While for me nothing quite beats the thrill of thrifting and shopping for vintage pieces in person, I have recently got very into scrolling for antique and retro gems online. I saw designer Nate Berkus post on his Instagram about how he often scrolls auction houses’ websites and hunts for vintage pieces online to relax, and over the holidays I found myself doing the same.
I have been really trying to only buy pieces for my home that are ‘timeless’. And by timeless, I don’t necessarily mean classic, or super traditional, just pieces that I personally love and therefore will hopefully stand the test of time, and transcend interior design trends.
The great thing about shopping for vintage pieces online is you don’t have to do too much research on where to find the good stuff, no driving out to the country, or lugging pieces home. If you have your search terms down and know where to look, thrifting online is actually far easier and less effort.
But where are the best places to shop vintage online? I asked the experts for their go-to and what they look out for when decorating with vintage too.
Where to buy vintage furniture online
The best places to buy vintage decor and furniture online does depend on what you are after, and actually your shopping style. Some sites are super easy to use and have great search and filter options, others have great stuff, it just takes a bit more digging and patience.
The key to buying antiques online is to know what you are looking for, or at least have an idea of the styles you like as a lot of sites will be able to filter by era or interior design style. There are pros and cons to all of these stores, but the key is they have the best picks and they come recommended by designers too.
1stDibs is one of my personal favorites, not just for shopping but also for inspiration. There’s lots of useful info over there to help you with your search and find an interior design style you like. It’s not one for a bargain, but it is great for finding things with ease and there’s so much stock on there.
‘We source many vintage and antique pieces for homes with the intention of giving personality and depth to an interior that can’t always be found with a new piece. 1stDibs is a go-to for us,’ says founder of Folding Chair Design, Jennifer Walters. ‘Their site is so easy to navigate in terms of filters. Finding exactly what we need in the search is key when looking for several specific, or period pieces!’
Bethany Adams agrees, ‘I have several go-to’s for vintage and antique pieces including 1stdibs.com, Chairish.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, and EBTH.com.’
‘But my secret to online shopping success is constantly checking these sights (some as often as daily!) and setting up alerts for designers or items I’m particularly interested in. But I’ve found many a treasure that was unidentified by the auctioneer, but I knew to be a famous, valuable piece, hence the regular scrolling.’
Bethany Adams is an interior designer, a member of ASID (American society of Interior Designers), AIA (American Institute of Architects), and a certified interior designer with the Kentucky Board of Architecture. Bethany holds a B.F.A.. in interior design from Harrington College of Design in addition to a B.A. she earned from Georgetown University.
Chairish is very similar to 1stDibs in that it’s very user-friendly. You can shop by style, piece, brand, etc. and there’s lots of content on the site too to help you shop and style your pieces. I like the collaborations they do with designers, when I am feeling lazy I often look to this section as a simple source of inspiration for decorating with antiques.
Many of the designers I spoke with use Charish, designer Jennifer Davis explained, ‘Navigating through Facebook Marketplace allows me to tap into local sellers but when seeking authenticated, high-quality vintage items, I frequently explore 1stDibs or Chairish. 1st Dibs offers higher-end pieces with negotiable prices, while Chairish has a wider price range catering to different budgets.’
Jennifer fell in love with design at a young age and has been working in the industry for over 25 years. She has developed an eye for detail and a talent for creating timeless designs. Jennifer offers a balance of creativity and forward-thinking with a structured, organized, and detailed mentality. Jennifer is driven by her deep passion for design while curating an exceptional client journey, ensuring pure delight from the very beginning to the end.
‘As an interior designer, my quest for timeless pieces often leads me to diverse online platforms known for their unique offerings in vintage and antique décor,’ continues Jennifer. ‘Etsy stands as a favorite, as it has vendors from all over the world selling on the platform. I find this website incredibly user-friendly, especially with its excellent suggestions for similar products. It’s my go-to for antique accessories, particularly French confit jars or African mud pots.’
Etsy is great for shopping vintage decor and furniture online, and you can find some bargains. You have to be pretty clued up on what you are looking for, the search on Etsy is very broad, but once you get those key terms you’ll pull plenty up to browse through.
4. LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable
‘Interior designers often find antique treasures in a variety of locations. They frequent auctions and estate sales, where pieces with history and character can be found. 1stDibs and Chairish are the most popular online resources, but high fees can sometimes put the prices of items over the limit,’ explains Kati Curtis.
‘Online auctions like LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable are also great resources, and you can set alerts to look for specific items you might need. Local antique shops and trade fairs also serve as potential goldmines for unique items.’
‘For more budget options, online platforms such as eBay, Etsy, and specialized antique portals provide an expansive digital marketplace for budget-friendly vintage finds. Furthermore, designers even explore salvage yards and estate sales, where with a keen eye, one can unearth beautiful objects with a past life. No matter the source, each piece is chosen with consideration for its ability to add richness and depth to a design concept.’ she adds.
Kati Curtis is the founder of Kati Curtis Design, an design firm based in New York City specializing in classic design with a global influence. Kati founded the studio in 2005 after 12 years of working with international architecture and engineering firms.
‘As a studio, we love to mix old and new decor in interior projects, be it vintage furniture, objét or lighting. Vintage pieces have a richness and a depth that can’t quite be matched and of course buying vintage is a more sustainable design choice.’ explains Alessio Nardi, Founder, A-nrd Studio.
‘We source a lot of the Murano and Art Deco lighting which we specify for projects from Vinterior. It’s a great resource for finding one-of-a-kind pieces from anywhere in the world.’
Vinterior is very polished, no having to really dig, it’s just like shopping at any online homeware store. You can shop by type, style, room, creator, or period. It’s a UK-based site, but it’s individual sellers, and most ship outside of the UK.
All of these sites are ideal for shopping vintage pieces online. It has been briefly mentioned, but I would also like to throw in Facebook Marketplace. It’s obviously a bit of a minefield, but I have found some great pieces on there and have a few sellers who I buy off regularly who use it as a way to sell stock in between antique fairs. If you are after something very specific or it’s a bigger investment, always arrange to see the piece before you agree to buy.