Vintage home décor and furniture add so much depth and character to a home. Rather than filling up a space with all brand-new pieces, I love sourcing one-of-a-kind items from local and online vintage shops to balance out new pieces in our client projects.
One amazing resource for vintage shopping that’s developed over the last few years is Instagram. There are so many great vintage Instagram accounts to follow, whether you’re just starting out in the vintage world and trying to determine what styles you’re into, or you’re on the hunt for specific pieces to add to your home. You can find vintage clothing and gems too! Here’s a favorite account for vintage jewels.
Here, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite stores to shop for vintage home décor and furniture both online and locally in Chicago (and even a few in Michigan!). Happy hunting!
Best Online Stores for Vintage Home Décor
One thing to keep in mind when shopping for vintage home décor online is that you can usually expect to pay for shipping, which can run a few hundred dollars or more if you’re freight-shipping furniture. Some sites may have shipping folded into the price already, though, which can make unique finds more affordable.
This site has new, vintage and antique furniture and home goods at a wide range of price points, from more affordable to high-end. You can use the filters to search for items that ship free or can be picked up locally, along with many other details, from price to size.
Similar to eBay, this marketplace sells vintage art, décor, furniture, housewares and more through a bidding process, with every item starting at $1.
If you’re looking for high-end pieces, this is my go-to for really unique, vintage items. I especially like their light fixtures and specialty furniture.
Think of this site as the modern Craigslist. It’s the best on the list for scoring good deals. There’s a bit of a strategy to it: If you “save” things you like (even if you don’t intend to buy them), the algorithm will start showing you more items you like.
Hands-down, this is my top choice for sourcing vintage rugs. You can literally scroll through the options for hours, and many sellers offer free shipping—a big bonus.
Use this site to browse local sales in your area and find good deals on vintage furniture. It tends to have mostly items that you can pick up yourself, so if you find something you like, be sure you have a truck handy (or a friend with one you can borrow).
Best Chicago Stores for Vintage Home Décor
Living in Chicago is an interior designer’s dream—we have so many options for vintage décor and furniture, it’s unreal. This is a great list from Architectural Digest, and this vlog from Yellow Brick Home has some good ideas, too. I’m sharing some of my personal favorites below.
This neighborhood north of the city is the perfect place for making a day out of vintage shopping. You can park once and walk around to a ton of shops, including Brownstone Antiques, Mercantile M, The Brown Elephant, Good Deal Garage, Scout and Andersonville Antiques.
Best for higher-end antiques, they source a ton of pieces from Europe, including unique furniture and antique-modern décor.
This smaller shop rotates pieces often and gets in great items that you can pick up at equally great prices. Follow them on Instagram to see the latest.
From Louis XVI chairs to antique armoires and hand-woven leather Chesterfield club chairs, this high-end shop offers pieces that complete a home.
This 15,000-sq.-ft. marketplace in Highwood features high-end dealers with finds from France, Italy and more. Pieces are sold by dealers as well as on consignment.
Located an hour outside the city in St. Charles, this market takes place the first weekend of every month (although I prefer going in the summer). Go early Saturdays to catch the good stuff or end of day Sundays to grab the best deals.
I also love hopping up to Michigan for a quick antiquing day trip. The 72-mile-long Red Arrow Highway, just 90 minutes outside Chicago, is a treasure chest of antique spots. Three of my favorites are Alchemy Art + Antiques, Lakeside Antiques and Vintage Finds, but there are so many more stores to stop into.
Tips for Buying Vintage Home Décor
Ready to make your shopping list? Take note of these tips for buying vintage before you go.
Test pieces out.
Shopping vintage can be a lot of fun—unless you get home and find that amazing deal you scored is not so great after all. You should take care to inspect furniture closely, looking for things like the maker’s mark (brands like Henredon, Century, Lane are all high-quality brands) and dovetailed drawers that slide in and out easily. This post on MyDomaine offers more great tips, too.
If something you’re buying doesn’t appear to be in perfect condition, or you want to change something about it, consider whether you are capable of doing repairs or updates yourself. If not, research what it might cost. For instance, having to reupholster vintage chairs make them not such a steal, and reupholstering larger pieces like a sofa can be a huge expense.
Check for authenticity.
This is key when you’re buying vintage Persian rugs. An insider trick to telling if it’s real: Flip the rug over, and if it’s authentic and hand-knotted, the pattern underneath should be virtually the same as the top. Evaluate for cleanliness, too. Some sites like Etsy will specify if a rug has been professionally cleaned, but if you’re in a store and the tag doesn’t say, ask.
Follow sellers on Instagram.
Many stores will post new inventory on social media as soon as it comes in. You can set alerts to be notified when they post something new, or even ask the seller to let you know if they come across a piece you’re looking for.
Heckle only where appropriate.
Is it worth asking for a better price? It depends. In general, if it’s a storefront shop, that’s probably not a place to negotiate. However, it is worth asking a seller at a flea market, estate sale or some online marketplaces whether they will cut you a deal.
What’s the best vintage deal or piece you’ve ever scored? We’d love for you to share with us in the comments. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you add depth to your home design with vintage and antique pieces.