Vintage. Preloved. Secondhand. Used furniture goes by many names, but that doesn’t dilute its appeal. Interior designers have long heralded the virtues of vintage, and today, more and more DIYers are jumping on board and perusing used, too. What’s the draw? Vintage possesses verve, of course, but that’s far from everything. Whether you’re a vintage virgin or you’re simply returning to secondhand after a stint away, here are five reasons why used furniture is a better choice for decorating!

RELATED READ: 6 Decor Items It’s Better to Buy Vintage

Design by Meredith Ellis Design / Photo by Read Mckendree

It’s Sustainable

Buying vintage is a green thing and that’s a good thing. Everytime you purchase vintage, you eliminate the need for a piece of furniture to be created new. Not only does this conserve the literal materials required to assemble a piece; it conserves the energy and water resources that would be used to create it as well. Additionally, if you’ve ever bought a vintage chair or side table, it’s likely come to you blanket-wrapped rather than boxed and bubble-wrapped. Skirting professional pack-jobs can considerably reduce waste as well.

Design by Jasmin Reese Interiors / Photo by Michael Alan Kaskel

It Costs Less

Are you shopping for an ultra-iconic design that’s still in production from a brand like Knoll or Herman Miller? If so, chances are high that buying a consigned version will set you back less than a new one. Keep in mind that vintage furniture is a bit like an automobile — once you drive it off the lot, its value drops even if its appearance doesn’t.

Design by Zoe Feldman Design / Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

It’s Better Quality

“Things just aren’t made like they used to be” might be the disenchantment-charged mantra of a certainage group, but there is merit to it. Decades ago, furniture wasn’t mass produced like it is today. As a result, it was usually better crafted. (Hence the reason you’ll find so many Mid 20th century pieces still kicking.) When you shop vintage, you don’t have to wonder about how well a piece will hold up, either. Vintage wears its heart on its sleeve — er, table top.

Design by Sarah Wittenbraker Design / Photo by Mia Baxter Smail

It Adds Character

Vintage furniture adds soul to a room. Whether it’s the rich patina displayed on the seat of a well-loved leather sofa or the subtle luster of a vintage brass table, vintage provides a certain depth. Especially in new-build homes, vintage furniture is integral to making a home look lived-in and well-loved. Add even a small item like a vintage footstool, and you’ll be astounded by the dimension it adds. 

Design by Mendelson Group, Inc. / Photo by Eric Piasecki

It’s in Stock and Ready to Ship

If you’ve ever ordered a custom sofa (especially in a post-2020 world), then you know its no overnight creation. Newly-made custom furniture generally takes months to ship — not that ready-made furniture is any quick-ship trick, either these days. The beauty of vintage is that it’s already made and in stock with dealers today. Whether you’re on tight timeline (the in-laws are coming!), or you’d simply prefer not to pay today for something that’ll land in your living room in eight months, vintage is an ace workaround. 

Lead image design by Atelier Davis / Photo by Laura Moss


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August 18, 2022

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