Tips for Antiquing

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One of my favorite things to do with my family is to go thrift stores and antiquing. It’s a tradition we do every time we visit my Aunt and Grandparents in South Carolina. I’ve grown up antiquing because my Dad collects old wood planes and appreciates well made furniture. And my Mom, well she’s the best bargain hunter I’ve ever met.

I started collecting vintage jewelry during these antiquing trips but more recently since owning a home have started hunting for unique decor accents. My favorite finds to date? A pair of gold Chanel clip on earrings I scooped off a table in Chestnut Hill, a set off brass pineapple tumblers that I now see all over the internet but I scored for $10 at a Aiken thrift store so crowded with treasures (and some trash) that you could barely move and finally at Chadds Ford antique mall I discovered a glass paperweight already with my PM monogram. If that wasn’t meant to be I don’t know what is!

I’m no Antique Roadshow winner but I’d say I have some experience in finding hidden treasures like these so I thought I’d share some of my tips:

  1. Go in with a plan. Antique stores are typically not organized in particular order, making it hard to focus and not feel overwhelmed. By having a plan of what you hope to find you can keep your eyes peeled and not get distracted. For example: recently I went looking for a bowl to hold my fruit, with the specifics of being blue and white in color
  2. Go with a friend. Most of the time I prefer shopping alone but if you go antiquing with friends or family you have the double the eyes to search through merchandise.
  3. Don’t be afraid to bargain. Leverage buying two or pieces if interested in getting a discount. Most of the times sellers are open to this and willing to meet somewhere in the middle.
  4. Don’t be afraid of a little DIY. Keep in mind paint, fabric and new drawer pulls can really make a difference when looking at furniture. My dining room set is second hand. It was a classic piece but just needed new fabric on the cushions for an update.
  5. If you like a piece carry it around, you can always put it back but if you don’t carry it around someone else might snatch it up.
  6. The most important piece of advice is look for pieces with personality that speak to you and make you happy. Maybe not everyone would like a glass dish that says Betty hanging on their gallery with a goofy abstract person, but if it makes your happy it will give your home character and be a great conversation starter.

Where do you go antiquing? Any tips of your own? Share yours in the comments below.

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