A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Antiques

A Beginner's Guide to Buying Antiques

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Adding some antiques to your home is a great way to give it a touch of personality and character, but if you have never bought any before, it can be extremely challenging to know where to start. As well as buying the pieces that you like, you also need to make sure that you are not paying over the odds for them. Well, this guide is here to get you off to a good start and help you to make your first tentative steps into the world of antiquing.

Visit Fairs and Galleries

If the only experience you have of antique events is watching them on TV, the first thing that you should do is visit some fairs and galleries without any intention of buying anything. This way, you will be able to see some products first-hand and speak to dealers. If you know someone who is passionate about antiques, you could go along with them and they can help to show you the ropes. Also, it is a good idea to build up relationships with the experts at the shows as they can help you find things that suit your taste and budget. Make sure that you ask plenty of questions to capitalise on their level of expertise.   

Start Simple

A Beginner's Guide to Buying Antiques box

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When you feel ready to buy your first piece, there is no need to throw yourself in at the deep end. Start with something simple like a side table or a vase and see how it looks in your home. If you aren’t happy, at least you haven’t invested huge sums of money. And all experience is good, and you will be more aware of any mistakes to avoid.

Choose Antiques that Work for Your Home

Look for the gaps in your rooms where you could put items of furniture without making it look too crowded. You could also look for pieces that provide a degree of practicality like a table lamp in a room that is currently dimly lit. If you are not sure how to position antiques well in your home, you could consult with an interior designer who is able to provide you with help. Even in a very modern room, a piece of antique furniture can really bring it to life.

Measure Furniture

A Beginner's Guide to Buying Antiques chair

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The last thing that you want is to buy a beautiful antique piece of furniture, only to find that it is too big for your home. You should make sure that you have done your measurements beforehand, and you should also go to shows armed with a pocket tape measure. It is also a good idea to bring along some pictures of your rooms so you can pinpoint exactly where the furniture will fit in.

Go Along to Auctions

Once you are a little more experienced in the world of antiques, you can start going along to auctions which is where you can pick up some real bargains. Sites like EstateSales.org list some of the events going on in different areas. You also have the option of buying things online, but it is helpful to go along to a couple of real events beforehand to get an idea of how the whole process works. Before you attend an auction, you should make sure to do plenty of research, so you know what pieces you are going to pursue. You should also set a firm budget in mind, and don’t go over this, no matter how easy it is to get caught up in the thrill of the auction!

Ensure Authenticity

If you are buying some rare and expensive pieces, you need to make sure that they are authentic before you put your money on the table. Check to see if the dealer is a member of a verified group of antique traders such as the NAADAA or LAPADA. This will go a long ways towards ensuring that you don’t get ripped off. A lot of major fairs also have their items thoroughly vetted, so you are much better off buying from one of these than out of the trunk of someone’s car!

Keep Researching Antiques

Once you make some headway in the world of antiques, you should make sure to continue doing your research. Keep up to date with news and developments, visit more antique fairs and talk to people. Simply browsing the internet and antique websites will give you a much better idea of the pieces that you like and the ones you don’t. With modern social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, you can easily view a lot of images in one place.

Look After Your Pieces

A Beginner's Guide to Buying Antiques piano

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Before you buy a piece, you should make sure that it holds a real resonance with you. It is not like flat pack furniture that you are happy to get rid of in a couple of years. Antiques are also an investment as well as things that look great in your home, so you should make sure that you take good care of everything that you buy. This way, they are more likely to retain their value as you may want to sell them on at some point in the future.

Hopefully, this guide has given you something to work with if you are going to be getting involved in the world of antiques. First of all, you should start to do research and go along to antique shows. If you know people who can give you some advice, all the better. Start off small and just buy one or two pieces. See how these look in your home and then you can build up to the bigger items. Over time, you will become more confident and you will develop more of an instinct about what looks good and what doesn’t. You can even start going along to auctions and more specialised events. Finally, take good care of your antiques as they could end up paying off in the long-run.


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