There are many reasons why one may purchase retro or vintage furniture. You may do so largely on practical and affordability grounds, given that it is, after all, such a good way to obtain decent-quality furniture for less. Other buyers, though, may be most motivated by the opportunity to bring together various furniture items that complement each other visually.
So, when you next buy retro furniture through a platform like RETRuly, which strategies will help you to make the most astute purchases?
First of all… is it retro, vintage or antique?
You will have probably heard these three terms used on an almost interchangeable basis when shopping for second-hand or even new furniture, but it’s not quite right to say they are interchangeable.
The picture is muddied somewhat by the loose way these terms are used, but as a general rule, the term ‘antique furniture’ refers to furniture that is more than 100 years old. We will not cover such furniture any further in this article.
‘Vintage furniture’, meanwhile, is generally taken to mean furniture that is at least 20 years old, but not old enough to be considered antique. That leaves ‘retro furniture’, which may be used as simply another term for vintage furniture, but can also refer to newly manufactured furniture that is meant to evoke a vintage aesthetic.
As our sellers here at RETRuly are not permitted to list new or reproduction vintage-style items, when we refer to ‘retro furniture’ for the rest of this guide, we are using it to mean the same thing as ‘vintage furniture’ – that is, furniture of at least 20 years of age.
Tips for purchasing the right vintage furniture
Whether you buy retro furniture online such as through RETRuly, or instead in the offline world from such sources as car boot sales, charity shops and junk shops, there are certain reliable ways to ensure you consistently make good purchases.
These include always looking for gently used retro furniture, rather than trashed furniture – for obvious reasons – as well as ensuring that the furniture still fulfils its basic function easily. For example, the drawers in a vintage chest of drawers should still slide in and out with no trouble, while upholstered pieces should have sturdy frames.
However, you also shouldn’t be deterred too much by surface scratches on a piece of retro furniture, not least as there are ways to fix such minor flaws if you wish to do so. As a matter of fact, you might want to use any such visible defects to haggle for a lower price.