5 Tips For Buying Antique Furniture

Looking for the perfect antique piece for your home can be a struggle. You want something that is built to last – but also has that old-world charm. Read on and make your search easier with these 5 tips for buying antique furniture!

Mahogany Secretary and Bookcase, circa 1800

1. Find a reputable dealer.

If you’re just starting out looking for an antique piece, and you don’t know where to start, make sure to find a reputable dealer. Experienced antique dealers are experts in identifying pieces from the 1700s to today. The best dealers not only have a breadth of knowledge of antiques, but a love for them as well. Finding a dealer with a love for antiques will definitely make your search easier.

English Georgian Chest of Drawers, circa 1820
French Louis XV Commode, circa 1775

2. Learn some terminology.

If you’re looking for a certain design, it’s good to learn the correct way to describe it. Learning the names for design styles, woods, and time periods can help with choosing a piece you’ll love. You’ll have a much easier time finding what you’re looking for if you ask for a “Rococo style mahogany dresser” rather than a “dark wood dresser with ornamentation”. These days, it’s easier than ever to learn about antiques – check out our Pinterest board for a start!

American Inlaid Walnut Writing Desk, circa 1890
English Mahogany Drop Leaf Dining Table, circa 1825
Classical Style Ebonized Wood Round Table
Marquetry Inlaid Octagonal Center Table, circa 1870

3. Think about refinishing or restoring.

Much of antique furniture has had its wood restored or refinished in some way. But if you’re looking for a truly valuable piece, you may want to look for pieces that have their original finish. It’s important to determine this from the beginning – if you decide to choose a piece with its original finish, it may need extra care down the road. Refinishing has many benefits, and it’s easier than ever to replicate the original finish while still protecting the surface and keeping it intact.

Mahogany Side Table by Danhauser, circa 1820
Victorian Flame Mahogany Oval Table, circa 1865
Carved Walnut Parlor Set, circa 1880
American Pair of Carved Walnut Arm Chairs, circa 1940

4. Prepare and communicate.

Before you purchase anything, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for – and if it will fit in your space. Much antique furniture is made smaller (or larger) than furniture made today, so make sure to bring a tape measure with you! Communicate with your local antique store or dealer and have them help you find that perfect piece. Make sure to ask questions! It’s important to stay in communication even after purchase; the seller may be able to give you crucial information on caring for your antique.

English George III Mahogany Bookcase
Biedermeier Glass Front Bibliotheque, circa 1840

5. Find something you truly love.

When it comes to buying antiques, don’t settle. Know that antiques are investment pieces, and that you should choose one that will not only look the best in your home, but will increase in value over the years. And if you see something that you’re captivated by, don’t wait! There’s no better feeling than knowing that you found a one-of-a-kind piece with years of history behind it.

French Kingwood Dresser and Nightstand, circa 1890
Flemish Baroque Cabinet Server, circa 1640

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