6 Expert Tips For Shopping Vintage Online

Julia Millay Walsh
Today the team behind One Kings Lane launches Hunters Alley, a new online resale marketplace for furniture and décor which offers both individuals and professional vendors a place to sell pre-owned and/or vintage treasures -- everything from exotic kilim rugs and retro bar carts to contemporary light fixtures and decorative books. With personally vetted inventory, the experience is much more curated than, say, eBay or Etsy (which we also love), and new flash sales daily ensure there's always something to explore. We asked Hunters Alley general manager Andrea Stanford, who also oversees the vintage and designer merchandise group at OKL, for her top tips for shopping vintage online. Wherever you're hunting for vintage furniture or décor, these expert tips will prove useful. 1 Never be intimidated by shopping for vintage: start by educating yourself. Always ask questions about an item's maker or history and learn from experts. Visit flea markets, antique shows, and browse online. As you become more familiar with certain eras or categories, shopping will become so much more fun. 2 One of the easiest ways to start collecting vintage is to buy catchalls, vases, and books; they're inexpensive and easy to find. Starting with smaller accents is a low-risk way to get a sense of what styles and eras you're most drawn to. 3 Learn the basics about differentiating between an original and a manufactured art piece or a limited-edition print or a giclée reproduction so you can understand value and collectibility. Browse art from the 19th and 20th centuries and take note of the artists you like. 4 Normal cracking and warping of wood from shrinkage over time is a great indication that you have an original wood piece. Look for maker's marks, high quality of materials (hand-forged nails and dovetailed joints), and great patina. Imperfect originals can be far more interesting than reproductions. 5 Pairs of great-looking vintage lamps are hard to find; if you find the perfect set, pounce. Focus on the bases; shades can be easily replaced. Full sets of glassware are rare, but the great news is that mixing vintage barware makes cocktail hour even more fun. 6 Don't be fooled by how large (or small) something looks in a picture. Always check the measurements online against your home's measurements. Some vintage coffee and side tables are too low when placed alongside contemporary furniture. By contrast, many tall midcentury lamps can be tricky to incorporate into today's interiors. But, most important of all, buy what you love! Regardless of the provenance, if you have a special place for it, and the price works for you, buy it. 7
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Noir Midcentury Armchair, $425 Black Writing Table, $699 1960s French Pin Up Poster, $199
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Brass Electroplated Deer Skull, $755 Gilded Tray, $475 Kilim Footstool, $315
  Have you shopped online for vintage or pre-owned furniture or décor? What helpful tips of your own can you share? _sig Photographs: Courtesy of Hunters Alley

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