A Detailed Guide To Antique Shopping

mid-century couch

Since running her home tour here on Glitter Guide earlier this season, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the gorgeous doings of designer, Kara Vacca. Her impeccable sense of style and instinctive eye for classic-inspired trends leaves us consistently inspired. We’re thrilled to welcome her back today to share her professional insight on making the most of your next antiquing adventure.

The recipe to creating a timeless design style within your home is mixing new elements and pieces with antique treasures and finds. This task may seem daunting, so to make it easier, I’m sharing a few tricks that I’ve picked up while touring my local antique stores (Verve is a favorite!). Read on to find out what you need to keep in mind while shopping for antiques.

white dress

verve richmond

1. Tunnel Vision.

Walking into an antique store can feel like you are on an episode of “Hoarders.” These stores are often overwhelming and crammed with what seems like junk. Although most people know that this is far from true, it can be beneficial to take your time and focus on each item as you peruse. With that said, don’t expect to find a dime piece after five minutes. Walk around the store a second time and you will be sure to discover something stunning that you had not noticed at first glance.

cane back chair

fiddle leaf fig

2. Visualize.

As you shop, picture the antique find in your home. Antique stores hold hundreds of items that are stacked on top of one another. This can make it difficult to envision a piece in your home. Take your prospective purchases to a bare corner of the store, or right outside the entrance of the store, to help visualize what it will look like in your home.

vintage hardback books

vintage silver box

blue velvet chair

bookshelf styling

3. Be Curious.

Ask questions and inquire about the product you are about to purchase. You may be eyeing a gorgeous, crystal chandelier, but it is a bit out of your budget. Learning some history and background on the fixture may make or break your decision to pull the trigger. Hopefully, you find out that the piece has a story that’s value has stood the test of time.

brass clock

round coffee tables

saturated rug

4. Broaden Your Search.

Don’t confine your search to your local antique stores; expand your research. Check your local newspaper for garage sales and estate sales. While this might seem old fashioned, I have found some of my favorite finds in places that I least expected. In addition to these sales, online sites such as Etsy and 1stdibs are full of antique treasures that get updated daily. If you are looking to find a bargain, more time and patience may be necessary to find the perfect purchase.

nude wedges


5. All You Need is a Touch of Antique.

Remember to mix old with new without going overboard on the old. You do not need to buy the whole antique store to make your home feel timeless. A pair of marble coffee tables or a brass magazine rack can easily add charm to your home.

antique magazine rack

Make sure to keep up with Kara on Instagram as she settles into her new Tri-state locale in New Jersey!

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Author: Carrie Waller

Carrie is the writer, stylist and photographer behind Dream Green DIY, and also is the features editor for Glitter Guide. Follow along on Instagram!

  • Thank you for all the great tips! I visited an antique store last week and you’re totally right – you have to go back through a second time! There were so many things I’d missed. I think what I love the most about my trip to the antique store was that after I asked about a certain piece, I found out I knew the original owner! Not to mention I had mutual acquaintances with the owner of the shop! It’s a small world!

    • What a small world! Can’t imagine that happens often – pretty cool that it happened to you! xx

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