I just recently fell in love again with antique stores. After a worthless, all-too-long search online for a Chinese vase with a delicate pattern and beautiful, vibrant colors, I was left with only one option: visit an antique store. Fearful that I would just be wasting my time sorting through mostly junk, I was thrilled when the first place I stopped had the beautiful gem pictured to the left.
That's when I realized antique stores are one of the best hotspots for decorating finds. We're so used to jumping online and searching for home decor items. But sometimes the best items aren't sold online. They're in your local antique shop.
Now that's not to say that everything in an antique shop is beautiful. I had to sort through tons of junk before I found the perfect vase - but it was well worth it because I got exactly what I wanted and didn't need to settle.
But be warned. Before shopping for antiques there are a few things you should know.
Antique Store Shopping Tips
- Take a picture, fabric samples, paint samples and measurements of the empty spot you'd like to fill in your home. In some antique stores all sales are final. So if you buy it, you keep it - even if it ends up clashing with the sofa.
- Don't touch anything. Not only might you break it and then have to buy it, but also because you could get hurt. I rubbed my hand across a Chinese porcelain pot and ended up getting a piece of it stuck in my finger. The pot had a hairline fracture that I didn't see. So you've been warned.
- Take your time. Unlike chain stores that take hours perfecting their displays, most antique stores have items thrown together in a chaotic mess, which makes it easy to miss the good stuff. So take plenty of time to look everything over. If you're having a really hard time taking everything in, ask the owner if they have what you're looking for. They just might lead you right to it.
- Sometimes the lighting in antique stores is pretty bad. If you think you like the color of something, but aren't sure, ask the owner if you can step outside with the object to see how it looks in the sunlight.
- There's no late night shopping. Unlike many stores that are open until 9pm, some antique stores close around 5pm and aren't open every day of the week. Check the stores hours before heading out.
- If you think you're getting ripped off, take a picture of the item and then head home to look it up online. See how much antique stores online are asking for the item to verify if the price the store you were at is reasonable. Also, check to see if there are any ways to verify that the item you're looking at is not a fake.
- It's not all about paying top dollar. Sometimes the best finds at an antique store are in the $5 range. Then again sometimes they're $300 or way, way more. It just depends.
Posted by Meghan Carter on Friday, Apr 25, 2008 in
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