matching nightstands in our master bedroom. When I found them at one of my favorite antique stores the finish and hardware was very outdated. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to take them on or not. I left without them but I was back the very next morning to get them because while the finish wasn’t right, I loved the shape and style of them. With a little time and paint they became two timeless pieces. You can see their before here as well as how I refinished them.
5. Be cautious with trends
Once upon a time (three years ago) I hadn’t quite found my style. I liked a little bit of everything but I really thought I was all in for the “farmhouse style”. What I later found was that it wasn’t exactly the farmhouse style that I liked, it was the mix of old and new. I’ve always loved antiques and just because I have a love for old things didn’t mean the farmhouse style was my style. I know today that my style is a mix of traditional, elegant country, New England and bits of European touches. All of these styles include antiques and decor that has a story and meaning. There are so many things that become trendy and it can be easy to look for those items while antique shopping but what makes shopping for antiques so much fun is that it’s an opportunity to have something unique and interesting to you. If farmhouse is truly your style go for it but if it’s not then make sure to search out those items that speak to you. It doesn’t matter if they’re trendy or not.
6. Shop the Monthly Markets & Parking Lot Sales
Most states have monthly outdoor/indoor antique markets. People from all over the country set up a booth and sell their treasures. I’ve found a few of my favorite things at these outdoor markets. We have two that are somewhat close to us, Scott’s Antique Market and Lakewood 400. I only go about twice a year but it’s always fun when I do. Plan to make it a day trip, there’s always so much to see. Some antique stores host seasonal parking lot sales seasonally. Two of my favorite stores have a certain Saturdays where people set up tables in the parking lot. I love going to these because it’s typically different people selling than those who have booths inside the store and the prices tend to be less. You’ll always find something cool!
I hope these tips help and encourage you when you plan your next shopping trip! Mix the new with the old and create a room that tells a story. There’s not many things that bring more charm into a space than a vintage or antique find. Happy shopping, friends! If you have any tips or things you’ve found to be successful when shopping antique stores feel free to share. I’d love hear!