How to Shop Buy Vintage Furniture Guide

Wed 12th, Mar, 2014

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easy guide on how to shop for vintage furniture abeachcottage tips on where to look online for second-hand furniture and goods

Helloooo, welcome, a little note from me today with my guide on how to buy vintage pre-loved second-hand furniture.

I’ve been doing a lot of vintage treasure hunting the last few weeks, in between other life stuff and I’ve found it very therapeutic…after posting a few pics of things I’ve found like the old Bentwood chairs (these cost me about the same as take-away cup of coffee on the beaches, oh and they are here painted yellow), and the old schoolhouse table, I’ve had more than a few questions on how I go about hunting for vintage treasure…some people have asked if I live in an area actually brimming with the stuff….in actual fact I think here on the beaches it’s the opposite…

How to buy second-hand vintage furniture abeachcottage easy guide on how to shop for vintage furniture abeachcottage tips on where to look online for second-hand furniture and goods

…so it got me thinking on how do you go about finding, shopping and buying vintage treasure? ….a few years ago when treasure hunting I would say roll up your sleeves, be prepared to get dirty and run for your life hell bent on finding goodies in old and dusty shops…nowadays the internet has been a huge game changer for anyone looking for old vintage things and you can work it to your advantage in the comfort of your own home…anyway I hope this may be of interest…this is what I do…

easy guide on how to shop for vintage furniture abeachcottage tips on where to look online for second-hand furniture and goods


How to Shop for Vintage Furniture

5 Ways to Source Vintage Second-hand Furniture


1. online auction sites

Up until the last six months or so I’ve not been a huge lover of Ebay – I remember the days when it started back when I lived in England and then it was exactly what I liked, a community for people trading unwanted and second-hand things…I think this changed dramatically and really it became quite far away from that, it turned me off, the snipers, the bidding wars where you just go that feeling that the other bidders were you know not quite just another bidder if you know what I mean and I wasn’t that keen on the whole thing plus I had some serious serious disappointments more than a few times mostly from sellers vastly exaggerating the quality and condition of the things they were selling…the last few years I think bargains have come back again to Ebay, I’m not sure why but recently I have found things on there…the prices seem to be better and I don’t know what but it’s now worth keeping your eyes on it every now and then…it’s easy to save a search if you are looking for a particular item and if you do that you can set it up to be notified when something is listed…too easy!

2. online groups

This is my latest addiction to vintage treasure hunting….so seriously hunt out community groups in your area and stalk them like crazy…I am a recent convert to these and they are awesome…there are lots of groups and places on the internet that have sprung up offering an alternative to ebay for buying, selling, giving away and trading things you don’t want – one man’s trash is another’s treasure indeed…I’ve had most of my luck lately with these groups…(I’ll be blogging my tips on how to have success with these soon)

coastal vintage abeachcottage.com

3. Gumtree / Craigslist

The on-line equivalent to the old second-hand ads in the newspaper…these can be a really good source of things to find in your area….I often browse through these when I’m on my phone waiting in line or you know going about my day, it’s how I’ve found many many vintage things I’ve been on the lookout for for ages…I have a list of things I am after and I just search on those …the best thing about these sites is the price is up there for you to see and you can work from there…I don’t always negotiate on the price because I’ve lost things doing that….if you want something, the price is fair and you’ve been after it for a while, I wouldn’t try to bargain to save say 2o bucks.  (Note* Gumtree is the Australian equivalent to Craigslist – Craigslist I think to be honest has not really taken off as far as I can see here, I know in other countries it’s a treasure chest for old furniture, but here at least in Sydney there’s not a lot listed and what is is not really umm pocket friendly).

beach cottage vintage white bike coastal style abeachcottage.com

4. Op Shops / Charity Stores / Goodwill

It’s getting harder and harder to find bargains in these places, I don’t know when the swing back to the good old days will come but I hope it does soon  …I actually don’t waste my time in these too much these days, and I know my very good vintage treasure hunting obsessed friend is the same – funny we were out today having coffee and she had just bought a new Pineapple lamp on offer for $25 we both said how the charity shops would be selling a second-hand dated old and worn lamp for not much less than that and how it’s hardly worth even entering those shops any longer… if I’m passing yep of course I’ll pop in but it’s just too much pot luck, too much effort and too disappointing to find something you know has been donated to turn over the price tag see it described as antique with an antique store price to match…and I hate to say it but I often find the staff in these shops quite rude and condescending….I have much much better success these days grabbing a coffee and searching on my phone for vintage finds.


5. Garage Sales / Side of the Road / Boot Sales / Markets

The good old garage sale is still really good for a vintage find, though much more time consuming than sitting scrolling through your laptop or phone for vintage goodies for sale in your area…if you have a Saturday morning free though, you want a bit of time to yourself, you love a good rummage and you add a coffee, well garage sales will often turn up some great treasure.

So that’s how I shop these days for vintage furniture, and though I pretty much love me a rummage around in an old junk shop in the dust, shopping from the comfort of my old white sofa, drink in hand is quite nice too…

Be seeing ya


easy guide on how to shop for vintage furniture abeachcottage tips on where to look online for second-hand furniture and goods

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7 Responses to “How to Shop Buy Vintage Furniture Guide”

  1. merilyn says:

    g’day sarah! those chairs look great and I love your photos. I agree with you about vinnies etc. they are so over the top with their prices! we have a good church second hand shop and the local dump has a ‘dump shop’ with heaps of bric-a-brac! interesant! lol m:)X

  2. jen says:

    Thanks Sarah I agree the op shops seem super expensive, I enjoy a good council pick up but it is all about lucky timing, I enjoy looking on ebay for treasure as well :-)

  3. Smaggle says:

    Vinnie’s prices are mental! I quite like estate sales. but more for jewellery than anything else.

  4. calibeachgal says:

    Good advice. I feel as if I’m on the “less is more” end these days though. I so agree with the second hand shop/goodwill part too. It is rare for me to stop in these places anymore, as they seem to have decided that they are in the new furnishing business by their prices these days.
    Hope you are doing well!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’ve had great success using a small community online buy/swap/sell. I also subscribed to a larger community buy/swap/sell but found that people were posting items from all over Sydney. I don’t have time to travel Sydney to pick up purchases. All the post updates just created SO much time wasting in my day that I unsubscribed.

    I go into a local Vinnies and Salvos whenever I pass. The staff are delightful and the volunteer Salvos lady on Tuesdays and Thursdays is A M A Z I N G. Her customer service is tailored to each customer.

    I love the randomness of secondhand treasure finds. This morning I decided as well as following my rule of always donating to charity the same number of purchases I bring into the house (whether secondhand or new)I’m going to start donating the same number of things +1. It keeps the clutter under control.


  6. Tren says:

    Awesome collection of contents, Thank you for sharing, I really Love the collection furnitures.

  7. Andrew says:

    G’day Sarah and thanks for a great post. I must admit you had me as soon as read the first paragraph describing your home. I bet it is full of vintage treasures.
    I restore vintage pieces and enjoy flea markets and garage sales as that is where I usually find some great items of furniture that need a little love and care to bring them back to life.