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How to Buy Big-Name Vintage Furniture

Honestly? The best way to buy any furniture is to forget about the name brand and go for what you really love. That said, when buying big-ticket items, you may be more comfortable purchasing a brand name because you're also buying the reputation and reliability of the brand. So, when you start shopping, here are a few tricks to finding those perfect pieces.

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Build Relationships

Make the local secondhand and consignment shops your best friends. Let them know what you’re looking for. Often, they’ll keep a log of what you want and will call you when something comes in that might interest you. Once they get a sense of your style, they might even buy certain pieces that they would’ve otherwise passed on, with you in mind.

Search the web

It might sound like a duh, but sites like eBay are great for vintage furniture hunting. It’s like a giant estate sale without even having to leave your home! Make sure to do your homework, though. Check out the seller’s rankings and comments from previous buyers to be sure you’re purchasing from someone legit.

Shop estate sales

Estate sales are great places to find amazing, one-of-a-kind pieces. Check your newspaper listings regularly, and don’t hesitate to stop the car when you see a sign for one. You never know what you’ll find there!

Take the test

The test: Is it impossible to get the item out of your head? If so, it’s probably worth the cost...particularly if it’s a rare piece you may not see again. Take more interest in whether you really love the furniture than who made it.


As always, the keys to integrating a new piece of furniture into your home are accessorizing it appropriately and surrounding it with the right pieces. Mix whatever big names you have with ethnic and modern pieces that you really love. Your home should be an expression of you, not a showroom of some designer.

How to bargain shop for your home.

Nestpert: Grayson Handy, co-owner and creative director of Prudence Designs and Events and author of the new book Flowers for the Home: Inspirations from the World Over.

-- Paula Kashtan