Want to add a touch of Victorian elegance to your living room, or create a mid-century vibe in your kitchen this year?
You may have chosen the perfect time. In today’s market, antiques are readily available and affordable.
“Prices for antique furniture have gone down in the last years,” says trends expert and keynote speaker Daniel Levine.
Including older decorations and works of art throughout your home can add depth, color, and a sense of history. Watch for these trends as you hit the flea markets and search online for the perfect antiques to incorporate into your home décor.
1. American Furniture.
Dating back to the previous century and beyond, you’ll find pieces reflecting “beauty and hand craftsmanship that does not come in a box,” says Joan Bogart, who has been in the antiques business since the mid 1970s.
“There are so many beautiful pieces of furniture available online and in antique stores.”
If you want a colonial look, search for 18th century styles. During this time, softer lines, ornamental carvings, and classical proportions emerged in furnishings. The effect is often referred to as Late Baroque, Early Georgian, or Queen Anne.
2. Options Everywhere.
While you may still have a local antique shop or dealer in your neighborhood, the antiques market as a whole is shifting away from on-the-ground choices.
“There are fewer brick and mortar stores,” Levine says. “It’s easier than ever to find antiques online.”
Before making a purchase through your computer or phone, check that the site is legitimate. Since you won’t be able to touch and feel an item before purchasing, read the return policy. Many antique sites allow pieces to be sent back within a certain time frame, such as 48 hours or a week.
While ordering online allows you to sometimes find exactly what you are looking for, there is nothing quite like browsing the inside of a good antique mall.
3. Farmhouse Decor.
Catalyzed by Chip and Joanna Gaines, and incorporated by many Americans as they renovate their own homes, this rural-based theme has taken off.
“Farmhouse furnishings are generally simple, sturdy, practical and often painted,” says Pablo Solomon, an artist and designer who has dealt with antiques for more than four decades.
Originally, this type of furniture was often handmade on the farm, using lumber and nails that were available.
“A lot of farmhouse furniture was actually well made, of oak, manufactured and bought through the Sears catalog,” Solomon says. “You could buy a great chair for $1 or less from Sears in 1905.”
Since it was so easy to make, it is also simple to reproduce. Decide when shopping if you want a true antique or a reproduction.
“The modern reproductions can even be oven, dishwasher and microwave safe – unlike some of the antique pottery done with lead and even uranium paints,” Solomon says.
4. Chinese Everything.
Often coined “Chinoiserie,” beautiful ceramics and art from China continue to abound. In 2018, a porcelain bowl designed with butterflies and poppies sold for $21.6 million at Sotheby’s autumn action in Hong Kong. If you’re looking for something that is not as high end, lower-priced furnishings are plentiful, and a little can go a long way. A carefully placed blue and white vase might be the perfect centerpiece on an entryway table.
5. Small Antiques Reign Supreme.
Instead of large, bulky sculptures, tiny decorations are taking the forefront in the world of antiques. Look for ways to add a bit of old to your current collections or design with standout selections like a tin metal advertising sign on a mantel, an enamel brooch in a jewelry collection, or antique miniature tables for a doll house.
This trend can be further streamlined if you decide to decorate for specific holidays with antiques. A collection of vintage ornaments could be hung on the tree at Christmas, or a set of French dinnerware used at Thanksgiving.
6. New Looks with Antique Lighting.
“There are table lamps made prior to electricity that can easily be electrified – and most likely have been – that can be used in your home,” says Bogart.
For a unique look, opt for Italian-made pieces with rich colors, soft pastel markings, or special shapes.
7. Anything Mid-Century Modern.
After gaining popularity in the 1950s, this theme highlights natural beauty, wood, and simplicity. In recent years, mid-century modern has paired well with minimalist decorating trends.
In addition to furniture, collectible items and everyday wear from this time period have been in demand. If you’re looking for mid-century modern accents, try metallic mirrors, vintage lamps or silk plants. Fat lava – a term referring to German pottery from this time period – is another way to bring a bit of the past into your present theme.
8. A Global Theme.
With mobile connections and airline travel, once-foreign lands no longer seem so far away. This has spread into antiques, with interest gaining for goods from places like Morocco, Africa and Latin America.
If you want to add an eye-catching piece, look for Oriental rugs, vintage European linens with hand-detailed designs, or a French marble fireplace mantel. Peruvian blankets, Japanese embroidered silk, Indian textiles, or even empty burlap sacks of coffee beans can be displayed as works of art.
9. A Nod to the Southwest.
Turquoise accents, Western-themed art, silver bowls and Southwest-style pottery are having a resurgence in antique malls across the country. Converging Native American culture and quintessential American cowboy motifs, Texas and Southwestern antiques provide any home a warm and rustic aesthetic.
Seek out jewelry, stones, leather goods, boots, wall art and tools. Paintings of the Southwest sunset or a set of antlers can be hung on the wall to round out the effect.
10. True Treasures.
“People are choosing fewer pieces but better pieces,” Levine says. Since prices have come down on many antiques recently, you may be able to get a great deal. If you’ve dreamed of picking up a piece from Portobello Road Market in London, this might be the year to go.
Before making a purchase, check for authenticity.
“If a piece looks museum grade, it should be priced accordingly,” Levine says. Furnishings that are rare, beautiful and in perfect condition will generate the highest prices.