The word antique comes from Latin. It means old or ancient. An item must be at least 100 years old for antique dealers to call it an antique. According to Wikipedia, what makes an antique "desirable" is its "age, beauty, rarity, condition, utility, personal emotional connection," or uniqueness -- be it the design, craftsmanship, or its reflection of a bygone era.
So now that you know what antiques are ... how and where do you go to find them?
Before getting started, think about the type of things you like. Is it old clocks, or telephones? Do you like oil paintings, or old movie memorabilia? Are you an Anglophile, or American Civil War buff? You want to surround yourself with art, furniture and accent pieces that you love. Your home decor should make you happy and express who you are. Moreover, unless you're a collector, it is likely your only goal is to find quality pieces for your home (not so much resale value).
Once you decide you likes, look everywhere ... starting with your neighbors:
1) Yard sales - One person's junk is another person's treasure and usually at bargain prices. You never know what's been hiding for years in someone else's attic: furniture, art, rugs, china; or odds and ends, and they usually sell for just a few dollars.
2) Estate sales - Often families need to downsize, or simply can't keep everything they inherit from deceased loved ones, no matter how pristine and like-new the home goods are. Check local newspaper listings for estate sales. One of my neighbors has a pricey bedroom set and chef quality pots and pans bought at estate sales.
3) Craig's List - A colleague of mine loves antique furniture. She found a trunk and armoire for hundreds of dollars less by searching Craig's List. When you see high-end stuff at affordable prices pounce!
4) Likewise Ebay, Amazon, Etsy and iOffer are great online sources which link buyers to sellers. Most of these websites have customer reviews of the sellers and merchandise. Read what other customers have to say before buying.
5) Browse second hand stores and consignment shops - for inventory in good condition at the right price. A majority of second hand stores and consignment shops have high standards for what they accept to resale.
6) Home Goods and sister company, TJ Maxx - are not retailers where you will find true antiques, however each has expert buyers and you will be thrilled by the wide selection of home decor available. Major department stores like Macy's and Kohls also have a ton of stuff that look like antiques (in addition to unbeatable sales).
Finally, don't be afraid to mix high-end with low-end furniture. Your home will be uniquely yours. Buying mass produced decor from the likes of Pottery Barn and Walmart has never bothered me. Set your standard to nice. Nice things can be found in the most surprising places.
And now I'm turning you over to the experts: Invaluable.com put together a fun roundup of the Top U.S. Towns for Summer Antiquing, an informative, must-read for home decorating and inspiration!
Update: January 2017 - 8 Stops for Your Next Antiquing Road Trip
|This is my Pottery Barn area rug. Hand-tufted 100% wool, I love it!|
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