February 22, 2024

Tips for Antique Shopping Online

An antique chest in a newly constructed home adds character.

Last weekend I posted some pictures of a great antique secretary I found on Facebook Marketplace – one of the last remaining truly affordable places to find antiques. We source antiques for all our projects… sometimes in person, but mostly online – our most used sites being 1stDibs, Chairish, Etsy and occasionally eBay. The key to finding great stuff on any website, is knowing what search terms will provide you the types of pieces you are looking for. Here are some tips:

  • Research the names of the styles of furniture you like – I tend to search terms like “Federalist”, “French Empire”, “Biedermeier”, “Gustavian”, “Louis XV” and even broader terms like “French Country” or “English Antique”
  • Make sure you include “antique” or “vintage” to your search terms and read the product descriptions carefully – there are a lot of replica and faux antique items mixed in.
  • When able, pay attention to where the search is looking geographically – you can usually click “United States” or whatever country you are in to avoid seeing amazing things from overseas that will cost a zillion dollars to ship and having to deal with customs. We have had some real headache experiences with shipping from various places in Europe, but then again, some easy ones shipping from Turkey (especially rugs!).
  • With Facebook Marketplace, what you click on and search determines what comes up in your feed. You can train your feed by repeatedly searching specific terms or styles. Although a lot of people may not call items by their correct name or term (once found a gorgeous antique chest that was listed as “nice old furniture”)… so it’s a little more of a dig to find good stuff, but you can find some serious steals. Be sure to ask lots of questions and ask for more pictures if something doesn’t have enough info – and don’t be scared away by bad listing photos!
  • Measure, measure, measure. :)
  • Don’t be afraid to bargain – make a lowball offer – you NEVER know!
  • Shipping is a doozy, and can cost a lot – I used uShip to go pick up my secretary and it was great, but not cheap. Just be sure to factor that into your budget.

Here are some fantastic finds from around the web of antique pieces I found:

ExploreEnjoy More