7 Insider Tips on Shopping for Vintage Decor Online

07/05/2018 - 09:51 AM

If you're lucky enough to live near a great flea market, like the Rose Bowl in California or the Brimfield Antique Show on the East Coast, then your home is likely filled with fabulous vintage art, furniture, and decorations. But, if you're like most of us, your biggest resource for vintage decor is the internet.

While we love the access to secondhand treasures online shopping provides, buying site unseen can be scary. How can we assess the quality of something we've never touched with our own two hands? And what should we be looking for to make sure we're not getting scammed?

To help us better understand how to shop for vintage decor online, we consulted with Mandana Dayani, chief brand officer of Everything But the House [1] (EBTH). Mandana's company hosts online estate sales [2], selling dusted off treasures from homes located around the country. To ensure you're getting a good deal, she has seven invaluable tips for shopping vintage decor online.

Keep reading to find out exactly what you need to know before you click "Buy."

Material composition

"Make sure the item has good bones!" encourages Mandana. "Vintage furniture is easy to refurbish with a fresh coat of paint or new upholstery, but there is only so much you can do about broken drawers or cracked plastic."

Authenticity info

You shouldn't have to wonder where a piece came from. "Higher-value items or rare antiques should include provenance," explains Mandana. She says that proof can include include original purchase receipts, documents from reputable auction houses, professional appraisals or historic records. "Not only will these documents prove the validity of your item, but they could be important if you want to insure or possibly resell in the future."

Label Markings

"Look for furniture with labels, including the designer’s or manufacturer’s name as well as stamped or branded dates." If you're interested in an art piece, be sure it's signed. "High-quality glass, timber, ceramic or art pieces will often have an artist’s signature," Mandana says.

Wear and Tear

"Some wear and tear is a good sign. It adds character and value, and can be a positive sign of age. But make sure you love the imperfections and that the item isn’t too poorly damaged," warns Mandana. "Surface scratches can be fixed, but structural damage is much more of a challenge."

Knockoff Signs

"Knockoffs can be identified easily if you know what to look for," says Mandana of those telltale red flags. "For example, modern furniture by highly regarded designers will be well-made with great attention to detail. Replicas of originals are rarely as well-crafted."


"We can all agree that not every angle is our best angle, and the same can be said about vintage décor. Look for a variety of photos showing the piece from all sides, so there are no surprises when your new item arrives."


"Photos aren’t enough to correctly gauge the size of an item. Descriptions should include all dimensions so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Make sure to measure your space before any big purchases to ensure your item will fit in your home," says Mandana who admits to having made this costly expense before herself.

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