In Interiors

How to Shop for Vintage like a Pro

Tips from a vintage scouting pro on how to be a more efficient thrifter. Click for the inside scoop!

When scouting vintage and thrifted pieces for the home, it’s all about finding that right, one-of-a-kind piece for the space, but “the hunt” can often be super time consuming. Wading through a hundred uninteresting pieces to (hopefully!) stumble upon the perfect gem isn’t exactly an efficient process, but it’s what we love about thrifting, right? It’s the thrill of the hunt, never quite knowing what you’re going to find.

I don’t plan on giving up on one of my favorite downtime activities anytime soon, so I called in one of my favorite Chicagoan designers and vintage scouting pro, Claire Staszak, to offer up a few tips on how she scores vintage pieces for both her own home and for clients without spending every waking moment at the flea market. Read on below! win-this

In tandem with today’s post, Claire and I are also teaming up to host a little Instagram contest and giveaway. Today through Sunday, tag your favorite vintage home decor with #LivingVintage and make sure to follow both Claire @centered_by_design & myself @francoisetmoiblog.  The winner will be featured on both our accounts on Monday and receive a vintage trinket box from Claire! Open to US only.

Tips from a vintage scouting pro on how to be a more efficient thrifter. Click for the inside scoop!

Tips from a vintage scouting pro on how to be a more efficient thrifter. Click for the inside scoop!

Incorporate Thifting into Your Routine: Expert thrifters often keep a running list of the pieces they’re in currently search of, so if they happen to be in the area of one of their favorite shops, they’ll pop in quickly to see what’s new. “I’m always on the lookout for unique pieces and will almost always buy something with a reasonable price tag, because I know it will work for a future client,” says Claire.

Use Your Imagination: When it comes to vintage and thrifted furniture it’s almost impossible to find EXACTLY what you’re looking for right out of the gate at a good price point, so do your best to visualize. If the piece has good bones, but needs refinishing or new upholstery, do your best to see the potential and go for it. As Claire explains, “I use my imagination and don’t let dirt, tears, tarnish, broken glass or terrible upholstery stop me from buying anything I think I can transform into something better!”

Make Connections in Your Community: Many vintage shops will post their new arrivals weekly on social media so you can scan what’s new first before making the trip over. Make a list of your favorite local spots and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Claire also adds, “I develop relationships and seek out local craftspeople and vendors who can customize furniture, reupholster and more.” It’s helpful to make connections with local tradespeople, so you have an idea of what refurbishing costs will run and can factor that into your buying price when at the flea market or thrift shop.


Photos via Centered by Design.


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