I’ll be the first to admit that I know my mom doesn’t fully understand my furniture buying obsession (and truthfully, I don’t think anyone does!). But she’s still supportive enough of my passion for decorating to generously make room in her basement for all of my must-have finds that don’t fit in my current apartment, and she’s happy to explore secondhand stores with me in search for the perfect accent. That said, I usually keep larger furniture purchases to myself, simply because I know that my mom’s first reaction will be something like, “Where will that go and how much did it cost?!”
The other week, though, I found a beautiful antique wooden console table listed for under $200 and just couldn’t pass it up. When my mom stopped by, I couldn’t resist drawing attention to my newfound piece. My mom’s initial take? Well, she loved it.
Truthfully, I knew she would. The wooden table reminds me a lot of the pieces that my parents displayed in our house growing up, which is perhaps (subconsciously!) why I was drawn to it. My mom is a major believer that older furniture was just constructed better, and as someone who doesn’t replace things often in general, her antique pieces have served her well because they’re so sturdily made and truly meant to last a lifetime.
While I definitely fall victim to trendier pieces from time to time, I, too, believe that there is something extremely special about older furniture. For one, each antique piece that I’ve purchased tells a story. This new-to-me wooden piece is full of patina, and while someone who prefers sleek pieces may look at it and think it appears worn or dirty, true vintage lovers understand that these finds have plenty of charm. “Don’t cover it up,” my mom reassured me, as I pointed out portions of the top part of the console that show a bit more wear and tear. It’s true that the character that such pieces have is truly irreplaceable.
Another one of my favorite antique finds is a black painted desk or dressing table that swept me off my feet when I spotted it listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace last fall. The seller noted that she had purchased it at an ambassador’s estate sale here in Washington, DC, which was intriguing in and of itself! The piece appears distressed due to its chipped paint and vintage condition, but I have no intentions of altering its look.
While I definitely fall victim to trendier pieces from time to time, I, too, believe that there is something extremely special about older furniture.
What’s great about both of these pieces (and the many other vintage finds out there that I have yet to stumble upon) is that you don’t ever really have to worry about them going out of style. When thinking about trends, I always reference my first post grad apartment circa 2013, which was filled with all of the major players from the early 2010s: ikat, chevron, gold and pink, you name it. And while I genuinely loved my place at the time (and don’t regret the design choices I made, because they truly did make my 22-year-old self quite happy), the pieces I owned at that point in my life were never really meant to stand the test of time. I wish I had been more aware of the power of shopping vintage during a period where my budget really was ultra limited, as $200 could have gotten me a so-so IKEA piece or a really great timeless find.
So much of vintage or antique shopping is really about putting in the time and effort. In this day and age, box retailers offer us plenty of quick alternatives, but you may not actually be saving money in the process (for example, I’ve seen console tables at Target that cost more than what I paid for my latest antique find).
As I noted earlier, of course I still do love some trendier items and never, ever plan to give up shopping at Target for good (can you even imagine?!). But I will keep advising all of my friends to go the vintage route while stressing that an “investment piece” doesn’t have to be a literal investment if you take some time to enjoy the hunt. And given that my mom is all about well-made items that don’t come remotely close to breaking the bank, I know she’ll 100 percent approve of this takeaway.