Antique shopping is one of my favorite pastimes. Our home is full of vintage and antique pieces. Here’s what I hunt for when I go antique shopping.
What do you look for when you going antiquing and thrift shopping? This is a question I get quite a bit. There are a number of different things that I’m always keeping an eye out for. I certainly have my favorite antiques and those items that I like to collect more than others. Over the last week I decided to put a list together for you. Today I’m going to share a few of the things I look for and what I usually pay for them.
Timeless Home Decorating Books & Magazines
I find home decorating books and magazines from time to time at antique antique stores and thrift stores. Vintage Martha Stewart Living and Country Living magazines are among my favorites. I’ve also found most of my home decorating books at thrift stores. Not all older books and magazines are equal. Many date and hold little relevance for today, but there are few that remain timeless. I always seem to find inspiration for recipes, the holidays and every day declaring in these magazines and books. I typically pay anywhere from .75 to $1.50 for a magazine and $1.00 to $5.00 for a book.
Ironstone & China
What’s not to love when it comes to Ironstone and antique china? I not only use it in everyday serving but as decor as well. Most of my ironstone is used when we have holiday gatherings and large dinners. The pieces that are older or not in great condition get used as decor pieces.
Prices of Ironstone range from $4 to hundreds. I personally do not like to spend more than $25 on a larger piece. On average I pay around $4 or $5 for an ironstone plate and around $2.50 to $5.00 for a blue and white china piece. For larger pieces, such as platters and pitchers, I typically pay $8 to $25. As much as I love antique ironstone, I stay within my budget and I’ve lucked out a few times with larger pieces and found them at thrift stores and yard sales for much less.
Copper & Vintage Baking Pans
For as long as I can remember I have loved vintage copper cookware. It goes back to my childhood, watching Martha Stewart’s daytime show. Her kitchen at Turkey Hill was full of copper. Over the years I’ve collected quite a bit. I’ve had to let some pieces go due to a lack of space and I’ve grown to be much pickier in the shopping process.
Depending on the age of the cook/bakeware, I’ll use it to cook with, display as decor in our kitchen or even use it as decor at Christmas time.
This might be an obvious one but most of the furniture in our home is from antique stores, thrift stores and yard sales. I have no issue purchasing older furniture, in fact, I prefer it. It’s not secret that furniture was well made back in the day. A lot of furniture that is available in stores today is not. I love the character and antique or vintage furniture pieces bring to a space. It combines the old with the new and gives your space a unique look. After all, who wants their home to look like their neighbors? I don’t!
I particularly have a thing for antique dressers and accent tables. I’m always drawn to them. English pine gets me every time! I have yet to share the English pine armoire that I scored on the Facebook yard sale site. I’ll do that very soon! Lately I’ve had to pass up several finds due to a lack of space. When it comes to price, I have paid $5 for a vintage accent able and I’ve paid over $300 for an antique dresser. It really depends on the piece for me. Most of the pieces I have range from $25 to $200. The small foyer table in the photo below was purchased from a farmers market of all place for $50 and the barrel accent table in the next photo was only $20 at a yard sale. My advise would be to ask yourself, how much do you love it and can you afford it? You know your style and budget better than anyone. If a piece speaks to you, go for it!
Aside from family photos, antique paintings and prints are some of my favorite things to hang on my walls. Antique and vintage art can cost an arm and a leg but it doesn’t have to. I’ve found a number of deals over the years, including an original oil painting for $20 at an outdoor antique market. I’m a bit picky when it comes to the art in my home. I love oil landscape paintings and I’m also an admirer of English prints and sea side paintings.
For vintage and antique art I typically pay $12 to $50. I would consider that price range on the low end. Fine art can run into the thousands. My taste isn’t quite that expensive. The antique oil painting in the photo below came with it’s original wooden frame and was only $15 at the Cobb Antique Market. It has a couple of imperfections, but for that price I didn’t care. I loved the colors and scenery.
Below is the $20 oil painting that I mentioned earlier that I found at an outdoor antique market. I’ve had it for a few years now and it hasn’t left our living room since! The warm colors make me think of autumn, my favorite season. There’s a warmth and coziness about it.
This one is a no brainer! I have a problem with baskets. You should see Josh’s face when I walk in the house with a new one. The poor man just expects them. I love that not one basket is the same. I also love that you can typically find baskets pretty easily at thrift stores and antique stores. I’ve found that they tend to be much less expensive than new baskets. While I love picking up baskets from TJ Maxx or Homegoods for organization purposes, my favorites baskets will always be vintage baskets. They have so such character and usually a great patina. We use them throughout our home for storage as well as decor.
The price tag for baskets can be all over the place. You’ll pay a pretty penny for more primitive baskets, such as gathering baskets and less for say, picnic baskets. I like to keep my budget around $6-25 a basket. Most of the time $12 to $15 is the average. I have splurged in the past and spent $90 on a French market basket. That is extremely unusual, however, that is the going rate for that particular basket. Whether your budget is small or large, you’re sure to find vintage baskets within your budget with just a little hunting.
These are just a few of my favorite things that I hunt for. There are a number of smaller items that I’ve had great luck finding, such as, brass objects, holiday decor and lamps. This list just highlights my favorites.
Do you like to shop antique and thrift stores? If so, what do you like to hunt for? There are so many fun things to look at and find at an antique store! If you have a favorite find, share below. I’d love to see what you’ve all found. Happy hunting, friends!
Great post! Yes I love shopping thrift stores but antique shops always seem to be a bit overpriced. My favorite source for treasure hunting is estate sales. My first ES purchase was a large ironstone pitcher which I still have and use as a vase. I have a weakness for cute side tables and paintings as well and I have always admired your wall art. These days my passion is chinoiserie and I’ve had pretty good luck scoring some nice pieces. Another thing I look for is office supplies! You can get paper, envelopes, basic necessities for pennies!
Thanks, Jill! Estate sales are the best! We haven’t had too many in my area, maybe due to Covid but I can’t wait because it’s been too long. The prices seem to vary a bit in antiques stores from state to state, or at least that’s been the case in my area. Not too long ago I visited some in MA and ME and was a bit shocked at prices. Needless to say, I didn’t purchase anything. I also love chinoiserie. It’s so timeless!
What I great list. I’m always on the hunt for paintings and furniture too. Those oil paintings were a steal and I have yet to get that lucky! I’m adding magazines to my list now. I never thought to look for them there.
What a great list. I’m always on the hunt for paintings and furniture too. Those oil paintings were a steal and I have yet to get that lucky! I’m adding magazines to my list now. I never thought to look for them there.
Thanks, Tracy! They were such a steal! I couldn’t believe it. You almost feel like your stealing something, ha!
Debra Hubbs says
Enjoyed this post. I also love old ironstone. I actually have a set of excellent condition cake plates that match the bowls you show in your picture. Coffee cups and plates too. If interested, email and I’ll send you a pic lol. You have a great collection of baskets. I love your style.
Oh I’m so glad, Debra! I would love to see them! That is just too cool. I can never get enough ironstone. My husband tells me all the time that I have a basket problem. They’re just so handy!
Dianne Stephens says
I seach for rare pieces of depression glass and milk glass.items that remind me of childhood.Love old dishes.,books,vi tage and antique toys…oh..just love it all.
Oh, I love all of those things too Dianne! I’ve always found old antique toys to be so sweet!
I love yard sales and especially estate sales. You can find some great items for decorating your home at reasonable prices. I miss going out and finding unique items. I am ready for the pandemic to be over❤️❤️❤️
Yes and yes! The estate sales and yard sales have been pretty scarce around here lately, sadly. I can’t wait for things to get back to normal. I miss estate sales so much!
Rhonda Steelman says
I think I’ve found a new home here! I too shop for most of these items in same price range. While I decorate my home, I sell online or rotate to antique booth.
Welcome, Rhonda! That’s so smart! I also rotate through things a bit, mostly selling on the FB yard sale page. I’ve considered opening a booth but was always afraid I would have a hard time keeping it up. Have you had good luck with it?
Susan Gorges says
The green and white wing back chair is exactly like the one we have in our bedroom. It was my father-in-laws chair and I had it redone years ago. Shocking to find an exact one. I have an ottoman to go with it.
you have a wonderful blog and I will sign up to stay reconnected. Stay safe and be happy.
That is too funny! What are the chances? The lady I purchased it from said it was her mother’s chair and she also had it recovered a number of years ago. I’d love a matching ottoman. I bet it’s so pretty together! I’m so glad you found my blog. It’s great to have you! Have great rest of your week. 🙂
Linda Johnston says
Loved reading your tips ad experiences. I hadn’t been antiquing or thrifting in years and years! My college daughter with a friend this summer went to York where there are several large consignment antique and vintage stores for the day. She loved it. Later that week she took me. Fancy that. She got me interested after all these years! Planning a return visit when it isn’t so dang hot!
I just love your kitchen copper decor. I was wondering if you would mind sharing your cabinet paint color? I’m getting ready to paint mine and I am always looking at cabinets for ideas. Thank you!
Thank you so much, Dana! They’re currently painted Swiss Coffee, but I believe in this post they were Fieldstone by Benjamin Moore. Fieldstone, is a lighter, grayish blue-green.
Love your post!!!! So much of the most special things I have found are from thrift stores. I don’t want a mass produced, trendy, or “just like the neighbors” look. I looked for things like handmade pottery, bought plants, painted my own landscapes and animals, looked for antiques or vintage things, and tried to avoid trendy stuff. You can find so many quality items at thrift stores. I like using some of the items my Memaw had as well, which are vintage, handmade, or antique. It reminds me of her and even the items that were not specifically hers but that are the same type thing she had, it makes me so happy to remember her with them when I miss her so much all these years later.
I have been getting away from fake plants and fake florals this year. The real ones and dried eucalyptus have been a wonderful addition, and the color green has been “the house finding its signature color!”. Well, green and white are the signature colors. I do have fake florals, but many more real plants rather than fakes. Green looks right all year long here!