I usually focus on the fashion side of vintage lifestyle around here, but I’m always in pursuit of furniture, decor, art and knick knacks that will help transform my ho-hum apartment into a kicky atomic bachelorette pad. If you’re just starting to deck out your space, it can be tough knowing where to start. Vintage pieces are out of your budget, new stuff just isn’t quite right…what’s a retro lady to do? I’ve been slowly but surely adding cool stuff to my collection, so while I’m by no means an expert, I can share where I look to find fun decor.
My biggest tip, which applies to any of these places, is to wait. I know how hard it is when you want to make everything just how you imagine in NOW, but taking things slowly is the only way to get the right stuff. Every time I’ve started to get impatient and look for substitutes, I’ve held back…and when I finally found the right piece, it was even sweeter! So when you get the urge to rush, take a breath and think about whether this is really what you want.
Let’s get into it!
Thrift Stores & Antique Shops
The most obvious solution. Depending on where you live, these may be secret treasure troves, super overpriced or devoid of anything interesting. Scope out different shops in your area to get a feel for the different ones before you make a decision; my favorite local shop is actually an antique mall with a variety of dealers…this means they have a really wide variety of items and prices. It’s easy to comparison shop even in the same building. Other stores near me that are more “curated” are definitely more expensive. I’ve never had luck at my local Goodwill or that kind of store, but some people find great stuff! It all really depends on your area.
Etsy & Ebay
Both standbys for vintage sellers operating online. I don’t usually have the patience to hunt eBay (and I’m not usually looking for a specific thing that’s easy to search for), but Etsy can have some fun vintage treasures. The same as in person, make sure to shop around a bit to get an idea of what a piece should cost…obviously there will be differences depending on condition, but you don’t want to blindly be paying double what an item is worth.
Say what? It’s true! Both of my major vintage furniture purchases have been through Facebook; I am part of some area-specific Mid-Century Modern & Vintage groups, but my best tip would be to join a non-specific neighborhood group. Sure, you have to sift through a lot more old baby stuff and TVs, but it’s also much more likely you’ll have the opportunity to pounce on something great when you’re not in a group of people who all have the same taste as you.
Although not exclusively devoted to MCM style, you can spot some cool stuff on discount sites like Wayfair if you look. I pay very close attention to the reviews, because some stuff on there is pretty low quality, but I bought my new bed frame there and I’m very happy with it! On the same note…
Just like pawing through hundreds of dusty, scratched old records to find that one jewel, have your eyes open even when you’re shopping places like Target or TJ Maxx. There are definitely some trends today that hearken back to the 1950s and 60s, and you never know what you might find. I get asked a lot by guests about my tiki mug shelf, and I love telling them that I found it in the kid’s section at Target! It’s also worth remembering that it can be easy and inexpensive to dress up pieces that aren’t quite right. A solid coat of paint can do so much to transform a piece of decor!
Okay, so this one isn’t one you can really control, but if you make known your love of all things vintage, you just might get some cool stuff from family members. My grandma has given me jewelry, scarves, gloves, silver platters, little bathroom decor tchotchkes…I love them all, and they’re even more special knowing that they’re from her.
Those are the places I shop for vintage and retro decor – do you have any good recommendations? Secret tips?