I wish I could take everyone with me when I’m picking vintage items for the shop, but this blog is the next best thing—promise! In my years of shopping for vintage, I’ve come up with my own process to help me stay focused and not get overwhelmed by shops or booths that are packed full of things. In the spirit of sharing, I’m giving you all the deets today about my process and what I look for when I’m on the hunt for that perfect vintage piece.
Here are my top 5 tips for vintage picking:
1. Go Often
This is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s easy to get discouraged by a fruitless trip to your favorite vintage shops. Going often means you can quickly walk through, searching only for new items since your last visit. It also helps you to build relationships with shop-owners and employees as you share items you’re hoping to find. I’ve even had shops offer to hold items for me that they know I’ve been seeking out!
Shop - Found Primitive Metal Bowl
2. Take Your Time
Without totally contradicting myself in the point above, it’s also necessary to spend some time searching out new thrift stores, antique stores, and exploring shops in surrounding towns. It’s best to walk through slowly, letting your eye scan the items, without feeling rushed.
Shop - Marble + Brass Candlesticks
3. Think Outside of the Box
Look for unconventional ways to use items that catch your eye (Vintage ice buckets as planters, large brass animals as bookends)
Shop - Pottery Minis
4. Edit, Edit, Edit
Practice visual editing. Don’t let overflowing shelves/tables overwhelm you. Instead, try to slow your eye down to take in each individual item, editing out the rest of the items so you can see it stand on its own.
Shop - Antique Pedestal
5. Make Lists to Guide You
Make a mental list of the items you’re looking for to give your search direction, but don’t get bogged down in finding the exact item that you’ve drawn inspiration from. Let the list guide you, but be open to finding inspiration from the items in front of you as well. Some of my most favorite items are the ones I wasn’t searching for, but fell in love with.
When searching for items for the shop, I tend to look for items that fit into the following categories: brass, wicker, pottery, artwork, wood bowls. This helps me stay focused and ensures my items will work well together with each other on shelves (in the shop and in your homes!)
Funnily enough, sourcing vintage is a lot like looking for new pieces, except the likelihood of finding something unique increases, while the probability that you’ll find something unique that you actually like can prove more difficult. In many ways, vintage shopping is a gamble and a stroke of luck. Persistence, being intentional and knowing what to look for can help you sift through the no-go’s and find the gems.
Want more vintage in your home? Shop our latest collection of vintage finds here.