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Second-hand, not second best!

Tracey Anderson

14 Oct 2020

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Nowadays we can buy anything we like new online or in department stores. So why purchase anything second-hand? Well, the problem with everyone shopping in the same stores is that everyone’s home begins to look a bit like identikit furnishing or ‘home design-by-numbers.’ Then there’s the issue of landfill. Finally, second-hand means you get to choose something different, quirky and unique to you.

It’s easy to pop into IKEA and buy a nice printed canvas, but buying an original vintage oil painting is significantly more worth it. Most people think ‘Rembrandt’ or ‘Monet’ if you mention oil paintings but there are many lovely affordable original works of art or vintage prints on offer, and who knows, you might even happen to come upon an undiscovered old master!
Antique rugs
These are another good purchase and can set the tone of an entire space. Look in antique markets for Oushaks and Serapis style rugs. They use higher quality wool, have a softer texture and blend with modern or antique furniture. They also tend to appreciate in value with age. Look for quality craftsmanship, no sun damage, and no smoke and pet odours. An older rug should be worn evenly.
Leather Club Chairs
Leather club chairs will always be a good purchase. Look for original leather or one recovered with vintage leather. Distressed leather is lovely and adds character but avoid chairs with a lot of peeling or cracking, and, unless it is for decorative purposes only, check the support it offers!
Ceramic Wares
I break plates and cups with alarming regularity, so much so that I gave up on matching dinner services many years ago. Instead I buy pretty individual vintage pieces I like. The mix ‘n’ match look is eclectic but works for me and my family. Vintage doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, but if you are more careful than I am go for it. Look for patina, shape, and design to indicate whether an article is genuine.
Mirrors are some of the best items to buy vintage or antique. There are a wide range of styles in good condition that can add a touch of history or character to a room. An original mirror edged with silver or gold, even if it is distressed, is so much more interesting than anything bought new. Old mirrors may have distortions or bubbles in the glass so are best placed where decorative or increasing light and space is more important than having a functional mirror!
Buying second-hand can be fun, let you express your individual personality, save money and the planet. What could be better?

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