Buying Antique – PROS And CONS

buying antiques pros and cons

Buying antique and vintage items for me began as a way to decorate my house on a budget. However, over time, I have developed a real love for all things antique. So much so that when I go to normal retail stores, much of the decor and furniture just doesn’t resonate with me anymore. I’ve even opened up my own antique shop inside a local store.

Don’t get me wrong, I still shop normal retail for many things but it’s the charm and quality of those older pieces that have me addicted to buying antiques.

Buying Antique Furniture

antique hutch

I prefer buying antique furniture over new not only because it’s beautiful but also because it is truly made better. It can add character to a room all on its own. Rather than fill a room with antiques, I like to add one or two pieces so it doesn’t end up looking like an antique store.

Another pro for buying antiques is that you can often find them for less money than something new. This is how I got started buying antiques.

One con to buying antique is moving this furniture is not easy. Because it’s made so well, pieces are usually quite heavy. Also, be sure to check the piece for any signs of damage before buying. Make sure it’s level and hasn’t deteriorated. Check the bottom if possible too.

Lastly, very old furniture will often have a musty smell. That can easily be fixed with this method for cleaning antique wood furniture. Depending on how musty, you may have to repeat the process a few times.

Antique Mirrors

vintage wood framed mirror

I buy so many antique mirrors my husband jokes that our house is going to look like the Matrix. I have had issues with buying mirrors only to discover once home that the mirror panes are loose. Check them well before buying. I had to take one to a glass repair shop because the panes actually fell out (mirror shown below).

three pane mirror vintage

The panes on very old mirrors like this one are usually much heavier than the glass used these days for mirrors. That is something else to keep in mind for hanging. When I took my broken mirror to be repaired, they replaced the mirror glass with lightweight glass which made it lighter and safer for me to hang.

Best ANtiques To Buy

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so I’d say the best antiques to buy are the ones you really love. The hutch shown earlier was one that I had spotted in an antique shop and couldn’t stop thinking about for weeks. I had to go back for it.

If you are familiar with antique values, I wouldn’t pass up a great deal either. If you can’t use it you can always resell it for a profit.

Buying ANtique Baskets

vintage baskets

Much like antique mirrors, I have a hard time passing up vintage baskets. Though these are usually inexpensive you still want to be sure you’re getting something in decent condition. Make sure the bottom is level and the wicker hasn’t unraveled. I’ve had one or two that I brought home only to find they sit slanted.

Antique Glassware


Some people might shy away from buying vintage dishes, not wanting to use something other people may have had their mouths on. I think of it as no different than going out to a restaurant where you’re using utensils that others have used. I just clean them very well in hot soapy water.

When buying glassware, be sure no chips are visible.

Antique Art

vintage home decor

Another favorite of mine is buying vintage art and frames. Very often with these, I will have to do some sort of repair to the frames and/or add new picture hangers. If this is something you don’t want to deal with, inspect them well. For me, it’s worth the extra effort for a beautiful old frame.

Buying Antique Lamps

vintage living room decorating ideas

I am a crazy lamp-buying lady. Every time I see a vintage brass lamp I cannot resist. I currently have 5 vintage brass lamps in my house. My favorite is this floor lamp shown above. I’ve had plenty of modern floor lamps and inevitably they never stand straight. This old vintage lamp is heavy and straight as an arrow. I love it.

When it comes to buying antique, you obviously, need to be extra careful with electrical purchases. I usually buy lamps at the flea market so I don’t even know if they’ll work when I get them home. My husband is very good with electrical and can rewire lamps so I have an advantage in this department. Fortunately, all 5 lamps I’ve bought second-hand so far work well.

Where To Buy Antique Items

There’s no shortage of where to buy vintage and antique items. Prices can vary so much it’s good to shop around locally and find out where the deals are. Here’s a list of places to shop for vintage.

Keep in mind that sometimes these places can be hit or miss so you have to love the hunt!

  • Flea Markets
  • Yard Sales
  • Estate Sales
  • Antique Shops
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • eBay
  • Etsy

One last note, if you drive to pick up something you want to buy through Facebook Marketplace, don’t be afraid to walk away if it isn’t what you expected. I’ve had that happen to me once or twice and regretted buying something that I didn’t really love once I saw it in person.

Where’s your favorite place to shop for antiques?



  1. Mari Lynn Markey says:

    Thanks much, Roxanne, for the helpful hints I’ll
    keep in mind while “antiquing” this weekend. You have such a good eye, wonderful taste & great ideas!

  2. I have a thing about antique lamps, too! There is just something about their patina, their history – what stories could they tell? We own an electrical contracting business, it’s a blessing to have someone in the know about these things.

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